Sam Smith has been busy on Instagram with a series of photos tagging music video directors Luke Monaghan and James Barber. The captions are mysteriously vague. "Filming - Day 1," one reads. "Filming - Last Day," says another. With much left to the imagination, my younger self who fancied herself the next Nancy Drew kicked into high gear. I had to find out more. Come on Sam, I know I'm not the only one.
Let's start off with what we know. The first photo alluding to this new, secretive project was posted two days ago. In it, he is sitting on a railing with swans in the background. He gives photo credit to James Barber, a director and photographer, who has worked with numerous artists creating music videos and short films. Barber shared the same photo that day awarding Smith with the title "critically acclaimed crooner & swan wrangler."
James Barber has directed numerous music videos for A$AP Rocky, Alibis, and Fekky — showcasing a clientele that spans from hip hop to folksy surf rock.
The award-winning singer followed that with posts of a series of photos that add Luke Monaghan to the list of people involved in the unnamed project.
Luke Monaghan is another established music video and short film director. This is not the first time he's worked with Sam Smith. The two are regular collaborators. He directed the music videos for "Leave Your Lover," "Not The Only One," and "Writing's On The Wall."
Sam Smith made a lasting impression in 2014 with his debut LP, In The Lonely Hour. Since then, he has won countless awards going on to do "Writing's On The Wall" for the 2015 James Bond film Spectre. Fans have been eagerly awaiting new music since then.
And now for a pretty deep dive into the internet: According to a brief video interview with a Malaysian radio station last month, classical crossover act, Clean Bandit, have been working with Sam Smith. On what exactly? They wouldn't really say other than to confirm that they were working together. Also on the record saying they have recently been working with the 25-year-old powerhouse is legendary producer, Timbaland.
Something else that jumps out is the aesthetic change. While promoting his first album, Sam Smith took on a very classic, formal persona, often donning a full suit or a blazer and button down shirt. In these photos, Smith is seen in jeans and a t-shirt. He is much more casual. Could this mean a stylistic change to his music as well?
Only a week ago, Sam Smith shared a series of photos from the recording studio on his Instagram. (Sam really likes a series of mysterious photos it seems!) Note that James Barber is also present for the recording session. Around that same time, Smith tweeted this:
So what do we know? Sam Smith is back in the studio, has been working with Clean Bandit and Timbaland, and has been working on an undisclosed project the past few days with known collaborators and music video directors Luke Monaghan and James Barber. If I were to wager a guess, I'd say a cinematically and musically stunning comeback from Sam Smith is in the works!
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