Sam Smith

UIC Pavilion / Chicago, IL

Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour, UIC Pavilion

“Before I made this record,” Sam Smith said, “I made the shittiest music. It wasn’t until I was 18, moved to London and started kissing too many people that I was able to write my first honest song.”

He then immediately went into “I’ve Told You Now” from his acclaimed album, In the Lonely Hour. It was the fifth of a 13-song set (including a rendition of “My Funny Valentine”) followed by three encores.

The artist/audience rapport had long been established at this point. From the start, after two curtains had been dropped (somewhat) dramatically to reveal the 22-year old Brit tidily clad in a suit and white tennis shoes, he shared his stage with his fans. Repeatedly, he invited them to sing with him—and they did, every word of every song.

“I don’t make music for money,” he told his audience.

But now, after the Grammys have come and gone (Smith won four and was nominated for six), those in the music industry will most certainly want a piece of him if they don’t already. This is when Sam Smith may face his biggest challenge—to keep his music separate from business and continue being a fearless songwriter.

– Mandy Pichler

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