Sam Smith and Alicia Keys Perform at Julius' in New York

Sam Smith and Alicia Keys Perform at Julius' in New York

BYPaper MagazineJun 14, 2024

Ten years have passed since Sam Smith broke into music with their debut album, In the Lonely Hour, featuring major hits like “Stay With Me,” which was unavoidable on radio stations in 2014. Celebrating the album’s 10-year anniversary, Smith threw an intimate party with PAPER and Supergay Spirits to kick off Pride Month at Julius', New York City’s oldest gay bar in Greenwich Village and, apparently, Smith’s go-to spot.

Drag legend Lady Bunny served as the night’s DJ and emcee, encouraging guests to do a little karaoke at the start of the night (despite their performances being in front of Smith, an absolute vocal powerhouse). “I don’t sing in the same room where Sam Smith sings,” Bunny teased, until finally getting a few takers to do Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

Julius' is a tight space, so 100 VIPs were crammed in close quarters, snacking on the bar’s signature food, from classic sliders to chicken tenders and french fries. The bar offered no-frills cocktails named after In the Lonely Hour song titles, like the “Life Support,” a classic marg, and the “Good Thing,” a cosmo. Special Julius' tees were handed out, with Smith’s name printed across the back to commemorate the occasion.

Smith drew in a crowd of celebrity friends to drink and dance. Kim Petras stopped by, wearing a barely-there Miu Miu look with new brunette hair, to see her “Unholy” collaborator. Then, there was Dylan Mulvaney, Ella Snyder, Nick Champa and Smith’s boyfriend, designer Christian Cowan. The sweat was dripping, cameras flashing and beverages pouring, as a beaming Smith mixed and mingled throughout the crowd — towering above everyone in massive platform heels and a plaid skirt.

Finally, Bunny brought out the party’s surprise performer late at night: Alicia Keys, who walked onto Julius’ ultra-small stage and got on the keyboard to sing “I’m Not the Only One” with Smith. The two traded verses, as the audience closely surrounded them, singing along with iPhones raised. “This is a dream come true,” Smith told Keys, who responded: “Can you believe we never did this before? Except for right now? That’s crazy.”

Bunny then dubbed them “the Queens of New York,” closing out the event and kickstarting a month of LGBTQ+ empowerment.

In The Lonely Hour (10th Anniversary Edition) is out August 2, featuring the album’s 10 original songs plus an exclusive new track “Little Sailor.”

Photos via BFA/Brendon Cook