The 25-year old’s rare blend of swagger, soulfulness and storytelling - reminiscent in several ways of Jay-Z - have him set for even greater international success, and he can already count Coldplay’s Chris Martin and close friends Ed Sheeran and Adele among his many admirers.
Following the release of "Gang Signs" and "Prayer", his award-winning, platinum-selling debut album, Stormzy may no longer be stepping between the street and the sermon, but he’s still walking between two worlds: that of the celebrity and of the Everyman. His desire to stay grounded is evident; as his career continues to soar, he seems more and more determined to help others reach new heights of their own.
From his arrival on the mic, Stormzy has always seemed more than a mere MC; it’s therefore fitting that, these days, he’s also a publisher, philanthropist and budding cultural icon. In 2019, he has become a cover star for both ELLE Magazine - for which cover he also curated a photoshoot of young British stars in the fields of art, sport and fashion - and TIME Magazine, who profiled him as one of its 'next generation leaders'. He has founded Stormzy Scholarship, which funds the study of four black students at Cambridge University, and which is now in its second year of grantmaking. On a similar tack, he has collaborated with Penguin Random House UK to create Merky Books, an imprint which champions the work of black writers, and whose Writers’ Prize looks for the best authors of the next generation. Merky Books has just announced its latest round of titles, a blend of established stars such as Malorie Blackman and exciting newcomers like Derek Owusu.
With no limit to where his career on or off stage can go next, there’s one theme to which Stormzy keeps returning: that of authenticity, the guiding theme of his new album. 'If you’re scared of your truth', he explains, 'that’s when people don’t know where you’re coming from. And I’m not scared of my truth, at all.'