On the heels of his phenomenal appearance on SNL (Saturday Night Live), award-winning British recording artist Sam Smith releases his fourth studio album, Gloria. To celebrate his highly anticipated album, he shares the wacky visuals of “I’m Not Here To Make Friends,” produced by Calvin Harris.
Directed by Tanu Muino (Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, Normani), the music video for “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” shows Sam as a vision in pink (custom made by Tomo Koizumi), as they arrive in style , stepping out of a golden helicopter and being greeted by a bacchanalian-inspired celebration. Hedonistic, exciting and compelling, we see Sam in his element as they take over a country house filled with revelry around every corner, fully enjoying their moment.
The footage shows Sam in full wrecking ball as they swing from a large chandelier as the song grows and the partygoers fawn over them. An allegory for unapologetic individuality, the visuals denote freedom, joy and self-expression, a clever introduction to the overall theme of the album to come.
Gloria is not only a creative revelation, but also a personal one. It’s the sound of constricting shackles falling to the ground, of boundaries being joyfully breached, of a still-seeking talent discovering what it means to be truly free, to be in touch with her innermost self.
A creative challenge for the celebrated hitmaker, Sam set out to craft the opposite of a heartbreak album; they wanted to build the armor they craved growing up, the record they wished they had to accompany their formative years.
Gloria draws on some celebrated female figures from Sam’s musical world (Jessie Reyez, Kim Petras, Koffee), as well as exploring themes of sex, passion, self-expression, and imperfection.
The album’s title is not a nod to a person, past or present, but to that bristling and enigmatic life force, whom Smith has baptized Gloria. When discussing her album, Sam explains:
“Gloria is also a celebration of all genres and all the female pop divas, vocalists and writers I love. I collected all those memories and put them together in an album. And I wanted to be defiant. My diva album? I think so. I think I’ve finally let my Gloria out.”
Jimmy Napes, Stargate and ILYA, Max Martin’s partner of many years, have helped fuel this 13-song album that boldly weaves between glittering electropop, glorious melodic reverie, Jamaican freak-pop dancehall, piano ballad exquisite and a hymn sung in chorus.
In addition to the recent dancehall track “Gimme,” featuring Colombian-Canadian R&B singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez and Jamaican reggae star Koffee, Gloria includes the heartbreaking “Who We Love,” featuring Ed Sheeran, the euphoric “ Lose You”, a beautiful lullaby “Gloria” and the global hit “Unholy”, with Kim Petras.
“Unholy” is Sam’s eighth number 1, with nearly 2 billion streams worldwide. The record was Sam’s first number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making history with her collaborator Kim Petras as the first non-binary and transgender artists to reach the top spot.
It has been nominated for a GRAMMY and stayed at number 1 on the Spotify and Apple Music world charts for more than four weeks after its release.
Sam is among three other global artists to debut at number 1 on the Official UK Charts in 2022, spending 4 weeks at the top.
Gloria is the most confident and creatively realized version of Sam to date. Her fearless spirit overflows throughout the entire album, equal parts expressive and exuberant. The juxtaposition of religion and sexual liberation in Gloria feels like a second coming of age, as they delve into the truth of it.