Sam Smith is reflecting on their journey since coming out as non-binary in 2019.
In an exclusive clip shared with PEOPLE from Smith’s interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the “Like I Can” singer opened up about how much their life changed since the announcement.
“In my personal life, there’s not one negative. My family, they can communicate with me. They always did. But they communicate with me now in an even better way,” Smith, 30, told the host. “My love life has become better from it. I feel lovable. I feel comfortable in my skin, but I wear what I want to wear.”
They continued, “Since changing my pronouns, it felt like a coming home. I wish I knew what the words were when I was in school, because I would’ve identified as that in school. Because it is who I am and it’s who I’ve always been.”
The singer-songwriter then said that their only struggles have been in their public life and career.
“The amount of hate and s—tyness that came my way was just exhausting. And it was really hard and it’s not like, this isn’t me sitting at home Googling my name… It was in the f—ing news. It was hard not to look.”
Smith admitted that they “can control” not Googling themself and “reading comments” — but there’s more to it.
“What people don’t realize with trans non-binary people in the U.K. is it’s happening in the street. I’m being abused in the street verbally more than I ever have. So that was the hardest part, I think, was being at home in the UK and having people shouting at me in the street,” they said.
Smith continued, “Someone spat at me in the street. It’s crazy. what I find hard about it is it’s like, if that’s happening to me and I’m famous, I’m a pop star, can you imagine what other kids, like queer kids are feeling? And it’s just so sad that we’re in 2023 and it’s still happening. It’s exhausting and especially in England.”
The full episode will air on Apple Music 1 at 10 p.m. PT at apple.co/_Zane.
Smith’s fourth studio album Gloria is set for release on Friday. They first announced the record in October and said the body of work would see them delve into personal topics from romance to deceit and all the passion that lies between.
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock Sam Smith
“It feels like emotional, sexual and spiritual liberation. It was beautiful, with this album, to sing freely again. Oddly, it feels like my first-ever record,” they said in a press release. “And it feels like a coming of age.”
Later that month, Smith’s song with Kim Petras titled “Unholy” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Meanwhile, Smith becomes the first-ever openly non-binary solo artist — while Petras becomes the first openly transgender solo artist — to reach the top of the chart since its 1991 launch, per Billboard.
“NUMBER ONEEEE HOT 100! I’m so grateful. Sam I can’t thank you enough for riding with me for years at this point,” wrote Petras in a celebratory post on Instagram. “I’m so honored to be a part of your first number one in the US which you should have 500 of at this point. I love you forever angel Sam.