ONE is a geeky telly interviewer, the other a cool rapper.
But when Stormzy met Louis Theroux for his new show, the streetwise grime artist turned out to be such a fanboy he poured his heart out to him.
In a series of interviews, Stormzy focuses on the profound repercussions of ending his relationship with Maya Jama
Heart to heart – Louis and Stormzy chat at the music star’s London pad
The chart-topper revealed all about his background, faith and how he has coped with becoming one of Britain’s biggest music stars.
In the new series of Louis Theroux Interviews, Stormzy focuses on the profound repercussions of ending his relationship with TV host Maya Jama.
He said: “My break-up, that was probably the biggest catalyst for growth as a man.
“It was like, OK, you made a mistake and you lose someone you loved, someone you cared for, someone who is special to you.
“That’s probably the biggest loss a man can have, isn’t it? Away from someone passing away, that’s the biggest loss you can have.
“The whole f***ing palaver that surrounded that situation, do you know what I mean? There were other things in terms of mistakes I’d made.
“I didn’t do what a man should do to fully appreciate love, and care for his woman.”
Stormzy, 29, and Maya, 28, started dating in 2016 when neither of them were famous but split in 2020 amid allegations he had been unfaithful.
He always denied any infidelity but admits in the documentary that he’d had to learn some hard lessons about his behaviour.
Stormzy told Louis: “Long story short, I learned that if I don’t want to feel like that again, and if I believe that God will bless me again with an amazing woman and a family and marriage and all of that kind of thing, I have to do all the necessary work to never be in that situation again.”
‘I want to get married and I want to settle’
Louis’s new series, which launches next week on BBC2, also includes interviews with other huge entertainment stars, including Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench and singer Rita Ora.
He spoke to Stormzy surrounded by the multiple Mobo and Brit awards that cover the walls of his large house in South West London, which he bought after launching his music career eight years ago.
Partners in grime – Stormzy and Louis are fans of each other
Crown prince – music star Stormzy hugs his ex before their split
But the star reveals he is renovating a second home with the aim of moving in there once he has found a woman to have children with.
Stormzy said: “I do want a family of my own and I want to get married and I want to settle.
“My idea of an amazing future is having my house and kinda running around and my missus there.
“And we’re going to eat dinner at the dinner table.”
But Stormzy, who was raised in Croydon, South London, also admits that he struggles to get a girlfriend, partly because he cannot bring himself to sign up for any dating app.
He fears the baggage of fame might put women off or, worse still, attract a partner who loves the limelight more than him.
He said: “The idea of meeting a girl and then just going to get some food — that’s alarm bells.
“Any time I’ve had a date we’ve got to go through a back door at the restaurant, otherwise people are going to blow up the poor girl’s life.
“People in the restaurant will want to try to film and I always say: The people I’m with, they don’t want that.
“I’m still trying to work out the solution. I’ll just wait for God to present me with my situation with my woman. I’m all out of ideas.”
The urban music star went mainstream at Glastonbury in 2019
The urban music star established himself as a mainstream artist with a memorable performance at Glastonbury in the summer of 2019, wearing a bulletproof vest decorated with a Union Flag artwork designed by Banksy.
Then, in December of that year, he released his chart-topping second album Heavy Is The Head, which included No1 singles Vossi Bop and Own It.
In the documentary, self-confessed fan Louis, 52, meets Stormzy at a gig during his UK tour — and is surprised to find the rapper is just as starstruck by his interviewer.
They instantly hit it off, and Louis attempts to rap, sing and even dance like Stormzy — real name Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr.
He even refers to him as Mike through much of their chat.
The platinum-selling star tells Louis the challenge of getting through lockdown also helped with his personal growth.
But the pressures of fame would often reduce him to tears and contributed to him keeping a lower profile over the past two years.
Stormzy’s deeply religious mum appeared in one of his music videos
Louis reveals a very different side to his new friend, attending Christian worship sessions with him where he meets his deeply religious sister and mother.
Stormzy sings along with the congregation and reveals he regularly holds Bible reading sessions at his home.
His mum Abigail says he was always a precocious child and describes her son, who was conceived while she was on the Pill, as a “miracle”.
Stormzy clearly adores her, partly because she raised him as a single parent when his father left their family and started another one.
‘Friends I grew up with wouldn’t recognise me’
He admits to his long-standing resentment towards his dad, particularly when he came back into his life after his son’s success and asked for money.
But as a Christian, Stormzy admits he is now willing to forgive his father and wants to reconnect with him.
He says: “It’s very right that I hold this pain because of what he’s done, with him not being there.
“He’s a flawed man. His mistake was a big one. But I know he’s really sorry and he’s reached out through my mother and my sisters.
“I am going to speak to him — I now have the power to say, ‘I forgive you.’ ”
Stormzy also discusses his youth in South London, where he began rapping at the age of 11.
He explains: “I’ve been stabbed a few times — to some people that’s going to be horrifying. I went to hospital.”
He recalls the time he ended up in court charged with possession of a weapon, although he didn’t go to jail and managed to turn his life around, largely through his music.
He said: “I got friends who went way, way deeper. You go on that journey and it can lead you anywhere.
“It is a random box of prison, death, becoming an entrepreneur. You learned to be streetwise and you applied that — becoming a musician, or becoming a footballer.
“But of course the most likely one is harmed, dead or in jail.”
Asked by Louis if any of his friends died as a result of knife crime, he said: “Loads. It becomes normal. Do you know what I mean?
“It’s one of the things that happens — people pass away or get harmed.
“We didn’t always realise it then, but we realise it now as grown men — people lose their mental health badly.
“I have friends I grew up with who, if they saw me today, wouldn’t recognise me because they have serious mental health issues.
“It could be trauma, or sometimes they get involved in the drugs that they sell.”
Stormzy recalled how he started to change his world view as a result of working in an oil refinery, where he met people who came from different backgrounds.
He said: “I applied for this apprenticeship. I had to go to Leamington Spa and I was living with 17 other kids.
“They were all white kids — they were all from Scotland, Yorkshire, Newcastle. I had no idea about banter and all that and not taking myself seriously.
“I came out of that and I knew how to crack a joke and I knew how to take a joke. I didn’t take myself seriously.
“It helped me see people and see life and see there was a culture outside of my culture.
“It’s always enlightening for anyone to come out of where they’re from and see the world.
“And for me the world was just an hour and a half up the road.”
But the rapper realises that he has to be wary when he discusses the circumstances of those who have different lifestyles to the one he leads now.
He said: “I’m always careful when I speak about it ’cos things are easy to discuss in the suburbs on my sofa — it’s people’s lives and people’s realities.”
- Louis Theroux Interviews Stormzy is on BBC2 on Monday at 9.15pm.