Singer/songwriter Sam Smith has done something few recording artists are unable to do. He has covered a Whitney Houston song and has made it his own. On Friday, the British sensation put his own spin on Houston’s 1985 classic “How Will I Know.” His soulful, much slower ballad version of the dance hit has given the song a fresh and new energy that has led to over 800,000 YouTube hits since it was released three days ago. Smith tweeted Monday about how excited he was that the video went viral as fans showed him just how much they really love him.
Smith, who has just released his debut album titled “In The Lonely Hour” in the U.S. June 17, has been capturing fans with his own hits. Currently, “Stay With Me,” “Latch,” and “La La La” are burning up the charts, but his cover of the Whitney Houston classic is what has fans buzzing over the last couple days. The cover of the song was actually featured during a recent episode of the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” He then performed the makeover of the song for SiriusXM this past Friday. The 22-year-old singer also included the hit song on his list of 10 great R&B songs of all time.
He told Rolling Stone in an interview published Saturday, “A Whitney Houston song that makes me happy –it’s a feel-good song. I love the juxtaposition of a melancholy lyric with an upbeat sound. People forget that’s how she rose to fame. The more mature Whitney, like ‘I Will Always Love You,’ came later.”
Although no one an ever match the original version of any classic song, Smith uses his soulful voice to break down the song into a more tender version. It is hard for any listener to get the song out of their head once it is heard, much like the original version when it was released in the 1980s. It is legends like Houston who have inspired Smith.
In an interview with People, he said, “I love legends like Whitney Houston. I love female voices and female divas. I find Amy Winehouse so iconic. Everything about her, just the way she looks.” Sam Smith is just bursting onto the music scene, but he has the voice and delivery to go down as a legend himself.