The singer’s debut solo single, released in February 2013, took a more tempered path. Produced by the favor-returning Disclosure, “Lay Me Down” recalled the stripped-back material that had proved successful for Adele. Only three months later, producer/songwriter Shahid “Naughty Boy” Khan followed his Emeli Sandé-fronted U.K. Top Ten hit “Wonder” with “La La La,” featuring a powerful lead vocal from Smith (who had just finished a series of dates in support of Sandé). It was an instant number one U.K. hit. In October 2013, Smith issued the Nirvana EP, which included an acoustic reading of “Latch,” and by the end of February 2014 he was back at the top of the U.K. chart with “Money on My Mind,” which inventively married his relaxed vocal with a frenetic beat. Smith’s debut full-length, In the Lonely Hour, was released that May in the U.K., and topped the album chart. It arrived in the U.S. the following month and peaked at number two there. The singles “Stay with Me,” “I’m Not the Only One,” and “Lay Me Down” hit the Top Ten in both the U.K. and U.S. In the Lonely Hour led to awards from organizations as varied as the BRITs, the Grammys, Billboard, and BET. The album was the second best-selling album of 2014 in the U.K. and U.S., behind only titles by Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, respectively.
In 2015, Smith recorded another Disclosure collaboration, “Omen,” eventually placed on the duo’s Caracal. Smith also earned the high honor of being chosen to record the theme for a James Bond film. “Writing’s on the Wall,” recorded for the Spectre soundtrack, was the first Bond theme to go to number one in the U.K. An expanded version of In the Lonely Hour, the “Drowning Shadows Edition,” was released that November with new material and previously released stray tracks added to the original album content.
Sourced by Billboard.com
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