Steve SchofieldWhat started as an impromptu collaboration between Sam Smith and Normani, turned into one of this year’s biggest radio hits. “Dancing with a Stranger” had a slow rise to the top of Billboard’s Radio Songs and Adult Top 40, and it’s still connecting with listeners almost a year after its release on January 11.

For Sam and Normani, making the song affected their lives on a personal level.

“The song launched me into a really beautiful space of writing and freedom,” Sam tells Billboard. “There’s a femininity within that song that has ignited a flame within me; it triggered the transition I’ve made into a nonbinary person.”

It allowed Normani to explore a different side of herself as well.

“Sam has a unique way of captivating the audience with vulnerability,” she says. “That was different for me — my fans hadn’t been able to see me in that light. I’m happy the song will always be part of my story as a solo artist.”

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