Sam Smith quits drinking as he opens up about mental health struggle
Sam Smith is one of the most famous British performers on the planet, regularly filling stadiums everywhere from Glasgow to Sydney.
He already has two number one albums and an Oscar under his belt, with the best part of 20 million record sales at the age of 25.
You might expect him to be supremely confident about his own abilities, but now Smith has opened up about the crippling anxiety that leaves him terrified to go on stage.
The gay star, who regularly speaks about his support for LGBT rights, says he is left on the verge of panic attacks before walking on stage.
“I thought I would be more in control of my body and emotions but I get so nervous, to the point I’m almost having panic attacks.
“Sometimes I need people who I love around me to tell me, ‘Pull yourself together, you’re being a drama queen — it’s too much now, Sam, so rein it in’.”
He says the battle with anxiety peaked over the festive period, ahead of his major second world tour.
“My anxiety levels and mental health went through a shaky period at Christmas.
“But I’ve started meditating now, I am not drinking, I am trying to look after my mental health.
“Mental health issues are coming to the fore because people are starting to talk about it. So many people go through stuff. For me, my music has been my therapy.”
Explaining his decision to quit alcohol he said: “There were ups and downs. Burning is about feeling you are not in control.
“It’s about the self-destructive element — I was going out drinking way too much. Of course, you want to celebrate that these amazing things have happened but you can’t celebrate all the time.
“I’ve been completely off the booze for three weeks now. I never want to make promises but being sober is something I’m interested in.
“When I don’t drink and I’m not smoking cigarettes, when I’m completely clean, I feel so focused and happy.
“I don’t see myself drinking for the rest of the year because of the tour. I am more fun when off the booze — it’s nice. I am enjoying it now and we will see how it goes.”