Thursday, July 17, 2014


Before you play the video below, take a look at the picture and try and guess what this musician sounds like.

Got it figured out? Good. Now play the video, even if only for 30 seconds .

If you're already familiar with Sam Smith, you probably weren't surprised by what you heard, but for those who were not, how did your expectations align with reality?

While he may have done nothing for you, I can honestly say it's been years since an artist has captivated my attention like Sam Smith has. When I first saw his picture on SNL, I assumed I was about to hear a Boy George clone. I had my hand on the track pad ready to skip to the next sketch... but then he opened his mouth and I got chills.

There are plenty of artists out there who sing better than Sam Smith and I could care less about them. Sam Smith is nowhere near my style of music. Why is he so captivating?

I think it's the same reason I'm captivated by Susan Boyle or Paddy & Nico on America's Got Talent. They're unexpected. 

If Usher or Justin Timberlake had been on SNL and sang the same song, I would have skipped ahead. R&B is not my style of music, but Sam Smith was so unexpected, I couldn't look away. Now I listen to his songs whenever they come on the radio. 

It's likely that this was all a well devised marketing scheme. Shock value is nothing new and probably overused to some extent. On the other hand, if a pleasant surprise was enough to get me, a guitarist and metal head of all people, to enjoy R&B, it's capable of anything, and I can use it to my advantage in building my business.

The concept is nothing new, I've just never looked at it this way before.

Thanks Sam.

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