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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 288 > PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

IN A WORLD EXCLUSIVE, SAM SMITH GRANTS ATTITUDE THE FIRST INTERVIEW ABOUT HIS SECOND ALBUM AND LEAD SINGLE, TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES. IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH, HIS INTERVIEWER IS SIR ELTON JOHN. WHO BETTER TO CHAT TO SAM ABOUT SONGWRITING, COMING OUT AS GAY, AND BECOMING A MULTI-PLATINUM-SELLING GLOBAL ARTIST?
Sam wears shirt by Prada at MR PORTER, rings (throughout) Sam’s own
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATT LAMBERT

FASHION: JOSEPH KOCHARIAN

Sam wears polo shirt by Prada at MR PORTER

Sam Smith’s second album is about to land, and anyone in the music business will tell you it’s harder to pull off a success second time around. But Sam’s 2014 debut has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide to date — and the sole single in-between albums became the only James Bond theme ever to hit number one in the UK, and won him an Academy Award. So does that guarantee a second smash or just pile on the pressure?

Well, one man might know. Sir Elton John may be many things — showman, philanthropist, husband, father, art collector, activist — but before he’s any of these, he’s a musician. A celebrated singer-songwriter with a career spanning six decades, more than 30 studio albums, countless singles, collaborations and compilations, and a sold-out tour schedule that has lapped the globe like an errant but ever-present satellite.

Elton overcame the “second-album syndrome” that affects many artists — by becoming more successful still. His eponymous follow-up to 1969’s Empty Sky yielded Your Song, which audiences around the world still sing back to him word-perfect during live performances in 2017.

Who better than Elton, then, to be the first person other than Sam and his close-knit team to hear the follow-up to 2014’s In The Lonely Hour?

So, the week before Sam grants Attitude intimate access to his home in North London for our exclusive shoot by Matt Lambert, we fly out to Elton’s home in the hills above Nice on France’s Côte d’Azur — to find out what he thought about the album.

ELTON: So here we are talking about your new album, which, for you, is a big challenge because your first album, In The Lonely Hour, was one of the most successful debut records ever. You have five number one singles in there, you had four Grammys, and afterwards you won an Oscar for the James Bond theme.

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About Attitude

On the cover: WORLD EXCLUSIVE Sam Smith interviewed by Elton John. Plus, Kele Okereke on being a gay dad, Drag Race's Peppermint, Tori Amos on fighting Trump, Beach Rats star Harris Dickinson, and is Hep C - the new gay stigma?
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