In today's world of instant gratification and so-called TV talent shows you wonder just how the truly inspirational new music artists can get noticed.
Luckily for us the cream does still rise to the top more often than not and no one better illustrates that than Sam Smith. Last month, Sam celebrated his 22nd birthday with the release of his debut album In the Lonely Hour.
It's been a rapid rise for Sam, after he came to attention performing on Disclosure's breakthrough single Latch in late 2012. Fast forward to this year and he's already won the Brit Critic Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 Poll.
In the Lonely Hour showcases not just a remarkable new vocal talent but also a young man who knows how to use it to best advantage. A big plus is that Sam Smith has co-written all the songs on the album so his is a very personal approach, bringing a fresh voice to what is mainly boy-meets-girl, falls in and out of love, and unrequited love themes. Yes, romance is still alive.
Pick of the tracks are Stay With Me, Not in That Way, Money on My Mind and the acoustic take on Latch. That said, In the Lonely Hour is uniformly good and a brilliant introduction to a new name on the pop scene. Sam Smith has arrived.