UK grime star Stormzy has said God led him through the process of making his new album and it in turn gave him more faith.
The 29-year-old released his third studio album on Friday, This is What I Mean.
He said it gave him the artistic freedom he needed to “spread his wings and just fly”.
Speaking at a launch event for the record in central London, he said: “I think this album, for me, I found my freedom.
“I’ve always said this album, God willing, it allows me to spread my wings and just fly. That was a big thing for me, achieving my freedom.”
He added: “I think I just embraced the fact that I’m still growing as a man, as an artist. I think this whole process, I feel like everything in my life led up to getting here.”
Stormzy, who is open about his Christian faith, said the pandemic, doing a social-media break and the impacts of his previous relationships gave inspiration to songs on the album.
He said he felt that God led him through difficult times in recent years which has enabled him to not feel “heavy” on his album release days.
“I’m feeling so grateful and I’m feeling so blessed. The Heavy is the Head 2019 Stormzy was a heavy guy and I’m here and I’m light and I’m joyful and I’ve made something that I’ve never been more proud of and it just gave me so much more faith in God.”
The London rapper has also penned a letter to accompany the release of This is What I Mean, in which he addresses his critics and says all he can hope for is that the deeply personal record is given a chance whether they end up liking it or not.
“I pray you listen to this album with an open heart and if you hate it after I promise to God I’m perfectly fine with that, I’m just grateful you listened with openness.”
His only wish is that people are moved by the lyrics in some way.
He concluded: “I pray that it moves you and captures your imagination and I pray that someone, somewhere feels it.”
Stormzy recently said that having at least one person “feel” his music is an achievement.
He shared: “I’ve never been this excited for new music. I’ve never felt so proud and confident in the art I’ve made.
“And the beautiful thing about it is that it’s…all my confidence and all my pride comes from the art. It doesn’t come from who people may think I am or what I’ve achieved it’s none of that. It’s just a ‘Yo, we’ve made something really beautiful, really special’. Something that people will feel, you know what I mean?
“When people ask me what I want to achieve, I’m just like, ‘I want people to feel it’. Whether it’s one person, whether it’s 20 million people, whether it’s 200 – I don’t mind. Just, I want someone to feel it, and I have a lot of confidence in that when people hear this, they’ll feel it.”
Stormzy didn’t have any premeditated ideas about his new album before he walked in the recording studio, however, he now looks at it as a “soul” album.
He explained: “I keep calling it a soul album.
“I don’t call it a soul album in the sense like Aretha Franklin or like a genre. It’s just something that came from my soul, which sounds really cheesy, but that’s the only way I can describe it.
“People say is it a rap album, is it a grime album, is it a gospel album. I’m like, ‘Yo, it’s just feelings that came out from my soul’. Yeah, we’ve just made something that I hope touches someone else’s soul, do you know what I mean?”
(Additional reporting by Reuters.)