It’s been said that there’s laughter — and then there’s Apollo laughter, a testament to the Harlem venue’s famously tough crowd. That sentiment doesn’t just apply to comedians, but to the vocalists who dare to take its stage as well; especially in its “Showtime” days, if the Apollo crowd didn’t like you, it would boo, hiss and wave you off of the stage if the Sandman didn’t get you first.
It appears Sam Smith, music’s newest It Boy who’s been described as the “male Adele,” gave the Apollo crowd all he had when he performed there the night his debut album dropped last week. By Saturday, Smith was forced to cancel a performance at London’s Capital Summertime Ball because he’d lost his voice.
Smith, 22, released his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” on June 17, and it’s expected to enter the Billboard charts at No. 2. We’ll know for sure when the top 10 are announced on Wednesday. There’s plenty of buzz surrounding Britain’s latest musical export due in no small part to the video making the rounds of Smith covering Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.” Every note he sings seems to pulsate with emotion.
To recap, Smith marked the American debut of his album with a performance in front of a crowd that’s notoriously hard to please — and turned the place out, according to Vibe. He ended the evening with an encore rendition of “Stay With Me” that featured Mary J. Blige. Then, he sought to capture a few more hearts with a song that belonged to one of the country’s foremost pop princesses who can actually sing. And he killed that too.
In her dispatch from the concert for Vibe, Sowmya Krishnamurthy wrote:
‘It’s gonna get depressing now,’ Sam forewarned the sold-out crowd. As the album title suggests, the singer’s set list is melancholy stuff. OK, that’s an understatement. This is gut-wrenching, getting-a-dagger-stabbed-through-your-heart music. From ‘Leave Your Lover’ to ‘Good Thing,’ every note, albeit executed flawlessly, oozes with misery. Future concertgoers: Bring a box of Kleenex.
Nicely played, Mr. Smith. Nicely played.