Sam Smith, the hotly tipped British soul singer-songwriter, believes there is a gap in the market for songs about “unrequited love” instead of more common themes for love songs such as falling in love or breaking up.

Sam – who came top of the BBC’s ‘Sound Of 2014′ list and was nominated for the 2014 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award – recently told Emma Brown of Interview magazine: “I don’t think unrequited love is spoken about enough in music. I’ve been through it myself and I found it hard to find songs that were about that.”

He said he intends to focus on this kind of love song on his new album, In The Lonely Hour, which is due to be released in the spring.

“I’ve never been in love with someone who has loved me back,” he said. “So I wanted to write an album for people who have never been in love. I want to be a voice for lonely people.”

Sam explained that when he writes and records a song that lays out all of the raw emotion of everything he is going through, he often listens to the track at home when he’s feeling down. “And it somehow makes me feel better,” he said.

The great George Gershwin once described songwriting as “an emotional science” and there is actually a scientific reason why listening to sad songs can help to cheer us up.

According to a recent study by Japanese scientists, the reason we enjoy listening to sad music when we’ve had a negative experience is because it can actually evoke positive emotions in the brain.

In July 2013, researchers from Tokyo University of the Arts and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan discovered that melancholy tunes can stimulate romantic emotions as well as sad ones.

“Sad music might even help to alleviate negative emotion if a person is suffering from an unpleasant feeling caused by real life events,” explained Ai Kawakami from Tokyo University of the Arts.

He said: “Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness, possibly because the latter does not pose an actual threat to our safety. This could help people to deal with their negative emotions in daily life.”

Sam Smith performs an acoustic version of his song ‘Not In That Way’, recorded at Abbey Road Studios:

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