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For the first time, Sam Smith wrote songs about "the world in general"

Ruven AfanadorSam Smith is famous for singing about heartbreak, but on his new album The Thrill of It All, he wanted to sing about the sadness in the world, too.

Speaking to Billboard, Sam says only three of the 10 songs on the album are about himself -- the rest of the tracks are about "situations my friends might be going through, or the world in general.”  The newly-released track "Pray," for example, was inspired by a trip Sam took to Iraq with the charity War Child.

Speaking about that trip, Sam tells Billboard, "I...came back ­embarrassed that I had known so little about the world and other people’s lives. I went back to that great Nina Simone quote, that it is important to speak about the times you live in. I hadn't done that; I’d just written a bunch of songs about love."

He adds, "So I wanted to write about how I’m now starting to open my eyes, at 25, to what is going on in the rest of the world, and that it’s not always pretty.”

Of course, Sam will still sing about love, even if his own love life isn't always where he'd like it to be.  But he says that's not his #1 goal.

"I want to be healthy and I want to live as long as possible. I want kids, and I want to open a florist," he tells Billboard. "If a boyfriend comes into that mix somewhere, I’ll be happy. But if it doesn't happen, I’ll be fine with the flowers.”

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