By Mary J. Blige

In our GRAMMYs As Told To series, chatted with an artist about one of the Best New Artist nominees at the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Here, we feature Mary J. Blige as she talks about how Sam Smith has taken the music world by storm, and how it’s impossible for her to pin down a favorite from his catalog of songs.

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I think Sam Smith deserves to win Best New Artist because he’s done something that’s been so needed in the music business and in the music world that we haven’t had in a few years now. Adele has done it, and Amy Winehouse did it when she was around. He managed to put out an album that was full of great songs. He’s written amazing songs, and you cannot go wrong with that.

On top of that, he just so happened to have all this talent where he’s one of the most amazing singers of our time right now. He has it. He gives me the chills, and not many people give Mary J. Blige the chills. He makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I call it medicine that heals people just through his words, which are so powerful and relatable. He has that full package.

I think Sam’s best quality as an artist is that he’s not afraid to be vulnerable or express his true story. He lets us see him and feel him. That’s a huge quality that a lot of artists don’t have. A lot of people just don’t have the ability to move you emotionally like that. Another thing is the writing. His lyrics are just amazing.

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It’s hard to single out my favorite piece of his work. One of them would definitely be the song “Stay with Me.” I love “I’m Not the Only One,” I love “Lay Me Down”— I just love his entire album. I love the stuff he did with me, like the songs “Therapy” and “Not Loving You.”

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He has so many great pieces of work, and he’s this brand new artist that has already produced so much music that will be around for years to come.

Working with him was so much fun, because Sam is so down to earth, and he’s so relatable. He just makes everybody around him so comfortable. He’s not afraid to let you in. He’s a very good person, too. Sam is super sweet and so genuine. He’s a real person. He has a big heart. You can see it through his eyes. I just love him.

Just talking about Sam has me wanting to hug him right now. He’s one of the great ones.

Watch the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 8 pm EST on CBS.

As Told To Scott Sterling



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