Distinctively emotive, soul-inspired vocalist Sam Smith has been among the most commercially successful artists to arrive during the early 2010s. Prior to their breakthrough at the age of 21, the London-born singer and songwriter balanced their studies and music, sang in choirs and in bands, and performed in musical theater productions. They developed a passionate approach to singing exemplified by their favorite artists at that time: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Chaka Khan. They were barely out of their teens when, in late 2012, they appeared as the featured vocalist on "Latch," the fourth single by production duo Disclosure. A loping mixture of U.K. garage and contemporary dance-pop, the song went to number 11 in the U.K. Over in the U.S., it took significantly longer to take hold, but eventually hit number seven there and was certified platinum three times over.
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