LOS ANGELES — Though Sam Smith has mingled with Hollywood’s elite thanks to the success of “Writing’s On The Wall” — the Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning James Bond theme song — he feels like the glitz is just a bonus.
It was getting the OK to do the song that remains close to his heart. “I don’t think very much of myself most of the time, but when (they) ask you to have a go at that, I was just like, ‘I can’t believe they’ve asked me,’ ” he recalled.
“Writing’s On The Wall” was clearly the right choice: The British singer’s single topped the U.K. charts; it won best original song at last month’s Golden Globes and it’s competing for the same honor at Sunday’s Academy Awards. His competition includes Lady Gaga, the Weeknd, David Lang and J. Ralph.
At 23, Smith has the chance to become one of the youngest acts to win the prize. It took just a day to pen the song, which he wrote with his “Stay With Me” collaborator Jimmy Napes.
“And then the strings took six months; the production took ages,” Smith said.
He’ll perform the “Spectre” song during the show that begins at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Smith talks about his Oscar nomination, being drunk at the Golden Globes and going dark after winning four Grammys last year, including song and record of the year for “Stay With Me.”
Q: How’s it feel to be an Oscar nominee?
A: All the awards are just a huge bonus and I just find it fascinating, getting to see all these actors and sitting near Leonardo DiCaprio at lunches and (stuff) like that.
Q: Did it feel extra special doing a Bond theme song since you are British?
A: It feels like the ultimate film song. ... It was on my bucket list as my ultimate dream.
Q: Was it different writing “Writing’s on the Wall” compared to your album songs?
A: It was and it wasn’t. I worked with Jimmy Napes so it was actually the same. In terms of the content, lyrically, yes. We read the script and I purposely wanted to make this song really vulnerable ... that’s what I am as an artist and it’s what I do and how I speak and I didn’t want to have to change that. I wanted it to be a Sam Smith-Bond song.
Q: What’s it like competing with Lady Gaga for best original song?
A: I’m just honored honestly to be standing next to her in some way. We did the (Oscar) luncheon ... and I queued to watch Lady Gaga sing when I was 17 years old overnight in London. And I just keep going back to that moment: That was me in that (expletive) queue and now I’m standing next to her to her being nominated. ... It’s very, very surreal.
Q: At the Golden Globes, you seemed surprised when you won.
A: Me and Jimmy, we came to L.A. two days before; I think we were drunk permanently for four days. Normally I’m insanely professional and I’m like “don’t drink” and I’m all prepared and fresh. I was like, “We are not winning this. Let’s just have fun and enjoy this moment and have fun with it.”
Q: Are going to the film awards shows different than the music ones?
A: It’s very different. I don’t know if I’m wrong in saying this but it feels more elite, if that’s the word. It feels more like, “Wow.” And also, do you know what it is? It’s kinder. That’s what I found. It was a kinder atmosphere. I felt like all the actors knew each other and worked with each other in the past, and it was just a nicer atmosphere; just a lot friendlier.
Q: What was it like returning to the Grammys this month after winning big last year?
A: It’s strange. I feel more together for sure. I feel like I got my head on my shoulders a bit. This time last year would have been after the Grammys. It was actually one of my darkest moments actually. ... The Grammys were the happiest I’ve been, and then straight after, I went into a pit of sadness for a bit. So, yeah, I feel a lot better now.
Q: Why were you sad?
A: I’m a melancholy person, so I feel like when you go through a happy moment that incredible, then afterward the only way is down a little bit. I was just going through a moment basically. Having a moment.