Last week, crooner Sam Smith released the music video for his new song “Leave Your Lover” and the powerful visual may shed some light on his personal life. If you’re not yet familiar with Smith, it’s time to get with the program. Smith currently has three songs climbing the charts in the United States: his solo single, “Stay With Me,” his Naughty Boy collaboration, “La La La,” and his Disclosure collaboration, “Latch.”
Pop star Katy Perry recently referred to Smith as “a male Adele.” It’s an oversimplification, to be sure, but in some ways, the description fits: Smith has an astonishingly beautiful voice and a knack for writing thoroughly heartbreaking love songs. Oh, and he’s British, too.
Similar to Smith’s previously released promotional single “Not In That Way,” “Leave Your Lover” is an emotional ballad about unrequited love — but it’s the accompanying music video that really sets the song apart. In the clip, we see Smith running around Paris with two companions: real-life pal model Daisy Lowe and another man. As we watch the three people interact, we begin to wonder: are they just close friends? Or are they really lovers? Once Smith sings the song's chorus for the first time, the situation appears to come into focus:
Pick up and leave everything
Don’t you see what I can bring?
Can’t keep this beating heart at bay
Set my midnight sorrow free
I will give you all of me
Just leave your lover, leave him for me
Leave your lover, leave him for me
So, in the story of the music video, it seems as though Smith has fallen for Lowe and wants her to leave her lover for him — but it’s actually not that simple. Later, Smith and his male friend share a tender moment in a nightclub together. In the video’s final scene, we see Smith wandering the empty streets by himself. As he repeatedly sings the line, “Leave your lover, leave him for me,” Smith sees his male friend in the window of a nearby restaurant, dining with another man. After a quick glance at the happy couple, Smith walks away, clearly feeling dejected. Wow. How’s that for an unexpected twist?
Well, maybe it’s not so unexpected. There have been rumblings online lately that Smith might be gay, and some publications even claim that the “Leave Your Lover” music video “settles” those rumors, but again, it’s not that simple. First of all, we have no idea if Smith actually intended this music video to be autobiographical. For all we know, the video might tell a completely fictional story. Second of all, why are we so quick to assign someone a label? I guess the uncertainty is too much for us to handle. Smith has yet to make a demonstrative statement about his sexuality — and he doesn’t have to. Until Smith comes out and says, “I’m gay,” let’s put the labeling aside, shall we?
If the “Leave Your Lover” music video was in fact inspired by one of Smith’s real-life experiences, he’s incredibly brave for putting it out there. Romantic rejection can be devastating. That's the real story here — not Smith's sexual orientation.
No matter how Smith identifies, “Leave Your Lover” is another truly remarkable song from the up-and-coming singer that absolutely must be heard. Smith’s debut album, In the Lonely Hour, will be released on June 17.