Meaning of “Dancing with a Stranger” by Sam Smith and Normani

“Dancing with a Stranger” is a song recorded by Sam Smith and Normani. The song’s lyrics find Smith and Normani addressing their respective former lovers, whom they clearly still have strong feelings for.

Smith starts the song’s first verse by talking about how he dreads being “alone tonight” without his former lover. He makes it clear that he hasn’t gotten over this former lover of his and still thinks about them. His loneliness and longing for a lover eventually forces him to start seeing someone new.

 In the chorus, he somewhat reprimands his former lover by blaming them for forcing him to be with someone new, whom he refers to as a stranger. Hence the song’s title “Dancing with a Stranger”.

Normani, who handles the second verse of the song, also finds herself thinking too much about her former lover. She’s lonely and in need of someone to hold her. She therefore concludes the only solution to her loneliness and longing for that former lover of hers is to go out and find somebody new. She eventually does that. However, having met this new lover, she also blames her past lover for forcing her to be with someone new, whom she also refers to as a stranger.

Lyrics of the song "Dancing with a Stranger"

Lyrics are Autobiographical

According to Smith, the lyrics of “Dancing with a Stranger” are autobiographical. A few hours before the song’s release, Smith took to Instagram to talk about this tune. He said the lyrics of the song reflected how he was feeling at the particular time that he wrote them. He also referred to the writing of the song as a “healing moment” for him. But is he still feeling that way? No. Smith made it perfectly clear that he isn’t feeling that way anymore. According to him, he was now in “a very different place”.

On another platform, Smith spoke about the song, revealing he is a huge fan of Normani.

Sam Smith talks about "Dancing with a Stranger"
The official audio of “Dancing with a Stranger”. This audio was published on Smith’s YouTube channel on January 10, 2019.

Facts about “Dancing with a Stranger”

  • In all, 5 songwriters (including Smith and Normani) receive songwriting credits on “Dancing with a Stranger”. The others are: Jimmy Napes and the songwriting/production duo StarGate (Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen).
  • Also, 5 music producers (including Jimmy Napes and StarGate) produced this song. The other two are: Danny D and Tim Blacksmith.
  • The song was written in Los Angeles in September of 2018.
  • The collaboration came as a result of a chance meeting between Normani and Smith. Normani was not originally supposed to be on the track. Smith had been working on the song with the other writers in a Los Angeles studio when he met Normani, who coincidentally happened to be working in another studio in the same building. Being huge admirers of each other’s work, the pair decided to use that opportunity to work together on a track. And that was how this song was born.
  • “Dancing with a Stranger” was dropped on January 11, 2018. Prior to this official release, Smith had teased it multiple times on social media.
  • This is Normani’s first single to be released in 2019. It is also Smith’s first for 2019.
  • The last single Smith released prior to this was “Fire on Fire“. As for Normani, prior to this, she had released a single titled “Waves“. That single featured rapper 6lack.

Before this song had Normani and Sam Smith ever collaborated in the past?

No. Despite being fans of each other for years, the pair never got the opportunity to work together until this song.

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