Sam Smith reflects on ‘feeling like a woman dressing up in male clothing’

Sam Smith. (Getty)

Singer Sam Smith has spoken about how fashion and music relates to their queerness and their journey as a non-binary musician.

Smith recently released their Kim Petras duet “Unholy” as they return to the music scene following 2020 album Love Goes.

Speaking to GQ, Smith – who identifies as non-binary – looked back at their fashion evolution over the years. 

They recalled how they once opted for a flowery, made-up look in their early 20s but later started wearing simpler clothing like jeans and a t-shirt. 

This is what I think people don’t understand: that the first five years of my career, I almost felt like I was a woman, at times, dressing up in male clothing.

“It didn’t feel like I was regressing in any way. It just felt like I was trying new things out.

“That’s when I realised that I felt a bit trapped. Like, ‘Oh, wow, people think this is who I am and what I’ve always been.'”

Smith feared changing their brand of “A Gay Male” even thought it never reflected who they are.

“I’ve always felt queer. I’ve always felt gender non-conforming. And I’ve always felt non-binary trans. My whole life. 

“And it wasn’t until I had to sit in interviews every day and tell people my story again and again and again that I realised this narrative that was being created was only a small fraction of who I was.”

‘My music has always been queer’

Recently Smith worked with designer Harris Reed on their gender fluid demi-couture show where Reed said Smith is “pioneering fluidity in every aspect” and “rewriting the rules”.

Reed added: “They really embrace their body, who they are, what they’re putting out into the world. There’s this beautifully deeply rooted confidence that I find so admirable.”

As well as fashion, Smith’s approach and understanding of their music has also adapted and grown.

“I do find it hard sometimes when people may think that my music’s got queerer, because to me, it hasn’t. 

“The subject matter of my songs [has] always been about men I’ve been in love with. They’ve always been queer. And I don’t enjoy the fact that to be queer, it has to be dance music.

“I think queer music can be country, it can be folk, it can be jazz, it can be anything.”

Sam Smith also reflected on how some people might not have even realised the songs on their 2014 debut, In the Lonely Hour, were about men. 

“It’d be interesting to see if they connected to those songs after knowing that they were.”

“I’d be interested to see that. ’Cause I relate to straight people songs. You know what I mean? There’s no difference.”