It really wasn't that long ago when Sam Smith was an unknown voice. Now he's recognized as one of the decade's greatest singers. He's listed as a feature on Disclosure's "Latch," but Smith arguably made that song. "Latch" doesn't reach that emotional peak if it wasn't for Smith's expression of ecstasy on the hook. The track could've also been Smith's peak. But now, he's a superstar. The British sweetheart turns 23 today (May 19).

Smith had an impressively steep rise in 2014, after his first two singles barely made a dent on the charts. ("Lay Me Down," his first, originally flopped before it got re-released in 2015, when it peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard charts.) However, Smith got his breakthrough when he went gospel and soul for "Stay With Me." The song became the soundtrack of many montages and tributes -- including Stuart Scott's (R.I.P.) ESPY speech. "Stay With Me" climbed to Billboard's No. 2 spot.

The breakthrough single and his humble demeanor opened multiple doors for Smith, including collaborations with Mary J. Blige. Perhaps the only real loss he's taken over the past year was when he was forced to concede 12.5 percent songwriting credit to Tom Petty's publishing company because of the similarity "Stay With Me" had with "I Won't Back Down." That doesn't overshadow what happened last February, when Smith won an astonishing four Grammys (Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album) out of his six nominations.

Unfortunately, at this moment, the crooner is recovering from having surgery on his vocal chords to fix a hemorrhage. If you watched the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (May 17), where he won Top New Artist and Top Male Artist, he saw him accept his big wins with a cue card speech. Without uttering a word, he still left a lasting impression -- a hilarious one to say the least.

With the many accolades to his name, Smith should be fine as he weaves through his early 20s.

Watch Sam Smith Perform "Stay With Me" With Mary J. Blige

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