If you haven’t heard of Sam Smith yet, you soon will.
The 22-year-old British soul singer and songwriter is blowing up the charts, and stars like Elton John and Mary J. Blige are taking notice.
He has already made history with his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” selling more copies in its first week – 166,000 – than any other debut album by a U.K. male artist.
The album will enter Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart at No. 2, propelled by Smith’s Top 10 hit single, “Stay With Me,” which he performed on “SNL” in March, backed by a gospel choir.
Just who is this guy who seemingly came out of nowhere? Keep reading to learn five things about Sam Smith.
1. You’ve Heard Him Before
Smith was first heard on U.S. radio as a featured artist on Disclosure’s “Latch” and Naughty Boy’s “La La La” before he broke out with “Stay With Me.”
2. His Mother’s Faith in Him Cost Her
Smith has been performing since he was 6, and his oldest and biggest supporter has been his mom, Kate Cassidy. Apparently, she was so devoted to making him a star that the London trading company where she earned in the high six figures fired her for spending too much time at work trying to promote his career. Cassidy later filed suit against the company.
3. He’s Lily Allen’s cousin
He’s third cousin to Lily Allen and her brother, “Game of Thrones” actor Alfie Allen. Showing some family love, Lily tweeted out the news that Smith had won the BBC’s Sound of 2014 a day early.
4. He Likes the Divas
Smith took on the Whitney Houston classic “How Will I Know,” stripped it down and made it his own during a SiriusXM Radio showcase last week. “I love legends like Whitney Houston,” Smith told People. “I love female voices and female divas. I find Amy Winehouse so iconic. Everything about her, just the way she looks.” He even had a chance to duet a live version of “Stay With Me” with Blige.
5. He Has OCD
Smith often talks about his obsessive compulsive disorder on Twitter. In an interview with 4Music, he said he has to “check taps [faucets] before [he] leaves the house … in case it floods. Fame has only made his tendencies worse. He told People, “I have really tough days. But I’m trying to get over it and really enjoy myself and live in the moment a bit more and make memories that can last forever.”