- 16 Apr 20
As part of our Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency issue, global superstar Sam Smith reflects on life during lockdown.
WE HAVE TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT ALL
Like all of us, I’m spending my days indoors, bored – but also wracked with guilt and worry for everyone out there who is risking their lives for us. It’s a hard one for everyone, and everything’s relative I think. I have mental health issues, so I’m just trying to keep my head above water right now, like so many of us. But it’s just a weird time. I hope everyone’s okay and coping.
OCD AND COVID
I have OCD, which I’ve had since I’ve been a kid, and since I became well-known it’s gotten way worse. Because it’s a control thing and – with what I do, the lack of control within my life became very intense. For me, I’ve been on the road and travelling around the world and touring since I was 20 years old. This is the first time that I’ve had to clean my clothes and look after myself as a human being! And obviously these are very privileged problems. But you know, this lack of control sends my OCD absolutely wild.
It manifests as obsessive thoughts; I’ll see a picture or a film and I’ll obsess over it for days, to the point where I’m crippled by it. As an illness, OCD is very misunderstood. People claim to have it when they’re just cleaning their rooms and they’re tidy, but it’s actually a little more intense. It can turn into violent imagery, violent sexual imagery, so it’s a mountain to climb, constantly.
CREATIVITY IN WAVES
For all of us now, the world is so busy and so manic all the time, it’s just constant, and with technology nowadays it’s even more intense, in that you have to be constantly connected and in a hundred places at once. This stillness, I think, puts you face to face with your demons, and with your self. So I think we have to make the most out of it. But then the pressure to make the most out of it becomes very intense, too!
Creativity is coming in waves right now for me. Last week, I had this beautiful moment where I started enjoying singing again: just singing for the joy of singing myself. And then this week, I just do not want to sing at all. So I think we just have to be so easy on ourselves.
IN KEEPING WITH THE TIMES
As everything started happening in the world, with everyone going on, I started to feel less and less okay with the fact that I was bringing out this pop album. It just felt very, very vibrant and loud. And I’m an empath as a person, and was starting to feel weird about that, given the heaviness everyone has been feeling.
And then having the title ‘To Die For’ and the front cover is a bunch of people touching my face: it’s absolutely not the message I want to be giving right now! So I’m changing the album title so it feels fresh to me and fitting. I write music all the time, non-stop, and I have a few songs that I’ve written that are more in keeping with everything. I’m just so aware that many of my fans would have lost people through this, and have been through hard times, and I wanted to keep it in line with everything.
In conversation with Roe McDermott.
Sam Smith and Demi Lovato's new single, 'I'm Ready', is out tomorrow, April 17.
Order your copy of the new Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue below.