New album unlocks whatever freedom I have been looking for, says Stormzy

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Stormzy says that his upcoming third studio album “unlocks whatever freedom I’ve been looking for, both as a man and as a creative”.

The UK grime star said the album, titled This Is What I Mean, was a “reflection of growth” but that the process of making it had been “selfish”.

It comes three years after his last album, Heavy Is The Head, and follows the release of the hit single Mel Made Me Do It in September.

In an interview with i-D magazine, the rapper discussed “real artistic freedom”, saying it was about “being totally true to yourself”.

“It’s not an attempt at music so much, it’s more me trying to hold up a mirror to myself.”

He continued: “I find it impossible to figure out what people want from me… So the process of making this album has been very selfish.

“Real artistic freedom is about not considering the audience, but you have to do that in a really pure way,

“It’s not about defying what everyone thinks about you; it’s about being totally true to yourself.”

“I feel like this album unlocks whatever freedom I’ve been looking for, both as a man and as a creative.”

It comes ahead of a series of programmes, broadcast by the BBC, celebrating the rapper as a “cultural icon”.

Stormzy will sit down with DJ Trevor Nelson and perform live at Abbey Road Studios for A Stormzy Special, set to air on BBC One on Tuesday November 15.

The 45-minute TV special will see the 29-year-old, real name Michael Omari, candidly chat about making his third album, his rise to fame and growth both personally and professionally, the BBC said.

He also featured in a new, recently aired interview with Louis Theroux, in which he admitted having become “depressed and withdrawn” while making his debut album, Gang Signs and Prayers.

This Is What I Mean is due for release on November 25.

The full interview with Stormzy can be found online and in i-D magazine’s The Royalty Issue, number 370, Winter 2022.

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