Sam Smith almost gave up on his new album when a failed romance left him devastated.
The Stay With Me singer sat down for a candid Attitude magazine chat with Sir Elton John recently and confessed a lost love forced him to rethink his career and stalled sessions for his new record.
"There was a period, when making the record, that I was in a really bad place," he explains. "I got dumped, which wasn't very nice. Writing music about that kind of thing is normally like therapy for me, but when I got dumped this time round I just couldn't write for about two months...
"My team had to force me to get into the studio, because I almost felt as if I didn't want to do it any more. So, there were moments on there where it got a bit intense and I started to lose myself."
His friendly rivalry with pal Ed Sheeran helped steer Sam back on course - and got him to think about making music again.
"It makes you push yourself," he adds. "Watching him (Sheeran) this past year has just been incredible, but yeah, of course it makes me hungry."
Elton suggests Sam and Ed's friendship is similar to the relationship he has always had with Rod Stewart.
"Rod and I were competitive with each other, and that's healthy because it drives you, but we loved and supported each other, too," the Rocket Man says. "I think perhaps you and Ed Sheeran are the same way. You do both love each other, both admire each other and are going through the same thing as each other, at the same age... You're the new Rod and me!"