Marcus Mumford has opened up about how his recent track “Cannibal” tackles his childhood experience of sexual abuse.
The Mumford & Sons frontman released the song last month as the first single from his debut solo album ‘(Self-titled)’, which is due out on September 16 via Island. It came with an official video directed by Steven Spielberg.
In a new interview with GQ, Mumford spoke about the direct nature of the ‘Cannibal’ lyrics. The broken acoustic cut begins with the lines: “I can still taste you and I hate it / That wasn’t the choice in a child’s mind and you knew it.”
“Like a lot of people – and I’m learning more and more about this as we go along and as I tell people about it – I was sexually abused as a child,” said the singer-songwriter with the publication. GQ noted that Mumford was six years old at the time.
He continued: “Not because of the family and not in the church, which some people might assume. But I did not tell anyone for 30 years.”
The musician went on to recall how he played ‘Cannibal’ for his mother, despite keeping the traumatic experience to himself until then: “The power of the mind, man,” he said.
His mother spoke to him again “a few days later.” Mumford recalled: “[Ella dijo] ‘May I ask what that song is about?’ I said: ‘Yes, it’s about the issue of abuse.’ She said, ‘What are you talking about?'”
She continued: “So when we manage to take the trauma of that moment away from her, as a mother, when she hears that and her desire to protect and help and all that stuff, it’s funny objective to tell your mom about your abuse in a fucking song. , of all things.”
Mumford also explained to GQ why he first shared “Cannibal” and made it the opener on the “Self-titled” album: “I felt like it was the first one,” he said, “and started I apologize for it. , in my head. But it’s like: That’s not right either.”
Mumford revealed that her latest single “Grace” – the second song on the upcoming album – was inspired by that conversation with her mother.
The singer later addressed the impact of his abuse in the interview, explaining: “What happened when I was six years old was the first in a series of really unusual and unhealthy sexual experiences at an age very young. And for some reason, and I can not figure out why, I was not an activist of sexual abuse even though I had my share of shitty behavior.
“A series of really unhealthy things when I was under 12, which set my brain up in a way to deal with things later in life in an unbalanced way. So the last three years have been trying to look at that and find some balance to correct..
Elsewhere, the interview claims that Mumford was struggling with alcohol, certain eating habits and, as he put it, “trying to find connection in the wrong places” around the time Mumford & Sons released their -latest album, ‘Delta’ (2018).
In the summer of 2019, several people close to her intervened and she eventually saw a trauma therapist. During their second conversation, Mumford told them for the first time about what happened to him as a child.
In 2016, Mumford & Sons boycotted the Bravalla festival in Norkopping, Sweden after multiple sexual assaults on female audience members were reported to the police (via The Independent).
Produced by Blake Mills, ‘(Self-titled)’ stars Marcus Mumford’s Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo and Monica Martin.
He will introduce the album on a tour of Great Britain and Ireland in November; you can find the remaining tickets here. He will follow up with an extensive North American concert series this fall (buy tickets here).