One of my favorite parts of discovering a great artist is using them to discover another great artist. Because everyone offers something different and special, even if they have a similar vibe. Sam Smith is one of those great artists; he’s clearly captured worldwide attention with his soulful sounds and heartfelt hooks, and in just a few days, the world will be going crazy over his album, The Thrill of It All. So if you’re a Sam Smith fan, check out these 10 impressive artists who possess similar sounds to hold you over until then.
1. James Arthur
Since his 2012 win on The X Factor UK, this singer-songwriter has released two studio albums, with his most recent being Back from the Edge, released in 2016. His voice soars with tremendous power and vulnerability that’ll have you on an emotional rollercoaster.
2. James Morrison
Another British singer-songwriter, and coincidentally, another James. He has a much raspier, edgier voice than Smith, but a similar soulful sensitivity. You might recognize his songs “You Give Me Something” or “Wonderful World” back from 2006. He’s collaborated with Jason Mraz, Nelly Furtado, and Jessie J, so you know he’s not doing too badly.
3. James Vincent McMorrow
Okay, last James here, I promise. This James has a strikingly unique vocal fragility that feels like nearly shattered glass. His music is airier and much more experimental than Smith’s, but just as exquisite. “Cavalier” and “Get Low” are must-listens.
4. Conor Maynard
He evokes a mainstream pop quality that emits heartache as well as heartbreak. He’s been mentored by Ne-Yo, who discovered his cover of “Beautiful Monster” several years ago. Be sure to check out his breathtaking cover of “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers.
5. Zak Abel
He’s fresh on the scene, but he’s definitely here to stay. He blends soulful vocals with electric tracking, and it’s intriguing to listen to. He came out with his debut album Only When We’re Naked just this October, and it’s good stuff.
6. Maverick Sabre
He’s a multi-talented singer, songwriter, and rapper who fuses R&B and reggae sounds. I’ve seen him perform live, and can confirm that he sounds just as amazing as his recordings.
7. Samm Henshaw
Having toured with Chance the Rapper and James Bay, this singer has an unmistakably heartfelt and spirited sound. Check out his stunning EP The Sound Experiment, which includes an unplugged version of “Only Wanna Be With You.”
This NYC based singer-songwriter trio has some striking vocal resemblances to Smith. They actually accumulated tons of fans with their YouTube cover of a Sam Smith song that garnered millions of views. Their soulful song “G Train” with Pusha T is compelling and addictive.
Another British singer-songwriter (like much of this list), who is known for a distinctive alternative R&B sound. His song “Until the Pain Is Gone” with Jill Scott is a remarkable collaboration. His EP Alone Together was described as “future throwback soul,” a phrase that accurately encapsulates his unique sound.
10. Leon Bridges
His bluesy-soulful voice will rebirth your soul. Definitely a different sound than Smith, as The Wall Street Journal described him as “throwback to ’60s-soul a la Otis Redding and Sam Cooke,” but he has an incredible vocal tone and range.