Watch: Sam Smith on Coming Out as Non-binary: 'Such a Weight Has Been Lifted'

Sunday November 22, 2020

How is Sam Smith handling the pandemic?

"It's been a hard few months. I can't lie. It's been a hard few months. We're in lockdown here again," they told "CBS This Morning" last Thursday morning.

While in lockdown, Smith completed and released their latest album, "Love Goes," which they say explores a new side of themself. But they do feel something is missing: the connection with the audience in live performances.

"I miss it a lot. I really do. It's been really hard to bring out a record and not sing these songs with my fans and in front of my fans," Smith said.

Smith was interviewed by "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason, who had previously interviewed Smith in their hometown in 2014 just when their song "Stay With Me" was climbing the charts. At the time they told Mason his plan "was to move to London and become a famous singer."

But achieving their goal did not come without challenges.

"The hardest part has been the fame," Smith said. "You saw where I grew up... I grew up in a village with no access to queer people and queer spaces until I was 19, 20. So a lot of my growing up was as a gay person and as a queer person has happened in front of people."

And much of that happened last year when they came out as non-binary.

"2019 for me was a fight with my mental health. For the first time ever, I started to get panic attacks and, you know, feeling anxiety. And I think that's because I was facing it really for the first time," they said.

This led Mason to ask Smith to define non-binary.

"Queer people all around the world, we don't identify within those two places," Smith said. "Gender, for me, has been nothing but traumatizing and challenging throughout my life, and I just don't feel like — it's so hard to explain. I just feel like myself. I don't feel like a man, basically."

But they weren't prepared for the backlash.

"I honestly, I can't express to enough people how much courage it's taken," Smith said. "I wasn't prepared for the amount of ridicule. And bullying, really, that I've experienced.

"I mean, honestly, the comments and the types of things that I have to answer and walk through every day is very, very intense," they said.

But, they told Mason, it has been worth it for their emotional health.

"It's going better now, so much better," Smith said. "After being able to talk about my gender expression, I feel such a weight has been lifted."

"Do you regret at times being a public figure?" Mason asked.

"Sometimes. Yeah, for sure. But then when I do feel that type of regret, I always come back to music and how I feel at the basis of all this," Smith said. "People hopefully still want to hear me sing and I still love singing. So that's what gets me through all of it."