Hear Sam Smith Break Down His Bond Theme, 'Writing's On The Wall' "I wanted a touch of vulnerability from Bond, where you see into his heart a little bit," says the British singer. His theme song for Spectre, the latest film in the James Bond series, is out today.
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Hear Sam Smith Break Down His Bond Theme, 'Writing's On The Wall'

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Hear Sam Smith Break Down His Bond Theme, 'Writing's On The Wall'

Hear Sam Smith Break Down His Bond Theme, 'Writing's On The Wall'

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A couple of years ago, the British singer Sam Smith sent an email to his agent. The subject line - 007. He was lobbying to write the theme song to the next James Bond film. It was a lifelong dream for Sam Smith, and that dream comes true today when his song, "Writing's On The Wall" is released. Yes, it is the theme to "Spectre," the next Bond film, and Sam Smith walked us through it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAM SMITH SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SAM SMITH: I think it's a very traditional opening, which is what I wanted. I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond. My music is a diary, and it's a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty in the lyrics like the how do I live? How do I breathe?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: (Singing) How do I live? How do I breathe?

And when you're not here, I'm suffocating. That - I wanted there to be a touch of vulnerability from Bond where you kind of saw into his heart a little bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: (Singing) Tell me, is this where I give it all up?

And we literally wrote the song in, like, 20 minutes - 20-30 minutes. It was so quick. And then I recorded the vocal, again, in probably like 15-20 minutes, and then the song was done. The vocal that you hear now on the song is the vocal from the demo, I never re-vocaled the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: (Singing) Could you break my fall? How do I live?

When it goes into the chorus, it's massive. And then I wanted it to almost sound like all the air was being sucked out of the song really, really quickly as it goes into how do I live? How do I breathe? And then it slowly raises again in that last moment to, like, the final explosion leaving it to the orchestra to then take it away. That's kind of what I wanted to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: (Singing) For you I have to risk it all 'cause the writing's on the wall.

My uncles and my dad's brother, when he was born, he was diagnosed with brain damage. And his name's Terry (ph), and he's the most amazing man. And he actually has this incredible obsession with James Bond. He's got every single poster, every single figurine. You know, for my whole life, it's been a part of my life, you know, with Terry having this obsession with James Bond. You know, I just thought how incredible that would be for him and for the family and stuff to do that theme song. It would be amazing. I'm not sure if he even knows yet that I'm properly doing it. But I'm going to bring him to the premier.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAM SMITH SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: When I was in the studio writing with Jimmy Napes, we were giving every ounce of effort in our beings to write this song. I've sang the highest I've ever sung on this song. I feel like I belt the loudest I've belted and just given everything I could.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRITING'S ON THE WALL")

SMITH: (Singing) 'Cause the writing's on the wall.

It's my time to be a drama queen (laughter). I'm a drama queen all the time, I'm joking.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JAMES BOND THEME")

MONTAGNE: Sam Smith talking about his song, "Writing's On The Wall." It's the theme to the upcoming Bond film, "Spectre." This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Our theme music was written by B.J. Leiderman and arranged by Jim Pugh. I'm Renee Montagne.

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