Sam Smith may be nominated for two pop music Grammys, but he's not too keen on the whole pop star persona. Chatting with funk legend Chaka Khan recently for V Magazine's music issue, the "Stay With Me" singer put some of his peers on blast.
The diss came about when Smith, 22, and Khan, 61, were discussing some of his biggest influences, including Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Joni Mitchell, and Etta James.
"What I loved about her, which I try to do more of, is the rawness," the Brit said of James. "She didn't care if her voice went a bit f—ed up here and there…people are so bothered at the moment about everything sounding perfect."
Smith went on to allude to some face-to-face encounters he'd had with fellow musicians. "Even when you meet them. I won't name names, but some of these pop stars are just awful," he told Khan. "And they have not even had half the success that you've had and yet you're so humble and kind."
(It's worth noting that the Best New Artist nominee has several friends in the business. He bonded with seatmate Katy Perry at the 2014 VMAs, celebrated Taylor Swift's 25th birthday in December, and has professed his love for Beyonce on more than one occasion.)
Khan said she thought the problem was a byproduct of technology. "Well, it's people skills," she explained. "Talking to a screen all day long takes the human experience out. Luckily I grew up in a time when we only had a telephone at home."
One star Smith does admire? Mary J. Blige, with whom he has worked on multiple projects. Told by Khan that they should collaborate on a song, he replied, "Hundred percent, I'm in. I was actually thinking me, you and Mary [J. Blige] would do something."
Read more in V Magazine's music issue, on stands Jan. 15.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!