British crooner and breakout star Sam Smith made headlines earlier this year when he publicly came out, revealing that much of his debut album, In The Lonely Hour, was about another man. But only recently has the 22-year-old singer discussed coming out at length and why he felt it was important to do it so early in his career.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Smith tells the daytime host that he knew he was gay when he was just a toddler. “I came out when I was like 4 years old,” he says. “My mom said she knew when I was like three. So I didn’t have to actually properly come out.”
But why did he come out publicly just ahead of his album release? “It felt like a brave thing to do as well I wanted to do it before because if I did it afterwards people probably would have thought I was lying just to sell records,” Smith says.
In addition to opening up to DeGeneres, the singer was recently featured on the cover of Out magazine’s annual Out100, a list that celebrates the biggest personalities in the LGBT community. In an interview with the magazine, he adds that coming out was also his chance to champion a cause.
“My aim is to tell people how good it’s been for me so that, hopefully, gay men or parents with gay children can look at my story and think, 'Wow, that’s how it should be. That’s what we can work towards.' ”
He goes on, “That’s been my whole motive — to not make it a talking point. My music should be a talking point. My voice should be a talking point,” he adds in the interview.
And DeGeneres reiterates the same point during her chat with the singer. "The most important thing is what matters is talent and this just happens to be who you are."
Ever since the release of his album, the singer has been breaking records and topping charts. In addition to having the second biggest selling album of 2014 and the highest debut for a UK male artist in the first week, Smith has picked up two American Music Awards for New Artist of the Year and Favorite Male Artist. His latest single, “I’m Not the Only One,” is currently burning up the Billboard Hot 100 climbing to No. 7 this week.