There aren't many singers who can take on a Whitney Houston classic and do it justice. But Sam Smith can.
The British singer, 22, performed a stripped down version of Houston's "How Will I Know" for SirusXM Radio where he showcases just how impressive his vocal abilities are.
Many singers would be frightened to tackle a Houston song, but Smith says he finds inspiration in the iconic divas of the past.
"I love legends like Whitney Houston," Smith tells PEOPLE. "I love female voices and female divas. I find Amy Winehouse so iconic. Everything about her, just the way she looks."
And Smith – who was first heard on American radio as a featured artist on Disclosure's "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "La La La" before breaking out with his own hit "Stay With Me" – is quickly turning into an icon himself.
"Elton John actually called me the other day. That was surreal," says the singer, who also had the opportunity to sing a live version of his radio hit with Mary J. Blige.
But the fame and acclaim that he has garnered with his debut album In the Lonely Hour also comes with the stress of a hectic schedule, made worse by his OCD tendencies.
"I have really tough days," says Smith, who will tour the U.S. in the fall. "But I'm trying to get over it and really enjoy myself and live in the moment a bit more and make memories that can last forever."
For more on Sam Smith, check out the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands now