Male musicians and mental health: Stormzy

In 2017 Channel 4 News interviewed Stormzy about his album and dealing with depression. Did you know Stormzy had suffered from depression? And would you expect a successful rapper to feel that way? I was surprised to hear what he had been through and found his honesty and bravery to open up quite refreshing. This is what he told a Channel 4 reporter…

Can you talk about what you were going through when you were depressed? 

“For me it was the realisation of how fragile we are as humans, in the most beautiful way possible, in the sense that, I always saw myself as this strong person who just deals with life, I get on with things, and if something gets me low I pick myself back up and that happens we march on and that’s always been my philosophy. 

“Even down to the point where one of my closest friends was suffering from it, I used to dismiss him, and it wasn’t even in a harsh way I was just thinking ‘be happy’, ‘just pull it together’, and then when I went through what I went through, it was like wow. I felt stuck, like I’m actually not this strong person that I thought I was. 

“I am, now I know I am. But you almost realise how important it is to keep loved ones around you, and keep yourself focused and sane, and all these things, and this was a world that was so alien to me. I just used to think, you just get up and march on. 

“So for me I felt like on this album if I didn’t address that, what I was going through. Even then I had another complex of where I thought I went through this, I don’t even know if I want to world to know I went through this, 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. ‘Cause to the world I still want to be strong Mike. I want to be strong Stormzy.” 

What convinced you to talk about it?  

“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 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. Like any person I admire or look up to hasn’t felt like this. They just pick themselves up, you know what I mean and that’s not the case, like a lot of the people I look up to I don’t know what they’ve dealt with. 

“For me it was like, this is what I’ve dealt with, so if there’s anyone listening, who thinks I swear down like, Stormzy has felt like… 

“I feel like I always come across confidently and happy and I’ve always made sure I don’t promote negative… like 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, like I do go through that, for me, I thought that was important for people to know that. 

“It’s not that you’re weak and that you can’t handle life, it’s nothing to do with that, it’s just sometimes you’re stuck and life does that and it happens, so I thought let me let the world know that, let me do my bit, but it was hard.” 

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