Professor Green: How To Overcome Life’s Hardest Challenges & Find A Purpose | E80 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Professor Green: How To Overcome Life’s Hardest Challenges & Find A Purpose | E80".


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Intro (00:00)

To say that Professor Green has faced and overcome adversity in his life is such a gross understatement. He's self aware, he's honest, he's critical of himself where he feels he needs to be. I've got to do some work on myself and things need to change. So as you push things down, they come each sideways. I can't keep projecting my problems onto other people and blaming them. You know what, if I ever see you again when I knock you out and people are like, wow, do you wish you could go back in time and change all your last words to him work? No, of course not, because that angle was just, it was that constant, it was him being and in my life, him being such a kind, generous, gorgeous man, but being such a shit father. I felt like he was threatening me and I felt like I was right to stand my ground. I didn't expect that five minutes after that, he'd walk up behind me and put a bronch on bottle in my neck. I got my phone, I called my name and I just apologized for all the works she'd put into me that this was how it was going to end. To say that Professor Green, aka Stephen Manderson, has faced and overcome adversity in his life is such a gross understatement. There's moments in this podcast today where you realize how unfortunate his life has been at certain moments and how much of a seemingly unfair start he had, that it almost doesn't seem like it can be true. And we know Professor Green, we know his music, I grew up listening to Professor Green's music. We know his documentaries more recently and how inspiring and vulnerable those documentaries have been and most of us will know about the tragedy that met him in his early years when his dad decided to commit suicide. But it's interesting to see how all of these events came to shape this man, a man that is empathetic, a man that refuses to be bitter, and a man that has overcome and thrived despite all of this. Professor Green is a remarkable person. He's a remarkable guy, he's self-aware, he's honest, he's critical of himself where he feels he needs to be. And because of that and because of the content, the documentaries and the music he's made, he's one of my sincere inspirations, especially as it relates to mental health and the change that he's been able to make in the conversation. This is an honest conversation today and it's one that I think everybody should and needs to hear, especially men, especially in the world we live in. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Diaries CEO. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. I do a lot of research on you and I've listened to podcasts you've done and I've read parts from the book that you authored and I wanna know from your perspective what you think the most pivotal moments were from your early years that came to shape the man that you became later in your life.

Life Journey And Personal Struggles

Most pivotal moments from your early years (02:45)

- Wow, let's start with a big one. - Yeah, we went straight into the game. - Straight into the small talk too. - It would be really easy to draw from some of the more dramatic events, I think, because they're the more obvious and they're highlighted quite often, they come up in conversation all the time, but I think, I don't think there are specific moments. In the same way, I think the worst traumas that I actually endured weren't any single moments. They were cumulative, they were things that happened over time. I think it was probably more a case of my, or what shaped me being cumulative as well. It was the time that I spent with my great grandmother. I was sort of a six of us in the flat when I was born. There was me, my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and my two uncles. So my nan's three kids. My mum was the first person to leave a house when I was a year old. She was a consistent, she was there consistently throughout my life, but my nan was my legal guardian when I was about a time I was three. And at a point when my nan could have started a new life for herself, she took on the responsibility of her mum and her grandson. But it was amazing because, you know, apart from the ancestral shit. - What's ancestral shit? - Sorry? - What's the ancestral shit? - Yeah, well, just, you know, you think, like my great grandmother went through two world wars, whatever relationship she had been through, the relationship that she had with my grandmother, all the problems that they had as a mother and daughter, the problems that my nan had with my mother, the problems that my mother had with my grandmother. - What were those problems? - I couldn't tell you because they weren't my problems, but they existed and I was aware because there were arguments and there was stress and there was shouting and there were financial problems and struggles and there was robbing Peter to pay Paul, maybe he had shuffled off into a room when, you know, money lender had come round to, you know, pick up money and conversations and I wasn't supposed to be privy to, but in a three bedroom flat it was about as big as the room that we're sitting in, it was quite difficult to avoid being aware of these things. But there was a lot of good, people always go, "It must be really tough growing up "in Hackney," but I didn't have, I didn't know anything, I didn't know any different, you know, it wasn't like I grew up in Wiltshire until I was 13 and then it was just, Ed, if they didn't drop off in Hackney and told to survive, you know, it was all I knew. But in hindsight, there was a lot that wasn't mine to take on, but that I absorbed, that stress and that anxiety definitely seeped into me and I was a very anxious child. I was always, "Nah, I got a tummy ache." But at the same time I was really fortunate because when people talk about, you know, kids who aren't brought up by eight or both parents, they normally miss out on the nurturing that I definitely didn't, because my great grandmother was always at home, she hardly left the house, not least of all because of her age. And that time I got to spend with her is probably what made the larger part of what good is in me or encouraged the good in me, you know, I would run out into the living room, which was where she slept on a chair that folded out every morning when that weird holding screen was on the BBC with a little girl holding that puppet with that. Which in hindsight, it's quite scary. - You're really weird. - Weird. But before the cartoons would come on and, you know, she would read to me, I always remember her blue blanket that I'd jump underneath. And she taught me to read well ahead of my years, you know, basic numeracy and stuff. When I went to school, I was ahead of most kids because of that time spent when my great grandmother and I enjoyed learning. So I saw validation in the right places rather than throwing tantrums at school, like a lot of people did because they weren't getting attention. You know, in single parent homes, parents have a tough decision to make, do I go out and work and lose out on the time of my child, but be able to provide or do I lose out on the money that I would make, which would make supporting a child easier. You know, that's a conundrum. That's a really difficult situation to be in. I was really fortunate. I didn't lose out on that. And I think it's that that's what shaped me. You know, it wasn't any of any single event, really. It was that period of time. - And you said your mum was the first to leave the house? - Yeah. So my mum was 16 when she had me. - Oh, wow. - Yeah. My dad was 18, they were separated very quickly. And my mum had a lot of growing to do. I'm more than twice her age and I've just become a father. I can't imagine, you know, being a parent or having tried to have been a parent when I was 16. - You don't know. - Yeah. - 16. - Yeah, man. - It's such a crazy age to... - Well, you're a baby yourself aren't you? It's 16, it's like... - Very much so, yeah. - And what was your relationship like with your mum from that point onwards? - So me and my mum, we've had an on and off relationship in the latter years of my life. I don't talk about it too much. There's loads of stuff about how they're about my relationship or lack thereof of my dad because of how his life ended. But, you know, I always, I was brought up to not air dirty laundry. And my mum did try. She did, you know, and like I say, she was a much more... She was a much more consistent part of my life than my dad was, you know, she made the effort. - Has it taken you some time to get to the point where you can be compassionate about your experiences with her? - I think it's taken me some time to get to the point where I can be compassionate about my experiences with everyone that I was involved with growing up. And I think I got to that place quite a while ago. And it's quite liberating, man. It's quite freeing because that, I think holding on to anger, you know, it becomes resentment and that leads to bitterness and bitters not something I'm interested in being. I think a lot of people, you know, end up quite bitter and jaded quite early on and that determines the rest of their lives. And I used to be quite scared to even say the words, "I'm happy because I would worry about what was round, the corners that I couldn't see round. Now, I'm never going to develop the power to see round corners. And worrying about what's out of your control and preempting things that may or may not happen. It is not the healthiest way to live. It's not great for your mental health. It's not great for the quality of life that you have because if you're constantly worrying, you know, I can enjoy a lot of what, or be happy about a lot of the things that I've achieved with hindsight. But actually, when I was going through the early years of my, of the successful part of my music career, there was a lot of things that I didn't enjoy in the moment as much as I should because I was worried about dropping the ball because I experienced loss quite early on and come from quite a disadvantage background and I wasn't used to a lot of the things that I was starting to encounter. I was scared of loss and of losing it and of dropping the ball. You know, it's why I didn't take holidays. I would attach a few days here and there on to work. But I felt I was scared to enjoy myself or to let go of that kind of must incessant need to keep working because I was worried about losing it. But I wasn't enjoying what I had. So did I ever really have it? And it took me a while to get to a point where, you know, I'm in a place where I enjoy things as they happen and life is a lot more pleasant because I don't spend my time catastrophizing about what may or may not happen. Not least of all because I've survived things, you know, and I know that shit does hit the fan and things do happen. It's quite likely that I'm going to get through them so I can worry about them happening and ruin my life day by day because all I do is worry about what may or may not happen, which is also distracting and doesn't allow me then to focus on the things that are in front of me and that are important, which will build a happier, a steadier and more consistent life for me. Or I can deal with things as they come knowing that I have the strength and the resilience in myself to handle things. And it's taken me a while to get to that point. It's taken some therapy as well. But it's kind of, it's it, you know, I feel quite calm and relaxed in saying right now that I am happy and I feel quite secure in that I can handle what may or may not come my way. - Talk about worry then. You referenced earlier, you'd say to your, I think you're a nan, that you had a pain in your belly. - Yeah. - And I guess you didn't really know what that was when you were younger. - Nope. - What did you come to learn about that pain in your belly? - It was anxiety, it was a night in my stomach. The problem was I was born with a problem in my digestive tract. I had called, I don't know if it was a procedure that was called pyloric stenosis or the condition, but stenosis is narrowing. And my stomach basically, your, pylomus or at the bottom of your stomach should open and close to let food pass, but mine was just closed. So at six weeks old I had an operation which has left me with a scarlet go from there to there. So whenever I said, "Nah, I've got a bellyache, I've got a tummy ache," it was straight to the doctors. And that then meant that I would go to the hospital and have cameras up me, down me, be put into machines to be scanned to make sure there wasn't something physically wrong, which there wasn't, it was psychological. I was diagnosed with IBS really early on and that still quite misunderstood, is it something psychological that manifests physically or is it physical and causes mental problems? And I think that really highlights the intrinsic link between the gut and the brain. And it, again, I guess that's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. - Never really considered that before, never really ever considered that there might be a link between the two. And with IBS especially, it's something that I've become increasingly curious about because as I said to you before we start recording, I've definitely got a problem with my gut. I just haven't figured out quite yet what it is. Going back to your sort of your formative years, was there anything else through that period that would shape the man you became that you can really think of between the age of life, I don't know, zero and 16, like school life and stuff like that? - Yeah, so I was quite a bright kid and you're so surprised. - Yeah, most people I sit here don't seem to be, especially people that come from that kind of background, don't tend to be that academic, best and genius teams to come from other creative sources or they're like, yes, they had a Russell Kane here, he's just like a comedic genius and then became a bit more academic when he left school. But yeah. - I've kind of, I guess as I've kind of gone full circle with that, I have to use the academic part of my brain and what I do now more than I have done for the last 10 years during making music. But that wasn't really harnessed, it wasn't education wasn't big in my family, I know I'm going to be into university, so me being as bright as I was, I wasn't pushed as hard as I should have been because my man's empathized with my situation, my dad being in and out of my life, me being a very sensitive child, my mum not bringing me up and that all quite clearly affecting me. My only problem at school was ever, the only problem I ever had at school was my attendance. And I went from leaving primary school with the opportunity to sit the exam for St. Paul's to the age of 11, to a pupil or four unit by the time I was 13. - Because of attendance? - Yeah, because of attendance and by that point, at 13, I didn't really join the dots or draw a parallel between the two things happening but my great grandmother passed when I was 13. And that was very, very difficult for me because she was the person who, if she said to me that everything was gonna be alright, she was the one person I believed up until that point when I realized that sometimes it isn't. And some of her last words to me when we were in the ambulance on the way to the hospital were, "I can't fight forever." And I knew at that point that was her saying, "Hey, I've had my innings." And she was 90, she had a good innings, two world wars, one world cup. - I can't fight forever. - Yeah. - What was she, what was the context of her saying that to you? - I believe that was her saying that she had made her peace. You know, she had, you know, she lived with arthritis, diabetes, we made a good stop though, you know, to go through what she went through, a metal plate and her legs, she got run over when she was 19. I believe she was, and this is only stuff I've started to find out recently. She was placed on a doorstep when she was a baby and she was brought up in foster care. Her sister wasn't, I didn't even know she had a sister until recently. And then we talk about ancestral shit, you can see where these things start to, you can see where these things start and come from and you know, the issues that abandonment and detachment cause, they're more than just social issues, they impact development. I can just see how a lot of my family experienced a lot of trauma early on, from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to my dad. They all had pretty difficult childhoods. My dad ended up in care because he was the six of six children and his mum walked out. So he was in care for the first few years of his life. He was also born a twin, his twin died at birth. My name's sake, my uncle who I never met, Stephen died when he was 19, went into a diabetic coma and passed away two years before my dad took his own life, his brother took his own life in the same way in the year in between that of them two taking their own lives. He lost his sister to a cancer that he was the last possible donor for and he wasn't suitable. There's trauma's been pretty constant throughout, almost all of my elders. Quick one, starting from the minute the lockdown is lifted, we're gonna start bringing in some of our subscribers to watch how this podcast is produced behind the scenes. Means you get to meet the guests, meet myself and see how we put all of this together. If you want that to be you, all you've gotta do, hit the subscribe button. When you think about all that's happened in your sort of generational cycles and with your elders, and this is me just thinking, like had I been through that, I think I'd be overly conscious about how I, maybe unconsciously, can work to make sure that, you know, you've just had a boy, right? Can make sure that it like stops with me, right? Like, you know what I mean, as much, 'cause yeah, I mean, I see it in my own family. I see that there's parts of my parents that I've become that I don't love, you know? And I don't, and I, do you know what? And my parents were actually really un-affectionate, relatively un-affectionate, and quite vacant, I still call them by their first names, and I find it really awkward to call them mum and dad. Like, I've never in 27 years looked at my mum or dad and called them mum or dad ever, not once ever, never. - Crazy. - And even like, I'm not close to them at all, and I'm terrified by the prospect that when I have my kid, same thing will happen. So that's what I want to ask is like, I would be like, what are you, what's your thinking and your like concerns when you think about your child and making sure those generational cycles end with you? - My concerns, I mean, my concern that around that, to be like 100% honest, that there aren't any. Had I've had a child years before now, I think there would have been many, but I've done a hell of a lot of work on trying to understand myself, trying to, it's weird, right? You spend so much time learning, and then you get to a point where you're like, now I've got to unlearn all of this shit, because if you're fortunate enough to be smart enough to be able to take a long, hard look at yourself and yourself aware, which is painful at times, but then you can put your hands up and you can own your behaviours, and you can take responsibility for your choices and your decisions, and you go through relationships, and I found that points I was finding the same person in a different body. And then the same problems occur in the relationship, but what's the common thread throughout that narrative? I am the common denominator, so I can't keep projecting my problems onto other people and blaming them for just being themselves. I've got to do some work on myself here, things need to change, and well, one thing needs to change. Me, how do I do that? I have to understand myself better, I have to understand my behaviours, I have to understand my insecurity. It's hard to do. It is because it's the most, it's that kind of, I've never had this anxiety dream, I've only ever had the one where I can't stop pulling teeth out of my mouth, and even in a dream going, "Okay, I know I don't have that many teeth, "but they're still coming out." But it's that whole kind of wall of a sudden, you're naked in front of your entire school. If you're going to go and see a therapist, you have to go in and be honest, you can't lie to a therapist, otherwise it won't work. And so you have to explore your deeper, most darkest and frightening insecurities in order to understand why certain, why you have certain behaviours, why you respond so defensively in situations, what makes you insecure? - So that process of unlearning, or this that you have to unlearn, and like turning the lights on, I guess, that started with therapy.

Becoming self-aware - getting older (21:07)

- I think it started before therapy, I don't think it, I wasn't ready for therapy until I started to do some of that work myself. I think, like you, similarly, I have grown up with a mindset that I can do everything on my own, which is, it's, it, it, it, it, it, I mean, it's definitely helped me achieve a hell of a lot, but it also has put distance between me and people that it shouldn't have, and it's also made it hard for me to develop lasting relationships in, at points in my life, some which, you know, I look back on and think I could have, I could have done better, I could have been better. - What were the key things you had to unlearn through that process though, about yourself? - Mine was mainly defensiveness. - Really? - Defensiveness, and I kind of want to, I guess the attendance thing is, that, that played out throughout my life, I found it very, very difficult to finish things. You know, so I would always have ideas, I would always begin things, I would get to a point where that sort of, you know, I didn't have my, my nan as, she wasn't as present a figure as for me to be able to just go, "Nah, I've got a tummy ache, but I would still get that feeling, which would make me want to withdraw, and would make things harder." Despite that, I've managed to kind of use that same energy, and this is why I think, you know, stress is, comes down to perspective, 'cause work can be stressed or work can just be work, right? It depends on your perception of it. And so my anxiety can be anxiety, or it can be nervous, energy. And energy is what you need to get shit done. And I've done a lot of work around mental health, not least of all because of my encounters with my own problems, but also what first made me aware of even the phrase, mental health was that my father took his own life. And that work kind of, I think around the conversation of mental health, and encouraging people to be more open and honest with their sensitivities, and you should be open to everyone, be smart enough to be open to the people that you can trust, because if you're open to everyone, that you're opening yourself up to be taken advantage of. But the word, the one thing that goes missing in that conversation all too often is resilience. Resilience is incredibly important, and I think the only time that you can learn or become resilient without going through trauma and surviving it is therapy when you're not at a point of crisis. So that's why I was saying I had to do some of the work on my own for me to be able to go to therapy and then be able to grow through that. Because if you just go to therapy when you're at a point of crisis, it's like waiting until you get sick to go to a doctor. I try now to take a more proactive approach to my own health. And that's not just my physical wellbeing, that's my mental wellbeing. Ultimately, they should be one in the same. It's just health. But I think we have a very reactive nature to most things in Western culture. We're not encouraged to be proactive. And we also probably have a full sense of optimism about how life will unfold. We think it'll all be OK, our health will be fine. We think we'll never really get old because it creeps up on you. So it's crept up on me. I'm saying, yeah, you just... And I looked in the mood of the day, I saw grey hair, so I was like, what the fuck is going on here? I love it, though. You don't want to make me laugh, right? People always moan about getting older. And I'm just... I can be quite simple in matter of fact about things. And it's just like, well, OK, the alternative is you die. Right. That's the only way you stop getting older is you die. I can't get younger. So what unless you buy a hacking and trying to lengthen your telomeres? But I just think growing old is grey. Growing older is grey. If you can do it with... I don't know, with... I guess not just with good intention. I've always had good intentions, but I've made a lot of bad decisions. I think growing older once you get to a point where you feel happy and comfortable in your skin is... It makes it easier. I'm not stressed about getting older because I'm really happy with who I'm becoming. That's exactly it. That's exactly it. This sounds like a fucking weirding cell, so don't care. But when I looked in the mood of the day and I saw grey hairs, it's funny because the most comforting thought that I had was like... But I'm happy. And like, you know, it's a strange thing. It's like, I'm getting older, yeah. But I'm happy and I'm doing myself justice. What I mean by doing myself justice is like, I'm living my life. Yeah. I'm like being myself. Yeah. And so I'm happy to get, you know, the worst possible scenario would be, I look in the mirror, I see grey hairs and I've been working at fucking KPMG because my mum said that was success. And I'm like, I'm on my way to a midlife crisis. I'm not being myself. I've not pursued my dreams. It sort of feels like the clock is ticking. But when I look in the mirror, because I feel like I'm living my true self, I'm like, cool. Every time I get, you know, they add another number to my age, I'm like, cool. Ultimately, I'm like, cool, because it's... Because I'm living my, you know? And that's why this topic is a very interesting thing to say. But it's also one of the things that's made me not fear death, like I used to. Yeah, it's to be scared of death. Yeah, because I guess it's getting to the point of your life where you feel as though. And I do wonder if this played a part in what my dad did, getting to a point in life where you think you can't start over. I'm too old to make the decisions that I wish I made. And it makes me, it's given me more... I guess more... Can they come if it's the wrong word? But like, I've always been quite happy to fall on a sword as long as it's my own. Yeah, yeah. And I'm always more scared about having... And look, I've worked 10 years speculatively, you know, as far as music. You know, from 18 to 28, it was 28 when I first sold a record. I had people around me going, "Come on, bro, man, you've got to find something else to do." And I just don't know if there was like a bit of self-belief buried beneath all of the insecurities that kept me going, or if it was just blind, stupidity, or a combination of the two. But I kept going because I wanted it so badly. And I loved it. You loved it. I loved it. I really, really loved it. There was nothing in my life at that point that made me shake my hands, like, right in a good lyric. And that type of excitement, when you nail something, you know, you're walking around the room, try and get that last line of something, and then you get it. And you're like, "Mm-hmm." That feeling is not something that I get from, you know, many aspects of my life. And so I continued. And I think it's something that's... It's not the easiest thing to do, is it, when you've got... Especially if you're from a disadvantaged background, because you don't have a fallback or a plan B or a grandparent, not a dying leave you inherit. And so as you said, you don't have that security. But at the same time, you know, I know a lot of people with that security who don't push for anything. And every time I talk to them, they've got a different idea and a different business venture, but they execute and achieve nothing. Because they don't have to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So... Yeah. Yeah. I think there's two sides to that coin. You know, if you grow up entirely comfortable, do you ever want to push that hard to get to where you want to get to? It's interesting, isn't it? Because that hunger of not having it is also an advantage, as is the privilege of having it. I spend a lot of time talking about Heal on this podcast, because they're the sponsor of the podcast. And I'm also on the board at Heal. I'm also an investor in the company. But I've made a transition recently, not a transition. I'd say an addition to my Heal diet. I've been drinking the RTD, they're ready to drink heals for a long time now. But there's summer approaches. And as my goals, my fitness and my health goals have started to shift a little bit, I've become obsessed with Heal's Black Edition, specifically the vanilla flavour. The difference with the Black Edition is there's 50% less carbs, there's 33% more protein in it, zero artificial sweeteners, and it's naturally gluten-free. So if you're looking to lean up, dare I say, for summer, then try the Black Edition vanilla flavour. It's really, really helped me lean up. And I always take my top off on this podcast to prove to you. I'm not going to do that today. But I take my word for it. It's had such a radical impact on the amount of carbs and visible fats that you can see on me. Highly, highly recommend trying Black Edition vanilla flavour, if you've got goals to lean up for summer, to consume less carbs, and to get more protein. You mentioned your dad there.

Your dads suicide - mental health (29:47)

And I watched the documentary you made, where you, I think there was two separate documentaries that I saw about the topic, and you went on the journey of understanding him, the life he lived, and why he made the choices he ultimately did. Can you tell me what you learned through that process? Yeah, quite concisely as well at the point I'm at now, and it's that I think the difference between someone who will take their own life and someone who won't is the ability to tolerate how you feel at any given time. And I've had moments where I wanted to scratch my skin off, but I've never contemplated suicide. You know, I've never suffered suicidal ideation. There's a big difference between those. And also, I think, you know, there's something that's quite scary, is the hyper-awareness that people have now around everything. Everything has a tank, everything has a name, everything is a condition. And I think we're getting to a point now where you need awareness before understanding and awareness, understanding action. To me, that's the train of things, whether it's, you know, let's keep the depression. Like, I think now there's a conversation around it, but how much is being actioned? Not enough yet. But I do think it comes down to being able to tolerate how you feel. Because I've, in my very lowest lows, I've come out by carrying on. And my dad got to a point where he couldn't, and there wasn't the support around him to help him in those moments. And sometimes I think even if the support is there, that choice is that person's. It just seems so unthinkable to just... But be lucky for that. Yeah. You know, you're right. I've just spent the longest amount of... So when I first started hearing about mental health, which is probably about 10 years ago, when I was about, I don't know, 16, 18, maybe the term started to emerge and ask us. Yeah, it wasn't. He's mental. She's mental. Yeah, it was. You were crazy or whatever. Yeah. And then it, thankfully, it's the stigma is slightly, it's changed over time. And I just have always struggled to... To understand, and this is why it's almost become strange, to say, but a bit of an obsession of mine, to understand the position someone must be in, to believe that, to feel that, that is a better outcome for them. It's just... And this is why it was so powerful watching your documentary, because, you know, even when you were doing a role play with the guy in the chair, and you were being the friend, and the guy was sat in the chair, he was the... You went to the clinic where they help people who have... Her having suicidal ideation. Yeah. And just even in the role play session, I was like, "Oh, God, this is unthinkable. "It's just something that I think someone who has had the privilege "of good mental health will always struggle to understand." And that's a problem, because if you can't empathize with it properly, we can't... I don't think address it properly. You can empathize without understanding. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. You know? And I think we all, too often, we want to fix things. Soon someone says, "They're sad." You're like, "Come on, cheer up. That's not helpful." That's what I mean. Yeah. I'm like, "Okay, be upset. Let's go through this." You have to kind of go through the upset, rather than trying to suppress it, because you push things down, they come at you sideways. Yeah. Um... It's... I think, you know, when my dad took his own life, one of the first things I wanted to do was understand how he was capable of doing that, and I quite quickly realised, the only way I will ever understand how he was able to do it is if I'm in that situation, which I'm never going to be. Yeah. So I let that go quite quickly. Um... And I don't think it's a good idea to try and... I mean, unless you're studying psychology, and understanding the workings of the mind, which would allow you to empathise, I don't think it's good to try and understand. You know, if something seems irrational, or forgive me for using this word, "crazy" to you, you will drive yourself mad trying to understand it, because they are not the workings of your mind. Yeah. And that's not healthy either. Yeah. But, you know, just going back to the hype for awareness thing, I think people will find themselves in situations where they will call themselves depressed when actually they've had something traumatic happen, or something sad happen, you know. Something sad happens in your cat thighs, and you don't want to get out of bed for two days. That's not depression. You're upset. You're dealing with grief and loss. That's normal. You know, if nothing has happened in your life, that's traumatic, and everything seems great, but you feel horrendous, you know, or you can't feel anything, then that's something to be addressed. I think we need to be careful of everyone diagnosed, or not everyone, but people starting to diagnose themselves with conditions that they perhaps don't have. I think that's the danger in everything having to have a tag now, and everything needing a name, and, you know, everyone needing to be being put in a box. Yeah. And then the way that we treat people in those scenarios, when we've misdiagnosed them, or too quickly diagnosed them, is also unhelpful, right? I've spent the last six months working pretty much full time at a mental health company in London, called TIE, and they're a psychedelics company. They're probably the biggest in Europe. Then one of the things that came to learn from working there, they're the biggest in the world, sorry, not in Europe. One thing I came from working there, but also from reading one of my favorite books, which is up there called Lost Connections by Johanna Harry, was I used to think growing up that, because this is what I was told, depression was a chemical imbalance in the brain because something was broken. And no one ever told me that trauma, or what happened to you, can cause depression. So I just, you know, you'd think, okay, well, and that makes you also almost blame the victim more so than saying, like, if it's like what's wrong with you, then it's like, it's kind of, you know, you're broken. But if it's what's happened to you, it's a much more empathetic approach. And also appreciates, you know, and that was the big shift that I've experienced in the last, like, three years, was I used to think everything was just chemical imbalance broken. Yeah. You know? And then what comes with that is often how do you fix the chemical imbalance with chemicals? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And the best prescription in the beginning, listen, there are some people that will always need medical intervention. And it does help? Yes. It helps some people. It does. But I also think that, you know, saying as you are what you eat, you can eat yourself into depression, you know? And all of those things, they kind of become part of self-perpetuating cycle. If I feel like shit, I don't move as much. And then I'll make bad decisions with food, and then I feel wild. Yeah, God, that's such a good, so true. But it does, and especially during this time, when people aren't as active as they were, they're not engaging socially as they would have otherwise, you know, the sales of alcohol went through the roof. Alcohols are depressing. The more you drink, the lower you are, you're, you know, all of these contributing factors that can contribute to negative mental health, you know, and can negatively impact your mental well-being. And a great prescription sometimes is, is, you know, eating better, going for a walk. You know, exercise doesn't have to be a 45-minute hit class that leaves you wanting to not get out of bed for two days, because that's you putting your body through another stress. On top of all distress, you're already going through. But just, you know, movement, eating well, good conversation. Something I've found quite difficult, but has become more apparent, is my need to move away from certain people, because they aren't moving in the same direction as me. And they encourage certain things that hinder my growth, and stop me moving forward. My life has changed, and I found that very hard. And you, you know, when you talk about grief, you instantly think someone's died, but you can grieve parts of your life. You know, parts of saying goodbye to certain things, certain people in my life, has felt like the same loss as, you know, when I've actually lost someone who's passed away. But you have to do those things in order to grow and to get where you want to be. And it's, it sounds selfish, that selfish has so many negative connotations attached to it. But I think, you know, selfishness, not the detriment of others, and selflessness, not the detriment of yourself, is good. Because how else do you, like, you're no good to anyone, if you're no good to yourself. And that was a huge, huge learning curve for me. And one that I found really, really difficult to execute, to start making decisions based upon what was right for me. Because I felt obliged. To be here for that person. And then doing the same things as those people. And it wasn't helped, you know what I mean? And it wasn't helping me. It took me back to this time. I met this monk, world famous monk. I said, is it bad that I'm focusing on building my business and making money right now? Is that like a selfish thing for me to be doing when I could be off in Africa helping kids? And his response to me was on stage. He goes, "You have to fill up your own bottles so you can pour it out for other people." And I always remember him saying that. Because you know what the crazy thing is? When I was 18, I sat in my mausage in this room. And I sat there thinking, Steve, you're making a wrong life decision. Because you know you've got a brain. And you know you can affect change. And the fact that you're trying to build this business and not in Africa, saving even just one life, means that you're being terribly selfish. And the way that I rationalized myself out of that state of mind, which was like stopping what I'm doing and flying to Africa, was this belief that if I was to be successful, I would be able to help more people one day. And it's kind of relinks to what you said there about like selfishness in many cases is actually selflessness. Yeah, especially if you find yourself in a position later on where you can you know you can affect change for the better on a much grander level. You know you have a much bigger stage now. I like it. So I love a lot of the stuff that you say. Most of the stuff that you say. And I generally don't like motivational speakers, but I find when you speak it's motivational, which is quite different. Yeah, and it's weird because I don't, I really don't endeavour to be motivational. It's like most of the time I am in the gym and I write something on the notes of my phone and it ends up on the internet. So it's like I am not trying to be. And also I'm not like. But that's why it works. You know, that's why it works. And it's like whenever I did my documentaries, I didn't try and tell anyone else's story. I was just catalyst for them to speak. Exactly. And it's your truth. Yeah. And it's my opinions, which were formed during the process of the filming. I didn't go into it with, and if I went into it, sorry, if I went into them with any idea, it was often changed and my opinion was shaped throughout the course of the documentary. I think all too often people think that by instructing people or telling them how they should live their lives, they're going to impact change. And I don't think that's the best way to engage people. I think people switch off. And I think the way in which you communicate is brilliant because you put stuff out there and people can take to it if they connect with it. And I think because of that, they do, because it's natural and it's organic and it's not forced. And I think that's really, really important. And I think, you know, you talk about, I don't think you have to go to Africa in order to impact change, because people will be inspired by watching what you do and are able to achieve. And that in itself, you almost don't have to, you know, you can just do that you will inspire. Yeah. This is a crazy thing. And you know, the thing we have in our society today with young people especially is they all want to change the world. And they think, and genuinely, I get this all the time, I'll be on stage somewhere. And a kid will come up to me, that looks like me, like a young black kid. And he'll be like, I want to be a motivational speaker. How do I do? And I know what the right answer is, because I know, I look at this kid, or, you know, whether it's someone in my Instagram DMs that wants to change the world, because they think, I think the way I've rationalized it is they want to change, they don't want to change the world, right? They want to be seen as someone that changed the world, because of the admiration that they believe they'll get from that, because of the admiration that they saw me getting. So in fact, they're not connected to the right thing. No, they're seeking validation. Exactly. If they wanted to change the world, if that was their objective, they'd actually just be in a lab somewhere working on cancer, for example. They wouldn't be trying to get on the stage, right? But like you ending up on stage is a product of the work you've done. You never worked to get onto that stage. Never thought about it. It was a byproduct of working on myself. And that's exactly, yeah, thank you actually, because I'd lost my train of thought there, and you just picked it back up. That was what I'm saying. I was like, I got on stage because I was focused on something else, right? And the way that people go on to change the world, I think is because they work on themselves, they fix themselves. So that kid, my advice property, and probably would be like, go and like pursue your passions. And in fact, all of my idols are on stage, because they didn't copy anybody else. They thought they could make pocket computers, and that black was equal to white in terms of racial relations, Martin Luther King. And they pursued their own thoughts and their own feelings. They didn't replicate people. But then we live in an age where people live almost comparatively. Of course, yeah. And it's just a shame. I mean, it's such a shame. We have this incredible thing called the internet, where we can communicate with people in any corner of the world, get one take. We use it to post-face tune pictures. We don't. Oh, God, yeah. But, you know, there's a brilliant tool there. And when Harness then used correctly, it can bring about good things. And it's like anything, you know? Like I was eating McDonald's in bed last night. Uh-oh. I didn't see it on your Instagram. Really? It is on my Instagram. Actually. I was complaining about the absence of fries in my large fries. You're joking. It's on my Instagram story. Last night. Yep, last night. I was like, let's avoid the fact that I'm eating McDonald's in bed and talk about where the rest of my fries are. I was devastated. Why would a large fries if you're going to get delivered? It's more fries than it's always to grab. And then the next one's about gut health. Balance, bro. That's great. Balance is really, I think balance is key. And I think all too often, like, especially with, and kind of moving into this sector now, anything that involves nutrition or supplementing or fucking hate #wellnessworldman. I miss the one, thankfully. It just, like, that kind of, the softness of that and the approach to life that just having a green juice is going to correct everything. It's going to save the world. It's going to save you like, fuck off. Do you know, it's the wrong approach to everything. And I think everything is to, it becomes quite divisive. You know, I believe in wellness, therefore, I'm not going to indulge in any of the things which I used to find fun, because now I'm going to take care of myself. Me taking care of myself involves me having a blowout once in a while with my friends and suffering the hangover that comes with it to remind myself why I don't do it all the time. And the waste of time afterwards, because I can't function as, you know, as highly as I would normally, you know. But I just think there has to be a balance truck. It's all too often people write. If you want to, you know, don't just cut back on me. You have to be vegan. You know, there's so much instruction out there. Whereas... And it's so contradictory as well. So much, so much it is, man. And it's like, you know, you've got vegans who will, you know, I mean, is cocaine vegan? How many vegans do it? How many vegans that go out on a Friday or when we could go out on a Friday night and we'll do cocaine? And you know, there's not a grammar cocaine. If it actually has cocaine in it, it doesn't have a dead body attached to it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Where are your... You know, where's your more... Where's your more hunters now? Virtually signaling to its finest. And you talked about your documentary then.

The last conversation you had with your dad (45:35)

And one of the things that when I watched your documentary, really stuck out to me was you recounted the last conversation you had with your dad. And it stuck out to me because I reflect on my own relationships with my parents. And it made me think about the last conversation I had with my parents. My parents are getting old, especially my dad. Can you talk a little bit about that and your feelings towards that conversation now? Yeah, so I'd opened... I said I would never ever make myself vulnerable as far as my dad again. And by that, I mean, I would never give him the opportunity to let me down. And then I did. And it was just before Christmas that we spoke and we agreed to meet up the day after Boxing Day. I was sat at the food court at the shopping center in Wolfamster. My then partner at the time, Tia, I can remember it so vividly. And I called him to make arrangements for the next day. I wasn't driving. He had moved to Brentwood. He was driving and I said, "So are you going to come and see me tomorrow?" And he was like, "I mentioned the name of his wife now we don't." And I said, "Oh, you know, her and the kids would really love to see you. There are stepchildren. There are no relation to me." And I was like, this ain't about... And this is the first time that I ever... I was always too scared to speak up to him about how I felt because I at times blamed myself or worried that I was the reason that he would disappear for a year and a half, two years at a time and not see me. So I would never speak up and tell him how much it hurt every time he did that. And this time I went, "This is not about me coming to play happy families. This is about..." And I was 18. This is about you and I sitting down and having a conversation as adults and trying to see if there's a way in which we can move forward and forge some sort of relationship with trust. And he was like, "Ah, what... I'm saying, you know what? If I ever see you again, I'm gonna knock you out." And I wouldn't. I'd have bought my eyes out and given him a hug. But I was right to feel that anger because he had hurt me so, so, so much, so many times throughout my entire life. And that's what I meant about being cumulative. You know, it was that constant. It was him being and in my life, him being the parent, not a favorite. Him being such a kind, generous, gorgeous man, but being such a shitfather. And that was cumulative. It wasn't any one moment. It was all of the moments that he wasn't there, that he missed, that he let me down. All the days spent looking out of my front room window, which looked right at the bus stop that he should have got off of a bus at, to come and see me when he never showed up. You know, it was all of that that added up to that moment. And people are like, "Wow, do you wish you could go back in time and change all your last words to him?" "Well, of course not." Because that angle was just, you know? How could I not be that angry? Why should I feel guilt over his actions or lack of actions? You know, I can own that and I'm fine with it. And I don't feel like I should feel any which way about saying that to him because I was, me being that angry was justified. I mean, like, if I don't think a lot of people would have even been trying to rectify the situation at that point, right? And a lot of my friends who weren't even entertained in conversation with their, with their biological fathers or mothers because they were absent. I have the conversation, I get to a point where you can let go of, and don't, but the problem is, right, they have a narrative that they have to justify themselves. And this is something that I've learned. So they have a narrative that, and I still have this with members of my family now. If we get into that conversation about the past, they have a narrative which justifies their every choice, which makes it okay that they have to have to live with, because I haven't dealt with this shit yet. They're not going to deal with this shit. You know, if they were going to deal with this shit, they would have done it. The chances of me getting those people into, you know, through the door to see a therapist, nil, not happening, me taking that step and sorting my shit out doesn't mean that I can sort their shit out. It doesn't mean that if I make the room and give them the forgiveness, that they're going to be able to accept that forgiveness and be honest with me, because they still have to hold on to that narrative to justify their decisions, because they haven't made amends with their decisions. And I can't expect them to. Yeah, and you can't need that. I can't, but I can't need that, because if I need that, I'm always going to be underwhelmed, offended, upset, let down, bitter. And I don't want to be any of those things. Not least of all now, I have a child that I want. You know, the great thing is my child is born into a world where it's me and my partner, and she's amazing. It's incredible and has done, you know, a lot of the same work that I have in order to get to the place where she's out in her life. And we have this piece because we're able to have open conversations, we're able to discuss things rationally, we're able to be wrong. There's room, we make room for each other to be wrong. You know, we make room for each other to be upset, no matter how irrational, we give each other room and space and time, and we're considerate and we're kind, and we don't, you know, we try our best not to revert to child and be defensive and offensive because of that. And, you know, it's why we've had a child because we feel safe for each other. On that point of like moving on, so people in our lives, we all have to move on from things, whether it's a relationship, whether it's trauma, whether it's things that happened, you know, with our parents, whatever. People tend to think that, you know, they use this phrase a lot, one of my friends was saying it to me the other day, "I just need closure." And I just, I remember thinking, "Ah, for your fuck then, if you..." "You fucked, you are fucked." Because what is closure? Closure is insecurity about what happened, and a lot of the time, especially in romantic situations, basically someone has walked out the door with your self-esteem, and what you're saying is, "I can't move on until they come back and give it to me, until they justify why they cheated or they explain to me." You know, because it's all, and it's, I think I wrote on my Instagram, I was like, "Closure, closure is a choice ultimately." Closure isn't, you know. If you need closure, close the door. Yeah, exactly. You do. Yeah. Find closure, read closing the door. Yeah, it is, because if you're constantly, you're still giving over too much of yourself to someone else. Yeah, they're in, they've got a keys, right? Yeah, like, why are you doing that? Why are you handing over that power to someone who doesn't even want it anymore? They've left. Yeah. You know, why are you, but then it's also, you can, people also find themselves in this situation where they try and take responsibility for other people's actions. It's good to take responsibility for your actions. If you've provoked something, then, you know, you can look at maybe being responsible for how someone's reacted because you've prompted that, you've provoked that. But trying to take responsibility for someone else's actions, you'll drive yourself crazy because you can't take responsibility for everything that everyone does. We all make our own choices. And that, again, is not a good place to find yourself. And always wanting to understand is like, why do we have to understand everything? People make choices where complex. There are so many variables in our lives. The only thing you can do is introduce less variables. And that's been quite easy during the last year because, you know, I don't have to walk into crowded rooms for the people that I don't know. So when I have socialized, when it's been allowed, it's been amongst people that I want to see. Therefore, less variables, the situation is more predictable, you know, I'm kind of more aware of the outcomes. Yeah. And if you apply that to life, you know, if you, we all too often though, we make excuses, not just for ourselves and I hate excuses. It's why I don't like being late to anything. Even if there is a valid reason, you know, it makes me anxious. I hate excuses, but we all too often make excuses for other people. That's just Darren, you know, that's just how Darren is. But there's going to come a point where Darren just being Darren is going to have you respond disproportionately because you've not made clear with Darren that he's overstepping the line. So he's got no idea. And then the other steps align the eighth time and you respond, but you respond for all eight times at once. And Darren's, yeah. Whoa, you could have told me the first time, you know, and we could have had a rational conversation, but actually you've allowed it to escalate to a point where you've, you know, held onto this thing that Darren's done every time he's done it and then exploded because you're not comfortable having awkward conversations because you find them awkward when actually if someone can't handle a direct and honest conversation and a rational conversation, is that someone that encourages you to be your best self? Like, I don't want to surround myself with yay sayers or people who deflect or who hide from things. I in my life now cannot, I don't have the time for the bullshit. I really don't, I like direct conversations. I like friendships where we are able to be honest, where if my friend, you know, I don't have a huge group of friends now, I know I fucked a ton of people, but the people that I do, like if I, if someone online calls me a twat from, I don't know, Greg from Skegness, I don't give a fuck. He doesn't know me. His opinion of me is made up of whatever he's read or seen and the dots that he's joined. He's built the rest of the bullshit. He's yeah, and his own bullshit that he's rejected, right? But if my best friend Felix says, "Steve, you need to check yourself. I'm going to check myself." And it's important to have those people round you. You need to be able to, if you don't have honest relationships with people and open dialogue, they're not real relationships. It's hard though when you've had some success, right? Did you even find that in your own friendship circle?

Finding success and leaving people behind (55:33)

I think I found that a little bit where, because I had success and some of my closest friends actually end up, they worked at my company and that's how they became some of my best friends. So I didn't know them before the company, but like what you work with someone side by side for 10 years, and they... Inevitably, they... Yeah, yeah. But I was always the boss, so I've always worried that because I had that like... I was like the pack leader in my little group of friends that they might not check me all the time when I needed to be checked. Right. So it's just because they feel like you know best. You know, I know best and because I've always been like the boss, I've always been like, I've always been the one in charge. I've always been the one leading them as well. So it's like... So for me stepping into business now, it's really important for me to have co-workers that will challenge me. I don't want someone that just goes, "Okay, that's not working. We'll stop that." I want someone to go, "Yes, that is underperforming at the moment, but given a chance in two months, you're going to see results from that because you're going to grow your audience." I need to educate on that because that's not my forte. You know, that's not my skill set. And so you need co-workers and friends that will challenge you. You know, and I believe in challenge, healthy challenge, because in opinion, it's not an opinion, it's an idea until it's challenged. You know, so if I say, you know, "I believe we should go this way," and you say, "Do you really?" And then I explain why I've stood on the table for it. So now it's my opinion, and I know it's my opinion. But up until that point, it was just an idea. It was a belief, but not necessarily a correct one. And when you started to see success in your life, were there people in your circle that were friends, people you considered to be friends, that were clearly not happy for you? One of the best bits of advice I was ever given was by a rapper, I thought he was a friend of my own skinny man, who said to me, "A real friend of yours will never be of hindrance to you." And there were definitely people who weren't as comfortable with me not being in the same situation that they were in doing the same things. A lot of people do all this. I got a call yesterday from one of my best friends, and he said, "One of my friends is just complete, just unfollowed me on all the social platforms." And I said, "Why is that?" And he goes, "Well, I think it's because I've started to do really well." And he, it's a reflection, he thinks it's a reflection on him. He thinks it means he's a piece of shit, because I'm succeeding. Or an attack on. Yeah, it's just, and this is a conversation that people don't have enough, but at any point in your life when you divert from the path, especially the path that you share with your closest friends, quite often there will be some kind of force from them to try and pull you back to them. Yep. And say, "Who the fuck do you think you are, Steven?" Yeah. Get back. Yeah, yeah. And have you, did you experience that at any point where, especially when your music career starts to really take off and... It's difficult because you can't take everyone everywhere. And there's almost an expectation to. And I'm a firm believer in, in opportunity, like giving people opportunities. And then beyond that, it's up to them what they do with that. Like, I'm someone who's not, I've had situations with people where I've seen them have opportunities, but they've been too insecure to take them, because they felt like they're putting themselves beneath someone else. I don't have that problem. I want to learn from you. If you're further along in your career and I'm trying to not mimic what you're doing, but I want to be successful in the set. So you're a musician that's ahead of me and you're willing to take me on tour with you. I'm not going to say no to that because I'm insecure and I don't want to appear to, I don't want to be the support act. I'm going to say yes, because I want to come along on that ride. And I'm grateful for the opportunity that you're giving me. Some people don't have that mindset. Some people don't want to learn from other people. They think they know it all. Or they're, they're ultimately scared and insecure. They feel like they look smaller by putting themselves as a support, or by having someone feature on a song, or by accepting help. Whereas for me, it's always been like when Mike's going to sign me and I had the opportunity to go on tour with him and battle at every stop of his 12 rounds tour when he was at the height of his success. I didn't feel any which way about doing that. I was really, really grateful for the opportunity to go along and learn in the same way that when Lily said to me, "Let me do the chorus on on Just Be Good to Green." And we can perform it live at Best of All, in front of 60,000 people. Bro, I was still setting cocaine. And I'd graduated from weed to coke to that point, because I had all of a sudden after I signed to Mike Skinner's record label, developed this circle of model bookers and musicians, and who all took it. And weed is large and smells a lot. Coke is quite easy to move around, and I would never have got caught unless in transit. So it became quite an obvious decision for me to make, because those things were normalized where I grew up anyway. I never sold crack or smack, because I don't believe in dealing with people in the most desperate situations they've ever been in day in day out. Some good news. My debut book Happy, Sexy Millionaire has just become a Sunday Times best seller. But that's not what I want to talk about. I just wanted to give credit where credit is due to Fiverr, because all of the assets that I've used to promote the book, like the graphics, the cover photos, assets on Instagram, some of my stories have been designed using freelancers on That's F-I-V-E-R-R dot com. It's the most cost-effective way that I've ever found of flexibly expanding the capacity of my team. And the quality of freelancers on Fiverr is staggering. One of the things I don't think people appreciate enough is you can actually also extend the time zone of your team by working with freelancers on different time zones that work while you're asleep. Not only is your capacity being extended, but the hours that you're productive as a team in the day can be extended. And if you've never heard of Fiverr, or you've never used it for a project, there's a link in the description below. Click on it, check it out. And if you've got any projects coming up, whether it's podcasting or content or websites or branding or a voiceover, anything, Fiverr is your answer. When you think of Shordich, what do you think?

Getting stabbed in the neck (01:01:34)

People pissing up people's doorsteps. Interesting. That's my home. I was wondering if just the time Shordich alone would make you think about the sky you have. Yeah. No, you said just not the doorstep. Yeah. No, it's weird, man. There's like, I got hit by a car in 2013. Yeah. It was, well, I got squashed between two cars. I managed to get myself up on the bonnet so it was only my left leg that were at court. The bloke didn't realize his car was in eco because it was a new car. So it had his foot on the brake, which put the car in eco. He took his foot off the brake as I was walking between two cars. And he felt the engine start. So panicked and slammed his foot down, but instead of it in the brake, he hit the accelerator. Okay. And that was a far more traumatic event for me than being stabbed because that was really unpredictable. Nothing came before that that I contributed to. When I got stabbed, look, when I think I was eight, when chesty, someone from my flats, who he don't live in the country anymore, he got bottled and stabbed and one of my pals, Jamal, who was younger than me, ran in. I might have been nine because I think James was lap seven and he ran and called that ambulance for chesty. Like this stuff happened. I didn't expect to get stabbed by someone I didn't know that I had no history with. It didn't really feel like retribution for what had just happened. There was a little bit of bickering. He said I barged his mate. It was proper, stupid, young, bravado, match-all shit. Yeah, in cargo. And I just took my ground. Really, it was all I did. That was what I did wrong in that situation. If you even think that's me doing wrong. In hindsight, I could have just gone out. I didn't barge his mate. I said, excuse me. And I moved past with an open-handed and crowded club. I was as polite and as passive as I could have been and always happened. But he was just on one. You get me. So, but then I did, I stood my ground. And in hindsight, now at the age I am, and especially with having a child and just thinking about how I want him to grow up and what I want him to understand, being a man to be. I could have just gone, you know what? Sorry, brother. I'm been done with it. But I felt like he was threatening me, and I felt like I was right to stand my ground. I didn't expect that five minutes after that, he'd walk up behind me and put a broken bottle in my neck. But at least my mum and my Nan started talking again. I heard you called you, you called you Nan. Yeah. In that moment. Yeah. So, we were still fighting outside. So, he stabbed me. I managed to push him out of the way, got out of the club. Holding my neck together. Obviously, you've got all kinds of adrenaline running for your body at that point. So, you're not really aware of the, I mean, I know I've been poked in the neck and it's not really, if you're going to get poked, you don't want it to be in your neck. No, fucking. Your chances of survival is not high. And then we got the fight got broken up. I think there was police outside the club. I think it was broken up by a pleat. The whole thing is a bit blurry to me. And then I'm sat on there because I had to get interested as well. But I'm sat on the curb. My phone's come out of my pocket. And I can see on everyone's faces. You know, this is not, this ain't that well for me. So, I asked to pass my phone. I got my phone. I called my man. And I just apologize for all the work she had put into me that this was how it was going to end. She just said, you're going to be fine. Shut up. She did actually tell me to shut up. She's caught me. She just said, you're going to be fine. You're going to be fine. And she came to the hospital as did my mum. And they both started talking over my table that I was on. And it's kind of weird because when I went to hospital, I was treated like I was some kind of notorious gang member that the hospital staff are not sympathetic to my situation whatsoever. And then in my end, I've been stabbed. I never say I'm a victim because I don't believe in approaching life as one. But in that situation, I wasn't the word purportray or I wasn't the aggressor. So it was a bit weird, the whole thing, you know, to just be, it be presumed that I was just part of something that came out of nowhere, had nothing to do with no gang nothing, no dealing nothing, no no historic problems from anywhere. It was just something that happened randomly. But no, that's not even what I associate shortage with. As well as pissing up doorsteps, I think of new balance trainers and needs. Yeah. Yeah. Do you know, when I listen to that story about what happens with that guy in the club, it brought me back to a time which I've never talked about before in my own life where I was in New York in a club. And there was two tables in this nightclub. And I was on one of them with a couple of my friends, one of the guys that runs Mattree Boxing. And there was this table of guys from Jersey next to us. And the guys on my table were talking to the girls on their table. And they became this location. So I had, I know the bouncers in this club because I get all the time. So I said to the owner in the bounce, I was like, there's going to be a problem here if you don't move this table. And as I'm speaking to the manager, the guy from the table next to me picks up a three-leaser bottle of vodka and hits me on the head with it. I'm surrounded by, so the, the, I'm so good with these bounces. Like I've sent them many night shirts and I'm like, I'm these people know me. I'm always in the club. I'm always on the same table, that kind of thing. The big bounce, I must be fucking seven foot massive black guy. They're my boys. We talk about United every time I come in there, like them always. He reaches over the crowd of bounces that I'm chatting to just on my table. And he hits me with this bottle of vodka. And I go see, because I was telling them to, I was like, there's going to be, if you don't move these two tables, there's going to, I go see. And as I'm looking, blood, because I'm wearing this cap, blood just comes trickling down my face. But again, I did nothing to instigate this situation. And when I was reading about what happened to you, and you ended up in hospital, and you know, it risked your life, I was thinking, what's the lesson here? How do you avoid these situations where? Variables. And I think you walk into a room like that, and there are many variables that anything can happen. And for me, I was always like, I was always someone that scanned the room. I always wanted to, no, I don't like sitting on my back to doors. Never have, I still have sleep. The one I open is why I've always suffered with sleep problems, I think, because of, and that's my own doing to an extent, you know, because of some of the stuff that I used to do. And I was by no means like, heavy, heavy, heavy into things. I just sold a bit of this in a bit of that, because it enabled me to finance life while I worked towards what I wanted to do. If there was another commodity that I was aware of that I could have sold that wasn't illegal, I would have done it. And that guy, he got eight years, right? Yeah, that was a whole mad situation though, because they moved the trial date to when I was on tour. So this was two years later that it went to call, right? I get a phone call on the Friday when I'm in Newcastle and they tell me when, from a police officer, and they tell me when the trial date is, and I just said, you know what, I'm so far passed that, you know, I really don't care. Like, I'm not coming to court and they said, well, we know where you are, we know what your next two tour dates are, they were bright in the London, I think, and we'll issue a summons. We'll arrest you. If you don't come to court. Yeah. And I cried, bro. I was in a conundrum because see, this is where I've never spoken about this. This is where like my moral compass struggled, because don't snitch. They had four other witnesses, they had DNA, they had CCTV, the last thing they needed in court was me, but what did they get from me being there? They get press. And then I get told by my record label, my TV plug on my radio plug, basically be looked at as an advocate for knife crime, if I don't show up at court, but that goes against everything that I stand for. In hindsight, it's crazy, because if I didn't grow up where I grew up, why would I care about that? I didn't do anything wrong in that situation, but I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be there. The whole thing, it still troubles me now, because it's like, you can't have one foot in, one foot out. It's like, who are you and what do you stand for? Bro, I've been arrested before. I was looking at time when I was just before I signed to my skinless record label. And at that point, there were other people involved. If I was a snitch, I would have opened my mouth then. But I found myself in an impossible situation. I'm like, I nearly lost my life. And now I'm being told that I'm going to lose everything that I've worked for. If I don't go to court, when I got stabbed, but then it's going to, and listen, I've not lost the friend over it. There are people I don't know that have made comments. Never when I've seen them. Everyone's all cool, bro. But it's weird. It's still, even to this day, it doesn't sit well with me. I haven't. So for all the work that I have done and all the distance, between me and certain things that I still wrestle with because I was leveraged. And it's kind of mad to think that in that situation, they would have, and I mean, it was crazy. They wouldn't even say, even to just move the trial date or to, for the trial to just happen during my first headline tour. So I would have missed two gigs as well, for which there was no insurance. And at that point, you won't like to hear this. As good as good a business as you are. I was actually in two record deals and it was costing me about 10 p.m. to earn a pound. It wasn't like I was, I wasn't in a situation where I could, I could weather that storm. And these weren't times where that sort of publicity was good publicity. There were no rappers on the radio about me, tiny chipping and tingy. It wasn't a given that you could be a successful artist. We were really just opening them doors. So any negative attention was not just hurting me, but about shutting doors for other people as well. Well, there we are. And I had to go to court and it's not, I never imagined testifying to be something that I would ever do. But in that situation, I kind of used to see that as a black and white thing, but I guess there's some shades of gray in between. Someone stops me in the neck. I'm like, call 10 minutes early for an outside. Fuck. And that's how I should feel. But then I also think about all the other shit that I've had with the police and all this stuff that I've, that friends have gone through. And look, if you bring it on yourself and you put yourself in a situation and you've got police who were by the laws that they enforced all well and good, that's what they believe, you know. But there's a lot of police that don't. And I've had further troubles. I got nicked in 2013 and was rebelled and rebelled, lied to in part disclosure, lost over a million pound in endorsements because of one cop who's been, you know, had a business on it. And I was arrested for something I was never charged for. But that never made the papers. Everything else did. So I don't really, and I'm not saying all police are like that, please have a purpose. But when it's when they take, it's when, you know, they start to act out personal grudges that you kind of question, and the police, police, the police, right? That's the problem that we have. But I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want to. Don't want to be better. Yeah. I remember listening to your music when I was in, when I was in secondary school a lot, and I remember listening to a lot of your records more recently as well.

How did you manage to make it over others? (01:13:35)

And even, you know, like, as, when I know what you were coming in today, I started like going back through my whole back catalog of your music. At the time when you made it, as you said then, in the UK, in the UK hip hop scene, as a white male, that's a fucking staggering accomplishment. Do you not know? Genuinely it is. I'm like, I know a lot because you might not know this, but you're from the jump off days. And I'm all the don't flop boys that all best friends are my like, I don't know if you know, you know, unanimous. I don't know if you know, you know, okay, he'll be offended. But like, you know what, I can't jump to it. You of course, I know my boys. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You did Manchester and like, they used to come to my house sometimes for five days in a row and like stay at my house and they'd rap and stuff. I used to write music back in those days as well. But watching how talented a lot of these people are at what they do, and still a lot of them haven't made it like you did, makes me beg the question. It's like, what were the factors that came to play to make sure that you as a white rapper in the UK scene got through? Do you know what just persistence, persistence, persistence, I just didn't stop. You know, there were so many full starts as well, starting to might skin his record label, me and him, me being lazy, not working as hard as I should have, during the period when I signed to his label. And I can put my hands up and say that, but also biting heads and not agreeing on music up until a point. And then just as we did, and he sent a really kind email and he was like, look, I've been spending too long trying to make you into something that you're not rather than focusing on what you're good at. Let's go. And it was almost at that point when Warner pulled the financing from his label, they were subsidized and his label, they moved everything in house apart from all of this, the rest part, sorry, I think it was 679 was a label they kept and they moved that in house and then they pulled the financing from the rest of their subsidiaries because of Napster and Limewy, you know, the money they were seeing had fallen subsequently because of all the piracy. So the album never came out for two reasons because the label lost their financing because I never worked hard enough. And then after that, I went back to what I knew and what facilitated me being able to continue my quest to become a successful musician, which by the way, I thought would absolve me of everything in my past and just make me happy. What did you find out? Bullshit, wasn't it? What a stupid fucking idea that was. So you thought that becoming a successful musician would make your part, would put your past that you basically? Yeah, it just you just you and this is what's dangerous about pinning your happiness or your hopes of happiness on an ever moving goal post that quite often you move yourself. If I sell this many records, I'm going to be happy and then you sell that many records and then it's like, okay, if I get a number one single, I'm going to be happy, then you get the number one single and then it's like, well, what's next? You talked about the study, you said about how you've got to enjoy the moment more. Yeah. I'll never enjoy like this. How do you do that though? In the moment? In the moment, I don't like to, for me, I'm just, it's just, it's been a really, really long journey towards not going back to the corners you can't see around. It's just taking it for what it is. It's like, I'm here and I'm entirely present. My head is not worrying about the meeting that I've got to go to afterwards. I'm aware of it because I've seen my schedule, but I'm not thinking about it. And I used to, like I would lay in bed and my mind would be spinning, spinning, spinning about everything that I had coming up. There's no, like it's good to plan. And I find you worry more if you don't plan, but I try and look at, you know, I don't look at my calendar too far ahead anymore because it doesn't help me. You know, I want to be present. I want to be able to be here and have a conversation with you to look you in the eye and talk to you without having other shit in my head, you know, an empty head in an open heart, man. That's how you present. And they're not the easiest things to achieve when we all have so much going on in our lives. And when we're always so ambitious, because when, like, as you say, the moving goalpost tonight, which I really like, because I will achieve something today, but before the day of even achieving it, I've already set the new goal, do you know what I mean? And so you never experienced the achievement. And I've actually, since leaving my business, one of my mentors said to me, it's like, you just need to, he's that old and he's done it all and he's way more successful than I'll probably ever be. And he was like, the one advice I'll give to you, Steve, is just like, try your very best to enjoy it in the moment. Because you look back on it with, you know, raised in glasses and you wish you had just savored it more. But you can enjoy it in hindsight. And it is what I was saying earlier. You look back on it and you go, wow, I did that. But actually, it's that the accolades are not that important. The rewards are, they're part of it, if you're lucky enough to achieve. But the process is the part of it that you have to enjoy. And that's them. I think that's the struggle. That's why a lot of people don't necessarily find themselves that happy because they're not in situations where they're happy to be doing the work that they're doing to get to where they want to be. And that's perhaps because they're in the wrong place, where they want to be and what they're doing to get there, don't, they don't marry up. And we're fortunate. We do things we love. We get to pick and choose. That's, that's, you know, I was going to say it's lucky, but it's not, it's hard work and perseverance. What do you worry about then these days? I mean, most recently in the last two weeks, it's been like, is that noise that my son's making in his sleep? So for context, it's students just had a new kid, a new baby boy. Yeah. First child. And really, you know, just, I mean, yeah, just the things that I encounter day today. I'm not really too, I don't know, man. Like it's weird to be at this point in my life, in my career, about to sign a new record deal to be putting music out again, but to not have that, like my energy's different. I'm just excited in being able to have a route to market. I've had all this music that because of some stupid problems I had with the label I was with that I couldn't put out, I wasn't able to, to, to exercise that part of, you know, what I did and that I missed terribly because that's my output. That's my creative output. You know, I enjoy working on all the other things I'm doing, whether it's a goal, or gives in greens, anything, all the ideas that I have that I, you know, will hopefully come into fruition later on, that I'm chipping away at behind the scenes. But music is my output. That's my hobby. It always has been. So when I get suppressed, then I'm not able to, to, to work on music or, or release music and they kind of go hand in hand because it's kind of weird working on music that you know you can't release or that you know someone is standing in the way. You don't feel as motivated to get in the studio and work. Whereas now I'm like, you know, but I'm not worried about how it's received. I'm just really happy to be able to put music out my worries and not, not what they were all the things I used to worry about. You know, I mean, I don't have financial security yet and I'm in a much better place than, than I could have been growing up where I grew up. It wasn't what was expected. But you know, I have to pay my mortgage. I have things like that. But there's, you know, they're not worries. I have to work to pay. You know, that's again, you know, work can be a stress or it can just be work, you know, my mortgage can be a stress or it can just be a mortgage. I just have to work. There's, there's quite simple things that I have to do in order to pay my mortgage, you know. So I try and not get bogged down by, by the everyday shit. My worries are just whatever pops up and are they, are they worries? And I getting to know a child like I'm holding my child correctly, things like that, that day, day, am I encouraging things? And your new record deal, I'm super intrigued to hear how different your music will be now that you've, you're in any phase of life, right?

Your new phase of life (01:21:33)

And surely that'll be reflected in what you produce. Yeah, I think there's a, you know, we've spoken about grief and loss and letting go of things throughout this whole conversation. And I think there's part of Professor Green that still there, that still wants to be a lippy little shit, that still has the poke and prod and I don't know, in the age of cancel culture, I probably need to watch my math, but it's not something I've ever been good at. But then there's also the more mature side, and I think there will be a point between now and perhaps an album that I have in mind that I've started working on, that there's a bit in between where I need to just get a little bit of that angst out. And I think there is a transition to take place that will happen throughout the music because things are different. And when can we expect to hear this music? I'm having something out this summer, whether I can tour it or not due to COVID, who knows. But amazing. How do you feel about that must be, must be all kinds of feelings? Bro, just happiness. Yeah. Yeah, proper. Because I've been sitting on this music for ages and then having the conversations with the label that I may sign to, they hear the music and they pull out the songs, which I would have hoped they do, you know, and they're not necessarily the most obvious. And it's kind of cool to have that or the beginnings of that working relationship. And it makes me excited about the music that I've been making and that I've been sitting on, which sometimes, you know, these songs are not new to me, but they will be to everyone else. So to have someone kind of re-light that fire. It's amazing. Yeah. And a gulp. A gulp. So I'm going to try this now. Explain to me what it is while I try it. Okay. So I have a whole lifetime of gut issues. Most recently in 2017, I had an operation to repair a high-ex hernia. Sorry, I should have said this a bit more. Professional. And when I came out of hospital after the operation went well, there's the gulp. A gulp. Yeah. Yummy. When I come out of surgery, in the surgery, it went well, but I had terrible complications. I had distension, Ileous, collapsed lung, pneumonia, CRP, which is an information marker of 672, which is, I understand the looks on the surgeon's face. This now. And I nearly cropped it. And then the alternative, the options that I had were more surgery or leaf hospital with a paralyzed stomach and just hope it got better over time. And so I didn't want to chance more surgery because I was more likely to have the same complications again. So I started looking at ways I could treat myself more holistically. And this was an education for me. I found myself down at every rabbit hole. You know, I've been down every rabbit hole you could ever imagine and then can, and I'm continuously still researching. Actually, what I found out is the more consistent I was with looking after my gut by the other McDonald's, is that the better my mood was, the more consistent my mood was the better I slept, the better I felt the more consistent my energy was. And it's just, it's unbelievable how much your gut health contributes to every other pillar of your well-being. And how much your gut health is also impacted by them. So your sleep impacts your gut, your gut impacts your sleep. It's all interconnected. So what exactly, so I've just had one of these sashay's that I've got here in front of me, I got up. And what is this going to do for me in like dumb ass terms? In dumb ass terms. So that's feeding your gut bacteria, what it needs to thrive. And it's also packed with vitamins that support your, the healthy gut lining, you know, which help prevent or repair permeable gut. And how often do I take one of these? Every day, every day. One a day. Yep. Okay. A lot of people have got issues and they don't understand why I'm one of them. I probably in the last, increasingly over the last five, six, seven years, I've got this sort of clear intolerance, just something. Definitely. Like I can't eat bread pasta without feeling it for like two, three days. And I, and it's weird because I just kind of trundle through life feeling like shit sometimes and not really doing anything about it or getting tested or thinking about it. Yeah. That's the thing with like, I think especially with gut health and there's just health problems in general. Like a lot of people go through life just feeling run down. Exactly. It's because we're not edging. Yeah. And it's just accepted. And I think that's, that's a real problem. And I think there's a lack of education. And that's a really important part of a goal. You know, it's not just us trying to sell these sachets. It's the educational piece, which is really important because people should understand what they, what they can do in order to thrive. You know, you can live and be alive or, or you know, you can, you can optimize parts of your health and wellbeing. So you don't have to have that trip to the doctors rather than, I'm all for proactive at you, whether it's your mental health or your physical health. You said to me before we started recording that you, you spent your whole career like being the product.

Insights Into Business World

How have you found the business world (01:26:36)

Yeah. And now you're, you're the guy in the boardroom. Yeah. The proverbial boardroom on the other end of the zoo. What's that change been like? Now you're an entrepreneur running a business dealing with all of that bullshit. I'm so happy you said it. No, I mean, it is. It's bullshit, right? This is like copious amounts of bullshit when you're running a company. Have you found that process? Business for me, I think things are all too often over complicated. And I, there will always be problems, but it's like solutions. I like solutions for me. It's, it's been a pretty steep learning curve, but I enjoy learning. I'm happiest when I'm learning, and I'm learning an awful lot. And it's, it's quite nice being in the engine room. It's nice to have ownership. And that's something that I haven't really had as an artist. What, what parts do you hate? What parts do I hate? I see, I like problem solving, but sometimes when problems present, I don't like being presented with problems when there's not even an idea of a solution. And I think there's, if you take half an hour between making, between finding out the problem and making me aware of the problem, you can probably have thought of something that can contribute to the solving of that problem. And the immediacy, the panic, I don't like panic. I don't want to, you know, I don't want the culture in our firm to be one of panic. You know, I want people to take ownership. I think ownership's important. I think accountability is important. And not to be punished, just so as you can own it, put your hand up, grab a fact, it might have fixed it and take some fucking pride in that. And there's a certain type, there's several types of people. I'm sure you'll encounter in your business where you've got one type of person who I use to say to my business partner, they will like solve the problem and handle it before they even come to me. And they'll just come to me and say, Steve, by the way, this has happened, but don't worry. I'm on it. Fix it. Don't worry. I love that type of person. I'm like, promotion, promotion, promotion. And then there's other type of person who'll be like, Steve, the office is on fire. The office is on fire. I'm all going to die. And I'm just screaming at my face. Like, the office is on fire and you're going to die and I'm going to die. And it's all over. We're finished with fucked, we're fucked. And that person can never be a manager. Because if they can't manage themselves, they can't manage anyone else here. And this is a hiring thing because I've seen both of my business and I will always promote the people who they grab hold of problems, extinguish them, before I even realize it was a problem. Amazing. Amazing. You just need to send some complaints. But then you want to say, I think there's a third person as well. And that's where apathy comes into it. And it's like, the room's on fire and I'm watching it burn. I don't really feel anything to leave or to tell you so we can just die here. But we won't even worry about putting the fire out and just burn. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's the problem. I prefer the panic over the apathy. It's like, do be panicked. Please try and find the solution before. Not that I want to wash my hands of all of it. I want to work. I want to understand that. That's one thing. I've always been as meticulous with anything that I've done outside of music as I am with every word that I write. I think I saw a post that you put up about the details and I understand it. Yeah. And I agree. And this hold the devils in the details and people get really annoyed with me or can get annoyed with me throughout my life in every aspect of it being really obsessive over the Monusheye. But that's fucking important. Those little things, I agree whole heart gang cumulative. All of those little things add up to make that one bigger. And for me, especially in brand Combs, I want it to be communicated in a certain way because and communication has been my thing. I talk through my music and I want to talk through my product in the same way. Yeah. I was just very detail-oriented my whole life. But I think the problem I had is I never really explained to the people that I was talking to, why I cared so much about details. So I'd say, look, that's not right. Well, that little thing there is that symmetrical. And they're matter of times that I've got a ruler out in social chain, well, company, and I'd measure something to check the millimeters on both sides of it. And those little things. And I think people think you're being anal or whatever, but it's it's a philosophy that if you have within yourself about high standards, obsessing about detail, as I say on my post yesterday, it's those that those small details culminate to great things. Right. So I'm just like, these days, I don't give a fuck. Like, I I want to be detail-erentated. I want people to feel that I'm so detail-erentated that they won't show me something until they've been equally detail-erentated. And that's going to fall a culture and a philosophy of- Well, it's going to say that encourages the right type of culture. It's caring. Yeah. Yeah. We're a very small team. We've been hitting some pretty punchy targets month and month since we launched in October. You launched in October? Yeah. I can know. Ahead of our first range. Oh, well. In lockdown. Yeah. Yeah. Big balls. Either that or I'm a fucking idiot. I did wonder. But that's the culture that I want to promote. And it's like, you have to- I like what you said, because I think it's important. You can't just keep pointing out what's wrong. You have to explain why it's important that it's right. Not just saying that's wrong. Fix it. I think it's important that if you know how to fix it, you explain how to fix it, but also why it needs fixing. People should be learning on the job all the time so as they can grow into roles that they may never have been employed for. I've grown into a position and I don't think I was ever as a child, probably looked at being destined to be. And I'm not from where I was from. And I'm continuously growing into that role, because I want to learn and I have to. I have to keep learning. Otherwise, I don't see the point in continuing. That to me is like, people talk about death. Death to me is losing that. I don't know. Just not being curious, not wanting to learn, not wanting to understand. Yeah, something I've come to learn as well. You talked about the goalpost meeting and that and the importance of curiosity. It's one of the things I talk about in my book is like, I came to realize at some point that the purpose of my life was probably just to keep myself in like forward motion of chaos. That's the way I describe it. I used to think stability was chaos and chaos, and stability. Now I know that my stability is actually being in chaos, which is exactly what you've said there, like being curious, being challenged until I die someday. Which happens to all of us? Yeah. Some sooner than others, if they don't get to ever really live. Out of class, did I get health? Yeah, there you go. Well, listen, Stephen, thank you so much for coming here today. Your story is remarkable because you're someone that is unashamed, unashamedly honest about everything. And that transparency and honesty has helped. Fucking, I can't even imagine the amount of people it's helped. Even the the rawness and the openness of you doing that documentary, I mean, you see it on the documentary, you see how being open and honest and expressing yourself can save people. And I know you're I know the fact of me, I think of all the guests I've sat here with, I think if there was one guest who I think has probably saved more people from themselves, from their thoughts, it's got to be you. So it's a great tremendous service you've done to the world. I get really welcome people. So kind of feel like I could get in my belly button right now. And I was watching it and I was thinking, you know, this is exactly what the world needs, especially at the time when it came out. And in terms of people that have the experience to say these things, you know, you're a rapper, you know what I mean? You know what I mean? It's a documentary. At that point, the perception of you when you made that documentary was like, this is a tough guy, rapper, that comes from, you know, the ends or whatever. And for you to be talking about those things in the same way that reafford and crying, right? Having the, having the, I'd call it courage, but you know, it's a strange way to use, but having the courage to be that vulnerable, I think is just such a tremendous service you've done. So thank you. I just think it's the most important thing is you've been part of a change. You've been part of this change over the last couple of years in mental health and men specifically talking about how they feel. And that is fucking hell. That is a moment I think we'll look back on in history and say, like, thank God we realized that, you know? I hope so. I think we need to really encourage people to stop applying behaviours to genders. You know, I shouldn't have to be called a girl for being sensitive. Why should only women be afforded the right to be emotional or emotional beyond anger? Yeah. Thank you, brother. I appreciate you. Thank you, Martin. It's a pleasure. Thanks.

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