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UK soul artist Sam Smith wins song of the year Grammy

Sam Smith and R&B singer-producer Pharrell Williams led the early winners at Sunday’s Grammy awards

Published: Updated:

Sam Smith’s “stay with me” won song of the year Grammy award, a major achievement for the 22-year-old British artist.

Song of the Year recognizes the best songwriting, not necessarily performance.

Smith earlier won for Best New Artist.

The British soul singer thanked the unnamed lover who inspired the ballad about a one-night stand, saying that he “broke my heart but he won me four Grammys.”

"I'm having a really, really, really good night," Smith said as he accepted the Song of the Year award, before turning over the stage to his co-writer Jimmy Napier.

As his star rose, Smith quietly added Tom Petty to the writing credits on "Stay With Me" over the similarities in vocal delivery to the rocker's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down."

Smith, who was born in 1992, said he was unfamiliar with the song and Petty said he had no hard feelings, believing the resemblance was an accident.

Smith took an early lead among the winners with two Grammy awards; best new artist and best pop vocal album for “In The Lonely Hour.” The 22-year-old British newcomer made his mark by encouraging people to accept who they are.

“Before I made this record, I was doing everything to try and get my music heard,” Smith said. “I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music and it was only until that I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”

Smith and R&B singer-producer Pharrell Williams led the early winners at Sunday’s Grammy awards, while Katy Perry and President Barack Obama teamed up to take a stand against domestic violence at the music industry’s top awards.

Minutes before Perry’s performance of “By the Grace of God,” Obama delivered a pointed speech in a video message urging artists at the Grammys to help end domestic violence, saying “It’s not OK and it has to stop.”

Brooke Axtell, a survivor of domestic abuse, shared her personal story on stage, saying “authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse.”

Perry’s stripped-down act was a study in contrasts with her raucous, vibrant, prop-filled performance at the Super Bowl a week ago.