He might be the son of an investment banker but Sam Smith has certainly got soul. The London singer swept the board at the MOBO awards, taking four prizes.
Smith, 22, confirmed that he is the year’s breakout British music success, after winning the Male, Album,Song and R&B/Soul categories at the Wembley Arena event recognising Music of Black Origin.
Smith, whose In The Lonely Hour debut album topped the UK charts and broke US sales records for a British male artist, has more than justified his appearance at the top of the BBC’s Sound of 2014 poll.
His honeyed, falsetto voice also won over rock fans, who predominantly form the readership of Q magazine, which awarded Smith the Best New Act prize at another ceremony held on Wednesday.
Smith is the son of Kate Cassidy, a City high-flier who launched a £1.5m High Court battle against bonds and currency broker Tullett Prebon claiming damages over her dismissal. She claimed that her bosses sacked her for devoting too much time to promoting Sam’s career.
Smith’s triumph will reignite the debate over whether white artists should dominate at an event honouring “black music”. But Jess Glynne, who lost out to Ella Eyre in the Newcomer category, said: “It’s not about the colour of your skin, it’s about your music. Not only black people can sing songs and be inspired by soul. I find it so ridiculous.”
The Hip Hop award went to Krept and Konan, a duo from south London, who have so far only released mixtapes independently. The pair beat Tinie Tempah, whom they supported on tour, and have now signed a deal with the Virgin EMI label.
Awards for FUSE ODG and South London grime MC Stormzy demonstrated that the underground British urban music scene continues to produce talent with mainstream crossover potential.
There were also wins for Jessie J and Beyoncé at the MOBOs, now in its 19th year, which was broadcast by ITV for the first time.
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