If you can handle a few tears, though, this stripped-down, hauntingly beautiful take on Houston's classic '80s dance tune is well worth a listen. Known as one of the late diva's poppier, more lighthearted songs, "How Will I Know" is here transformed into a love ballad that could compete with any Adele tune.
Smith performed the song during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio, accompanied by just a keyboard player. Interestingly, the British singer — who recently came out as a gay man — altered the original lyrics to remove any reference to gender. "There's a boy I know" has become "Oh, it's you, I know." Rather than wondering if "he really loves me," Smith wants to know if "you really love me." This gives the song a more intimate edge, but one can't help but wonder if the 22-year-old was being reluctant or just coy singing about longing for a man.
That said, Smith has been open about his sexuality and the unrequited loves that have inspired his album. "In the Lonely Hour is about a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back,” he told FADER.
Clearly, that guy hasn't heard this performance. Watch the video below and just try to not get emotional.