Sam Smith performed Whitney Houston’s 1985 hit, “How Will I Know,” in a video released by SiriusXM Radio last Friday, June 20.
The 22-year old British singer performed the stripped down version of Houston’s “How Will I Know” accompanied by a pianist and guitarist. The song was originally featured in an episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
He recently put the track at the top of the list of 10 great R&B voices that he assembled for Rolling Stone.
“A Whitney Houston song that makes me happy—it’s a feel-good song,” he said. “I love the juxtaposition of a melancholy lyric with an upbeat sound. People forget that’s how she rose to fame. The more mature Whitney, like ‘I Will Always Love You,’ came later.”
While many singers would feel intimidated to tackle a Whitney Houston song, Smith says he finds inspiration in the iconic divas of the past. “I love legends like Whitney Houston,” Smith tells PEOPLE. “I love female voices and female divas. I find Amy Winehouse so iconic. Everything about her, just the way she looks.”
Houston was just one of the many women on Smith’s idol list. It also also included Mariah Carey, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. He told Rolling Stone that he became acquainted with the great ladies of soul through the music his mom would play in the car while she was taking him to school. “My whole family has a lot of powerful women, and so hearing women sing about empowerment and independence, it reminded me of my family and the amazing women in it,” he said.
Sam Smith rose to stardom as a featured vocalist for British electronic duo Disclosure’s 2012 single “Latch,” and later as the vocalist for Naughty Boy’s single “La La La.”
Smith’s debut album, In the Lonely Hour, was released June 17.
Sam Smith “How Will I Know” Whitney Houston Cover
Sam Smith covers Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” during a performance for SiriusXM hits 1.
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