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Sam Smith Lets Go of the Past on ‘Stay With Me’ Tenth Anniversary Re-Recording

While Sam Smith was writing their debut album, In the Lonely Hour, they allowed the identity of each song’s subject to remain mostly ambiguous. The record is essentially gender neutral, barring a moment on the hit single “Stay With Me” where the musician — who now identifies as non-binary — sings: “Guess it’s true, I’m not good at a one-night stand/But I still need love ’cause I’m just a man.” As the record celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Smith is leaving that identifying outlier in the past.

The singer and songwriter has recorded a new version of “Stay With Me” that replaces the lyric with: “But I still need love, baby understand.” In a statement shared with their fans, Smith elaborated on the decision to alter the career-defining song after a decade. “It’s beautiful to know that sometimes, we can change the past,” they shared, noting that the change “felt really important to me.”

As Smith has grown and evolved as both a person and an artist, so has the music they created as a young 20-something stumbling through a lovelorn haze of unrequited love. “When me, Jimmy and Tourist wrote this song, none of us would’ve expected it to become what it has in the world,” they wrote. “I will never forget Will (Tourist) playing those three chords on the piano. I stopped everything I was doing and said ‘what is that’. Those chords and this song still stir me in the same way to this day. I’ve never once got sick of singing it.”

Smith added: “The meaning of this song changes for me whenever I sing it. The words ‘Stay With Me’ can mean a million different things and follow me throughout my life like an old friend.”

In 2019, Smith spoke with Out about dissolving gender boundaries on In the Lonely Hour. “I had that with my first album, In the Lonely Hour. I’m in a suit and in that suit, I was channeling Judy Garland. I look back on those videos of me when I was 20, and I see a feminine energy,” they said. “I was singing songs about a married man I’d fallen in love with, and we did not kiss, nothing happened between us, but I was so in love with him, and I was tortured. I remember releasing the album thinking that it would be heard in that way — that it was a queer record — but it wasn’t taken like that. I’ve realized now that people weren’t understanding me.”

Last year, Smith won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Unholy,” their collaboration with Kim Petras. The history-making feat made Smith the first openly non-binary artist to win a Grammy Award and Petras the first openly transgender artist to win a major-category Grammy Award.

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Later this summer, Smith will release In The Lonely Hour 10 Year Anniversary Edition. Out Aug. 2, the album feature the record’s original 10 songs along with a new track, “Little Sailor.” A collector’s edition of the reissue will also be available as four vinyl LPs or a double CD, and will include live versions of the album’s original songs and collaborations with Mary J. Blige, A$AP Rocky, and John Legend.

“This year marks a decade since the release of my debut album,” Smith wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I feel so incredibly lucky to be celebrating this milestone with you. My team and I have created this beautiful anniversary edition for us all, and for the last 10 years. Today is only the beginning Sailors, we have so much to celebrate with you between now and August. I can’t wait to look back on ‘In The Lonely Hour’ together.”

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