Stormzy is delighted by the reaction to his decision to speak out about his depression but does not want to be defined by his mental health issues.
The 24-year-old grime star shot to fame in 2015 after his track Shut Up surged up the U.K. charts, and he rapped about depressive thoughts on “Lay Me Bare,” a song from his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer.
Earlier this year Stormzy, real name Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo, Jr., previously confirmed in interviews that he suffers from depression and tells U.K. chat show host Jonathan Ross the response of fans and campaigners has been “incredible”.
However, he is worried that if he continues to bring up depression, fans will think he is “milking” the subject.
“I feel like it’s very important and it needs to be spoken about,” he explains. “I felt like I gave my piece on it, and I spoke about it and I let it be known. I don’t want it to look like I’m milking… I said my piece and I moved on.”
“I didn’t set out to be a campaigner in that field but I felt like at the time it was very important. Especially the way I was feeling at the time. It was something that I always felt, I felt a bit embarrassed for feeling like that.”
Stormzy confesses that he decided to speak out about mental health because he was worried fans did not know their idols had their own personal battles.
He explains, “I know it sounds so cliched but genuinely, I thought there will be young kids who look at me and probably have that same thing that I think about so many other people, ‘I bet you they never felt like this.’ It’s easy for me to look at, I don’t know, Jay-Z or Kanye West and think, ‘I bet they don’t go through it.’ So I thought if that helps (to speak out) in any way, shape or form, hopefully, it does.”
Both American rappers’ personal struggles have become public over the past year.
Last November Kanye cancelled 21 “The Life of Pablo” tour dates after he was hospitalized with temporary psychosis stemming from sleep deprivation and dehydration, while earlier this year Jay released a confessional album, 4:44.