Stormzy has opened up about becoming ‘depressed and withdrawn’ while making his debut album, which he described as a ‘super heavy’ experience.
The first episode of Louis Theroux’s new interview series featured the Blinded By Your Grace rapper candidly discussing his breakup with ex Maya Jama, while also inviting Louis into the recording sessions of his third album, his home and taking us to church.
He also opened up about issues including his childhood, faith and the strained relationship with his father, while in one clip, his mum gushed over him and revealed that she had been on the pill when he was conceived, calling him a ‘miracle’.
Speaking about the production of his first studio album Gang Signs and Prayer, released in 2017, the 29-year-old said it had been ‘difficult to handle’ balancing both his personal and professional life.
‘I came into music when I was 19 or 20 and I’m becoming a man, I’m growing,’ he said.
‘I’m going on my journey as a man and I’m also trying to figure out how to be the greatest artist.
‘(I’m) also in a relationship which is an amazing relationship, there were ups and downs, and I’m also being a family man, a son, a provider and I’m also trying to provide and lead in my community, and for my people.
‘It was very overwhelming and difficult to handle all of those things while I was making an album.
‘I would often just crash out or get super depressed or super withdrawn or super reclusive and disappear.
‘I would just stay at home and smoke a lot of weed.’
He added: ‘It was just a feeling, overwhelmingness, of “I actually can’t handle this” which was also a new feeling to me because I was always a very capable child.
‘I would break down, it was super heavy.’
Stormzy revealed that, growing up, he had been stabbed twice and admitted he had not fully considered the ramifications of losing multiple friends to violence at a young age.
‘(These) things are easy to discuss from the suburbs, from my sofa…but it’s still people’s lives and realities,’ he told Theroux.
The pair later discussed the year 2019, in which Stormzy enjoyed critical acclaim for his second album Heavy Is The Head and his historic headline performance at Glastonbury festival.
He also addressed his split with newly announced Love Island host Maya Jama, saying he had made ‘mistakes’ during the relationship.
He described break-ups as the ‘biggest catalyst for growth’ as well as ‘the biggest loss a man can have.’
The former couple, who got together before either became well known in the public eye, ended their four-year romance in 2019.
While he didn’t go into the reasoning behind the split, he admitted he didn’t appreciate his former partner at the time.
‘There were other things in terms of mistakes I’d made,’ he admitted. ‘I didn’t do what a man should do to fully appreciate, love and care for his woman,’ but added that he had learned from his mistakes and would be a better partner if love came around again.
‘Long story short, I learned that if I don’t want to feel like that again, and if I believe that God will bless me again with an amazing woman and a family and marriage and all of that kind of thing, I have to do all the necessary work to never be in that situation again,’ he said.
Louis Theroux Interviews… Stormzy is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.