Music

Stormzy opens up about his depression in eloquent and honest Channel 4 interview

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Dave Fawbert
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It’s Stormzy’s world right now, as he heads to the top of the charts with his debut album Gang Signs and Prayer, converts your mum into a fan by appearing on Sunday Brunch and even endures listening to Ray Parlour rapping.

But now a clip of him has gone viral for altogether different reasons, as he spoke about depression during an interview on Channel 4 News.

Here’s what he said: “For me it was a realisation of how fragile we are as humans, in the most beautiful way possible. In the sense where I always saw myself as this strong person who just deals with life, I get on with it. And if something gets me low I pick myself back up. Like that happens, we march on. That’s always been my philosophy. Even down to the point when one of my closest friends, who was suffering from it, I used to dismiss him. In… it wasn’t even in a harsh way, I just used to think ‘just be happy’, d’you know what I mean? Just pull it together.

“That was a world that was so alien to me. I just used to think you get up, march on. So for me, I felt like on this album if I didn’t address that, what I was going through – because even then I had another complex of where I thought ‘OK, I went through this. But I don’t even know if I want the world to know if I went through this.’ Like yeah it’s something I went through, my friends know I went through it, my family knows I went through it, but the world doesn’t need to know that.

“What convinced me to talk about it was the fact that if there’s anyone out there going through it, I think for them to see that I went through it would help. Because for a long time I used to think ‘soldiers don’t go through that’. You know? Strong people in life: the bravest, the most courageous people, they don’t go through that, they just get on with it. Like any person who I admire or look up to hasn’t felt like this. They just pick themselves up… and that’s not the case.

“A lot of the people I look up to, I don’t know what they’ve dealt with… so for me it was like, this is what I dealt with… I always feel like I always come across confidently and happy and I’ve always made sure that I don’t promote negative… I just present myself in a positive way so I can spread that. So people will be looking at me thinking I don’t go through nothing  So for me to just let people know, no I do. I do, I do go through that. I thought that was important for people to know that.”

Stormzy speaks honestly, and directly about the subject, from his own experiences and observations, and all power to him for doing so.

As he acknowledges in the full-length version of the interview (below), when he talks, people listen, and he wants to use that power positively. When asked about speaking up about injustice and inequality he said:

“These are all views I would have had, regardless of [whether] I was a musician. But now I find it empowering that I’ve managed to get to a certain platform, to a certain stage in my career, and I’m able to say things. I feel like if you have a platform and you’re not saying nothing, then what are you really doing with it? I love the fact that I am able to say things and it resonates.

“And with that comes great responsibility because now, when I say something, it’s almost a little bit of a thing, so I’ve got to think twice now, so with that I learn as well… I like the fact that if there’s an injustice, if there’s something funny going on, or anything that’s a bit against the people, I can say something, I can stand up. I don’t know how much it counts in the grand scale of things, but I can do my little bit.”

We have no doubt his latest words will help people in similar situations.

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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