Following a mesmeric performance at the Brits and a critically acclaimed debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, there’s no denying that Stormzy has established himself as one of the leading musicians in the British grime and hip hop scene.
The incredibly talented Londoner has the world at his feet, but while he might appear to be incredibly confident and assured on-stage, it seems that his art has been shaped by his own battles with depression.
To begin, Stormzy admits that his debut album is a reflection on how his attitude to mental health has changed over the last few years.
He says that the album is a “realization of how fragile we are as humans. In the most beautiful way possible.” He also describes how his own opinions on mental health issues have changed over the years. He said: “I always saw myself as a strong person who just deals with life, I get on with it. If something gets me low, I just pick myself back up.”
This attitude changed though after one of his friends confided in the singer that he was dealing with depression. The grime artist admitted that he had a somewhat narrow-minded and misinformed view to depression because he encouraged his friend to just “be happy” and “pull it together.”
Stormzy says: “that was a world that was so alien to me. I just used to think, you get up and march on. So for me, I felt that if I needed to address that (depression), what I was going through”.
The MOBO winning artist hopes that by speaking about his own mental health issues, it will make it far easier for others to do so.
“If there’s anyone out there going through it, I think for them to see that I went through it, it would help. Because for a long time I used to think that soldiers don’t go through that. You know? Like, strong people in life, the bravest, the most courageous people, they don’t go through that, they just get on with it.”
“That’s not the case. I feel like I always come across confidently and happy. I just present myself in a positive way so I can spread that. So people will be looking at and thinking I don’t go through nothing, so for me to let people know that, no i do. I felt it’s important for me to let people know that.”
Here’s the interview in full.
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