Sam Smith's honest songwriting is inspired by Amy Winehouse.

The British singer has become a global star thanks to his debut album In the Lonely Hour, which was released last year.

Amy tragically passed away before Sam became a star, but that hasn't stopped her having a huge impact on his career.

"Without a question the album that changed my life would have to be Amy Winehouse's debut album, Frank. I can still remember hearing it in my dad's car when I was 11 on the way to school," Sam revealed to Q magazine. "I think he bought it because he read a good review in Q magazine, funnily enough.

"It totally blew me away. It was so honest emotionally. It reminds me that I need to try and be that honest in my own song writing. I never got to meet her, but she'll always be an icon."

In the Lonely Hour features numerous tracks that are close to Sam's heart, including his brushes with heartbreak.

It's not just Amy's candid songs that Sam admires, he's also a fan of Norwegian singer Maria Mena's truthful tracks.

"You listen to some pop music and you think you hear honesty until you listen to a Maria Mena album. She literally lives her life and writes these incredible, dramatic songs about it. The lyrics are so intense and so true. She's had eating disorders and lots of the subjects are quite crazy, but it's dressed in a beautiful way," he explained.