“Stay with Me”is a song by English singer and songwriter Sam Smith from his debut studio album In the Lonely Hour (2014). It was released in the United States on 14 April 2014 and in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2014. “Stay with Me” is a gospel-inspired ballad that details the protagonist pleading with his one-night stand not to leave him. The song was written by Smith, James Napier, and William Phillips, with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne receiving co-writer credits due to the song’s similarity to Petty’s single “I Won’t Back Down”.
The song has become Smith’s most successful single to date, peaking at number one in the UK Singles Chart (becoming his third chart-topper there, second as a solo artist), topping the charts in Canada and New Zealand, and reaching number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It has also reached top 10 status in over twelve countries worldwide. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony, Darkchild’s remix version of “Stay with Me” won two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
In an interview with NME, Sam Smith said that the song was written in a studio in Old Street with James Napier (Jimmy Napes) and William Phillips (also known as “Tourist”). Phillips started playing with three chords on the piano, and Napier quickly provided a drum pattern, and according to Sam Smith, “the song just flowed out of us so naturally,” and the song was written in 30 to 40 minutes. After finishing the song, he started to layer his vocal about 20 times, singing in different parts of the studio and harmonizing. The result sounded like a gospel choir, but all from his own voice, and this demo was then used in the released song.
According to Smith, “the song is about the moment in the morning after a one night stand, where the person you are with leaves your house, and you are left by yourself, and it’s just a second, where you are just like: ‘I wish, I wish’. You don’t even love them, you don’t really fancy them that much, it’s just nice to have someone in the bed next to you.” The song won the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and in his acceptance speech for winning the Record of the Year, Smith said that “I want to thank the man who this record is about who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys.”
On 25 March 2014, the song was played for the first time on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show at 7:30pm. On 29 March, he performed the song live on Saturday Night Live in the United States. On 16 May, he performed the song on The Graham Norton Show. In June, he returned to the United States as part of his tour where he performed the song on Good Morning America, at the Apollo Theater in New York with Mary J. Blige, and David Letterman.