By Hayden Wright

Sam Smith’s sophomore album The Thrill of It All topped the Billboard200 Albums chart and returned him to the radio with a new, more evolved sound. The artist recently spoke to the publication about how the late George Michael supported him, and how Rihanna inspires him.

Related: Demi Lovato Covers Sam Smith’s ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’

Smith said that Michael supported his career by sending flowers and words of encouragement, though they never met. In addition, the singer called Rihanna his “spirit animal” and said he aspires to be more like her.

“She inspires me a lot because I think she’s just unapologetically herself and that’s something that I’m trying to do,” said Smith. “I want to be a role model, but I don’t want to be a perfect role model. Like, I go and have mad nights out, just like she would. And, like, I’m completely human, I’m going to make mistakes, and I say the wrong thing, and I’m quite dumb sometimes and say random (expletive) I shouldn’t say.”

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