The Hertfordshire stately home where Sam Smith filmed controversial music video

A country estate and stately home in Hertfordshire home was used as the location for Sam Smith’s controversial ‘I’m Not Here to Make Friends’ music video.. British singer Sam Smith’s ‘I’m Not Here to Make Friends’ music video – which was directed by Tanu Muino – was released on January 27, 2023.

‘I’m Not Here to Make Friends’ is the fourth single from Smith’s fourth studio album Gloria (2023), and the music video was set in Ashridge House, which is just two miles from Berkhamsted. It was produced by Calvin Harris, StarGate, Jimmy Napes and Smith, and also features vocals by RuPaul and Jessie Reyez.

The controversial song attracted a large debate due to its suggestive nature. Smith announced through a social media post their fourth studio album Gloria , along with the official cover art on October 17, 2022 after the release of the album’s lead single ‘Unholy’.

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The track was announced on November 30, 2022, through a clip on Smith’s official social media platforms. In the clip, Smith is mouthing the lyrics to the song while clothed in a controversial pashmina dress, however the singer is slowly revealed to be solely wearing fishnets over underwear with exposed thighs.

Ashridge House is a sight to behold
(Image: Tom Presland/Geograph)

The music video was almost entirely shot in and outside the Herts property. However, the track itself received mixed to positive reviews from analysers.

Pitchfork’s Jamieson Cox labelled the song as “a whirlwind of grown-up lust that evokes George Michael”. The New York Times’ Lindsay Zoladz also called the controversial track “sleek, glittery… [and] taps into the pop-disco revival ignited by artists like Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware” due to its “shout-along hook”.

The track charted at number two on the Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan) and number five on the Japan Hot Overseas (Billboard Japan), however only 23rd on the UK Singles (Official Charts Company).

Smith also recently performed the song on the Graham Norton Show on January 30. Ashridge House has previously been used as a setting for a number of music videos, TV shows, and feature films, including The Crown (2022), ‘Nirvana’ by Skepta feat. J Balvin (2021), and The Dirty Dozen (1967).

This comes after Smith also received further controversy on the BBC’s The One Show. Smith corrected Alex Jones after she misgendered the singer when discussing their dreams of being a “fisherthem”.


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