He's got soul

Blue-eyed soul is not a genre one should aspire to. It usually indicates a white performer successfully imitating a black one, usually for a white audience, or a white performer graded on a curve severe enough to keep up with the real soul singers. Rick Astley, Michael Bolton and latter-days Rod Stewart shouldn't be in your collection, or anyone's for that matter.

That being said, if our early 21st-century entry is Sam Smith, I am fine with that. Slight and British and a tad silly looking, Smith makes little effort to hang his hat on convention, instead doubling down on what feels like his belief in himself. His voice is naturally sweet, reaching the highs as easily as it seems to avoid the low register in what is almost an inversion of traditional soul singing. A lot of his material is akin to a teenage boy version of Adele, although if they duet, Smith would likely be the Cher to her Sonny. And still his soul, his absolute genuineness, shines through in hit after hit.

It isn't a question of liking Sam Smith, but a question of how much you like him, and given how hard he tries and how solidly he delivers, it is an answer he has fully earned. (Don't miss it)