​The revealing Sam Smith


The international sensation discusses his rapid rise and his latest album, "In the Lonely Hour."

CBS News

Sam Smith won four Grammys earlier this year, including Best Song and Best Record, for his big hit, "Stay With Me." Not a bad night's work for a singer who was largely unknown just a couple of years ago. Anthony Mason now with "A Summer Song." (An earlier version of this story was originally broadcast on October 12, 2014.):

His is the voice behind the international smash, "Stay With Me." Almost overnight, that soulful falsetto has made Sam Smith one of the biggest stars in the world.

"Do you think you were prepared for where you are now?" asked Mason.

"I think I -- no, no. Actually 100 percent no," laughed Smith.

To watch the music video of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," click on the player below.

Early last year, the 23-year-old singer had two songs top the British charts, including "Money on My Mind."

"I wanted it so bad," Smith said, "and I still want it so bad, that the thought of being 60 years old and thinking 'I could have tried harder' makes me feel sick."

Then, he invaded America.

"It was possibly the scariest night of my entire life," he said of his appearance on "Saturday Night Live." "Also, my manager cleverly on the morning said to me, 'This is the most important night of your entire life,' which is ridiculous. But it was!"

His album, "In the Lonely Hour," would be the bestselling debut last year in the U.S. The 6'3"-inch singer, who suddenly was everywhere, seemed to come out of nowhere.

"It's really hard to explain where I come from, actually," said Smith, "because Cambridge is half an hour away. London's an hour away."

Sam Smith on his singing roots

Smith grew up in the rural English village of Great Chishill, where he started mapping out a career before he was even a teenager.

His plan, he said, was "to move to London, become a famous singer."

His mother, a banker, and his stay-at-home dad noticed his talent. So did neighbors like Jim Cunningham: "He was here causing all kind of trouble, and he used to be screeching out of that window up there," he laughed. "But it was wonderful."

In grade school, at St. Thomas More, he sang in the school musicals. When Smith returned with Mason last fall, his album had just hit #1 again in England.

The students were singing "Stay With Me."