Stormzy interview as he goes head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in album chart battle

MUSIC NEWS we didn’t expect to see in 2022, Stormzy is battling it out with Sir Cliff Richard in an album chart battle for number one.

The beloved Croydon rapper is vying for the top spot with his third studio release, This Is What I Mean, while Sir Cliff returns with his festive collection Christmas With Cliff.

The artists dropped their latest records on Friday (November 25) and although Stormzy currently remains in the lead, it’s all to play for. Stormzy, real name Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, is no stranger to securing the summit though, having already done so with debut album Gang Signs & Prayers in 2017 and again with Heavy Is The Head in 2019.

In an incredibly candid letter on the eve of the release of his new record, he wrote: ‘I’m never tryna do what is unexpected of me or what is expected of me. ‘If I rap for seven minutes it’s because in my spirit, in that moment, I just really want to f***ing rap.

‘If I sing my heart out it’s because my soul just absolutely had to. I love music. I love, love, loveeeee music. I will rap for the rest of my life. I will sing for the rest of my life, I will make art for the rest of my life. (sic)’

Sir Cliff’s new album is his first release dedicated to the festive season in 19 years. Rather impressively, the record is currently on course to become his 47th Top 10 solo album, in a recording career that now spans over 60 years.

Sir Cliff’s previous yuletide hits, including Mistletoe And Wine, Saviour’s Day, and The Millennium Prayer, have become Christmas staples over the years. ‘This album is not just mine, it belongs to all of us involved in creating it, and I hope that we add a little something special to your Christmas season,’ he said of the release.

It remains to be seen which artist will bag the top spot… who’s your money on?

Stormzy: Making new album was therapeutic

Stormzy says making his latest album was like “having therapy”.

The 29-year-old rapper released his third studio album, ‘This Is What I Mean’, last week, and admitted it was the first time the creative process of making a record felt like a therapy session.

He said: “It felt very refreshing and it felt therapeutic.

“A lot of artists say that it felt like therapy but it’s never really felt like that for me. I don’t know why but when I’ve heard artists talk about that I’m like ‘Ah that’s interesting’.

“For me, it’s just always been something I do and something I love but it’s never felt like going in and having therapy.

“And I think this time, it did feel like that, it felt like I had to be really still and be really self-reflective.”

But Stormzy also admitted making the album was “really stressful” at times.

During a stint as a guest co-host on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 2 show, he added: “In hindsight, there were times when it was really stressful.

“So my memory of the camp, it was really beautiful, we went away, we made the album, but when I get into the intricate details of it there was a really stressful time and a time when everything was weighing quite heavy.”

Last week, Stormzy asked people to listen to his new album with an “open heart”. In a letter to accompany the release, he wrote: “I feel like I overshare, which makes me feel naked at times.

“But I do it so that you guys can understand me a bit better and to give the art that I make some context.

“People been tryna to box me in for years but I hope this chapter at least makes my biggest critic say, ‘Hey, he’s s*** but he loves music and I guess he’s gonna do whatever he likes.’ Lol.

“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. (sic)”

Author Profile

Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


Leave a Reply