STORMZY has admitted he became “depressed and withdrawn” while making his debut album, which he described as a “super heavy” experience.
The rapper opened up to Louis Theroux about issues including his childhood, dating life, faith and the strained relationship with his father.
The pair met during the first episode of the documentarian’s new BBC Two series, Louis Theroux Interviews, which aired on Tuesday.
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…and I’m also being a family man, a son, a provider and I’m also trying to provide and lead in my community, 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“I would often just crash out, or get super depressed or super withdrawn or super reclusive and disappear.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. It was just a feeling, overwhelmingly, 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”.
Stormzy discussed the anger he had felt towards his father, who had left his mother and started a new family before approaching him to ask for favours following his success, but said he now took a more forgiving perspective.
“I know he’s sorry. I’m going to speak to him,” he said.
As the series continues Theroux is also set to get up close and personal with other big names in the entertainment industry, including Dame Judi Dench, Rita Ora and Bear Grylls.
The episode with Stormzy comes ahead of the release of the rapper’s new album, This Is What I Mean, due on November 25.
It comes three years after Heavy Is The Head, and follows the release of the hit single Mel Made Me Do It last month.
That song came with an accompanying 10-minute, cameo-packed music video which featured Theroux, among other famous faces.
Stormzy has described the recording of his new album as “wholesome fun” and said there was no “partying with girls and booze”.