Photo Courtesy of prettymuchamazing.com
UK singer Sam Smith has soulfully redone the well-known 1985 hit “How Will I Know”, originally sung by Whitney Houston to a dance-worthy beat. After Smith’s rendition was sampled on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, fans were begging for a full version of the cover, which he delivered on SiriusXM Radio last Friday, June 20th. Following in the footsteps of his idols, which include singers such as Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse, Smith adds a bit of personal soul to the unrequited love song.
This cover followed the release of his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour”, which garnered much attention when Smith, in an interview with Fader Magazine, came out as gay and announced that the album was dedicated to a fella he fell in love with last year, but who didn’t return the feelings. Even at the age of twenty-two, Smith has felt the sting of unrequited love, and it stands to reason he would feel a connection to “How Will I Know”, and makes it an appropriate song to cover, as Whitney was singing about trying to discern if a boy she likes will ever like her back.
Despite his openness about his sexuality, Smith slightly altered the lyrics by switching the gender-specific pronoun “he” to the anonymous “you”, which he felt justified in doing because, “I’ve made my music so that it could be about anything, and everybody – whether it’s a guy, a female, or a goat…” he told Fader.
Why did Smith choose this particular song out of all the morose, unrequited love songs out there? Well, why not? It’s one of his favorite top ten great R&B songs, a list he provided for Rolling Stone, and he managed to make the style of the song match the subject of the lyrics, which at first aren’t identifiable as so despondent, disguised by the peppy pop beat. Replacing the heavy ‘80’s synthesizer with piano and guitar, Smith turned the pop classic into a soulful ballad that has fans swooning.