Dancing with a Stranger

"Dancing with a Stranger" is a song by English singer Sam Smith and American singer Normani. It was written by Smith, Normani, Jimmy Napes, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Hermansen, and produced by Stargate, Napes, Tim Blacksmith and Danny D. "Dancing with a Stranger" was released as a single by Capitol Records on January 11 2019.

"Dancing with a Stranger"
Dancing with a Stranger (official single cover).png
Single by Sam Smith and Normani
ReleasedJanuary 11, 2019 (2019-01-11)
Format
Recorded2018
Genre
Length2:50
LabelCapitol
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Sam Smith singles chronology
"Fire on Fire"
(2018)
"Dancing with a Stranger"
(2019)
"How Do You Sleep?"
(2019)
Normani singles chronology
"Waves"
(2018)
"Dancing with a Stranger"
(2019)
"Motivation"
(2019)
Music video
"Dancing with a Stranger" on YouTube

The track became a commercial success, reaching number one in Mexico, Iceland, and Lebanon, number three in the United Kingdom, number seven in the United States, and the top ten in twenty-one additional countries. The single is certified Platinum or higher in ten countries. "Dancing with a Stranger" was the most-played radio track of 2019, according to Forbes.[1] The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards.

Background and compositionEdit

According to Billboard, the collaboration happened through a chance encounter at a recording studio in Los Angeles. When Smith was writing a track with their frequent collaborator Jimmy Napes and Norwegian producers Stargate, Normani happened to be in the studio next door. After talking, the two decided to work together.[2]

Musically, "Dancing with a Stranger" is a disco-R&B[3] and pop[2] duet that contains 1980s-inspired R&B production.[4] The song was written by Smith, Normani, Napes and Stargate. The latter two also handled production for the track alongside Danny D and Tim Blacksmith. Journalist Monica Mercuri of Forbes described the single as "sultry" and showing off the singer's "powerful" vocals.[5] David Renshaw, writing for The Fader, called the song a "veer away from [Smith's] gentle soul sound".[6] Lyrically, the song is about coping with loneliness and moving past a lost love.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Brittany Spanos, writing for Rolling Stone, stated the song "plays to [Smith's] retro-leaning strengths and Normani's own solo vision of being a Sexy soul-dance diva". She concluded her review by calling the song "simple and fun".[3] Rose Dommu of Out praised the duo's vocals, calling Normani's "sultry voice is the perfect counterpoint to Smith’s own deep tone".[7] Mike Nied of Idolator wrote that the song "expertly capture the frustration and loneliness of heartbreak, bottling it and presenting it as something both deeply personal and infinitely relatable".[8] Billboard magazine called the song a "sexy earworm",[9] lauding the pair's "standout vocal delivery", with Smith's "seductive falsetto accompanied by Normani's smoky counterpart".[9]

Associated Press ranked it as the 2nd Best Song of 2019.[10] Billboard ranked it 38th on their Best Songs of 2019 list.[9] The song received praise from actress Reese Witherspoon who dubbed it the “Song of the Summer”.[11]

Commercial performanceEdit

In the United Kingdom, "Dancing with a Stranger" peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart in January 2019, becoming Smith's eleventh and Normani's first top ten single in the UK.[12] It was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.[13] In the United States, the song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 2019, making it Smith's sixth and Normani's second top ten single in the US.[14] In May 2019, "Dancing with a Stranger" topped the US Radio Songs chart, becoming Smith's second and Normani's first chart topper there.[15] It also topped the US Adult Top 40 and reached number two on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, behind "Sucker" by the Jonas Brothers.[15][16] In other countries, "Dancing with a Stranger" peaked inside top ten in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Iceland, Lebanon and Sweden.[17][18] It was also certified 4× Platinum in Australia and Canada, Platinum in New Zealand, and Gold in few other European countries.[19][20][21] "Dancing with a Stranger" was the most played song on radio in 2019, according to Forbes.[22] The song was also the 4th most played song on radio in 2019 in the US, receiving over 3.134 billion audience impressions, according to Billboard.[23] The music video for "Dancing with a Stranger" was the most viewed video in the United Kingdom on Vevo in 2019,[24] and was the second most viewed video in the United Kingdom on YouTube of 2019.[25]

As of April 2020, the song has surpassed over two billion streams and has sold over ten million units worldwide according to Capital Records.[26]

Cover versionsEdit

The band 5 Seconds of Summer performed a cover of the song for BBC Radio 1 live lounge.[27] Their cover was nominated for an IHeartRadio Music Award.[28]

Awards and NominationsEdit

Year Award Category Result
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Pop Song Nominated
Choice Collaboration Song Nominated
2019 BreakTudo Awards International hit Nominated
2019 People's Choice Awards Music Video of 2019 Nominated
Song of 2019 Nominated
2019

[29]

MTV Play Awards Winning Videos Won
2020

[30]

Global Awards Best Song of 2019 Nominated
2020

[31]

IHeartRadio Music Awards Best Collaboration Pending
Best Music Video Pending
2020

[32]

Brit Awards Brit Award for Song of the Year Nominated
2020

[33]

Queerty Awards Anthem Nominated

Music videoEdit

The music video was released on January 29 2019. [34] The video was directed by Vaughan Arnell, and was shot in London. It features Smith and Normani moving and dancing through a "sleek, stark home"[35] while being surrounded by hologram projections of dancers.

Formats and track listingsEdit

  • Digital download[36]
  1. "Dancing with a Stranger" – 2:51
  • Digital download (Acoustic)[37]
  1. "Dancing with a Stranger" (Acoustic) – 3:07
  • Digital download (Cheat Codes Remix)[38]
  1. "Dancing with a Stranger" (Cheat Codes Remix) – 2:39
  1. "Dancing with a Stranger" – 2:51
  2. "Dancing with a Stranger" (Instrumental) – 2:51

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from Tidal.[40]

  • Sam Smith – vocals, songwriting
  • Normani – vocals, songwriting
  • Jimmy Napes – songwriting, production
  • Stargate – songwriting, production, music production
  • Randy Merrill – master engineering, studio personnel
  • Kevin "KD" Davis – mixing, studio personnel

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[19] 5× Platinum 350,000 
Belgium (BEA)[122] Platinum 40,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[20] 4× Platinum 320,000 
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[123] Platinum 90,000^
France (SNEP)[124] Gold 100,000 
Italy (FIMI)[125] Gold 25,000 
Mexico (AMPROFON)[126] 4× Platinum 240,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[21] Platinum 30,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[127] Platinum 20,000*
Portugal (AFP)[128] Platinum 20,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[129] Gold 20,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[13] Platinum 600,000 
United States (RIAA)[130] 3× Platinum 3,000,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Various 11 January 2019 Original Capitol [36]
Italy Contemporary hit radio Sony [131]
United Kingdom 12 January 2019 Capitol [132]
United States 14 January 2019 Hot adult contemporary [133]
15 January 2019 Contemporary hit radio [134]
Various 15 February 2019
  • Digital download
  • streaming
Acoustic [37]
8 March 2019 Cheat Codes Remix [38]
12" Original + Instrumental [39]

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External linksEdit