Sam Smith makes smooth debut at Montreux jazz festival

Wed Jul 8, 2015 6:28am EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

MONTREUX, Switzerland(Reuters) - British soul singer Sam Smith, freshly recovered from surgery on his vocal cords, delivered a smooth yet punchy concert to jazz fans on Tuesday night in his first appearance on the famed Montreux stage.

Smith opened with "I'm not the Only One", followed by other chart-topping hits from his 2014 debut studio album "In the Lonely Hour", including "Leave Your Lover", "Restart" and "Not in that Way".

"Wow, this is amazing to me for many reasons, I get to play a jazz festival which is historic. I saw Claude Nobs' house yesterday and got to see all the history that has happened over more than 40 years, all of my idols," the 23-year-old said.

The late Nobs, a Swiss, founded the festival in 1966, bringing legends from Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Prince over the decades to the shores of Lake Geneva.

Heartbreak paid off handsomely for Smith, a newcomer who won four Grammy awards in February including record and song of the year for his anthem "Stay With Me." [ID:nL1N0VI0O3] He was anointed best new artist.

"The most painful kind of love is unrequited love, it only felt natural to write about it," he said on Tuesday, performing "Lay Me Down" and "My Funny Valentine".

In late April, Smith canceled the remainder of his Australian tour due to a hemorrhage on his vocal cords, apologizing to fans but saying the decision was taken on doctor's orders. [ID:nL8N0XP44Y]

"Three months ago I had surgery on my vocal cords. To be able to do a gig in a tiny venue is incredible, I prefer this to anything," he told the crowd at the Montreux Jazz Lab where fans paid 92 Swiss francs ($97) to stand for the sold-out concert.   Continued...

Sam Smith performs "I'm Not the Only One" during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni