‘I’ll be life and soul of Mardi Gras if I stay awake!’
HEADLINING Mardi Gras is no ordinary gig for superstar singer Sam Smith.
For a start, The Brit won't take to the stage until the early hours of Sunday morning as the top-billed artist for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after-party.
"I've got to stay awake," Smith joked to Confidential in a break from rehearsals.
"It really does feel like a milestone. It feels theatrical and almost a little bit punk at times … like a rave, which is really exciting because normally I am singing slow ballads with a piano so it is nice."
Also on the bill are Tik Tok singer Kesha and One Kiss pop star Dua Lipa in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest Mardi Gras parties for many years.
Smith will attend the parade where some 191 floats and 12,600 individuals will make their way up the iconic Oxford Street route. The singer will then head to the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park for the after-party to perform at the Hordern Pavilion.
"I am just going to go for it," the singer said. "We have rehearsed so hard, we've pulled out every single stop. I just want to make it really special. I've put a lot of time money, and effort into it."
The 27-year-old Academy Award winner - Smith won Best Original Song for Writing's On The Wall in 2016 - has been a regular visitor to Australia since releasing 2014 debut global hit album, In The Lonely Hour.
While Smith is one of the most played artists on the planet and music has obviously been the focus, the performer has become a role model and advocate for queer rights.
It is a title Smith accepts uncomfortably.
"Right now I am just trying to figure out my shit and if it is helping other people, then it is absolutely wonderful," the four-time Grammy Award winner said. "That is my job, music is a therapy. Also, if I can try and make the best out of fame and to help other people too, then that would be wonderful."
Six years since breaking through with hit singles Money On My Mind, Stay With Me and I'm Not the Only One, Smith is gearing up for the May release of third studio album, To Die For.
It has already been a success with tracks Dancing With A Stranger, Calvin Harris collaboration Promises and new title single, To Die For.
"Shame has been such a huge part of this album, trying to get over the shame I have felt my entire life," Smith explained. "Such a huge part of freeing yourself is accepting that not everyone is going to like you and you are going to fail, it is all part of it."
Asked to expand on the term shame, Smith continued: "I feel shame all the time. I've felt shame for my queerness, I've felt shame for my weight, I've felt shame for my mental health, for my bitchiness, there's so many things. I have this incredible need to constantly please everyone and make everyone happy. I care so much about what people think of me."