Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford has revealed that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child.
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“Like lots of people, and I’m learning more and more about this as we go and as I play it to people, I was sexually abused as a child,” said Mumford in a recent interview. “Not by family and not in the church, which might be some people’s assumption. But I hadn’t told anyone about it for 30 years.”
Mumford first alluded to the abuse in his recent debut solo single “Cannibal,” singing I can still taste you and I hate it / That wasn’t a choice in the mind of a child and you knew it / You took the first slice of me and you ate it raw / Ripped it in with your teeth and your lips like a cannibal / You fucking animal.
In the interview, Mumford, whose parents were leaders of the Vineyard Churches, a neo-charismatic evangelical Christian denomination, said that the abuse happened when he was 6 years old, which he described as “the first of a string of really unusual, unhealthy sexual experiences at a really early age,” and that he finally hit rock bottom after touring with Mumford & Sons around their 2018 album Delta. Seeking help, Mumford remembers throwing once he began talking about his childhood with a therapist.
“Apparently, it’s very common, once you basically unhook the denial and start the process of removing some suppression, then it’s very natural for that stuff to come out,” said Mumford. “I’d had problems breathing all my life—not asthma but just, like, catching my breath.”
The artist said he has mostly lived in “layers of shame” throughout his life from the traumatic events but is working on shedding it now. “Some of the areas in which I was trying to make that shame go away just led to more shame for me,” shared Mumford. “And now being able to pick those apart a little bit and, like, chip away at the layers of it is why I feel kind of free, more free than I have in a long time.”
“Cannibal” is the first single off Mumford’s debut solo album, Self-Titled, out Sept. 16, and features an accompanying black and white video shot by director Steven Spielberg on an iPhone. “I felt like it had to go first,” he said of the song. “I started sort of apologizing for it, in my head.”
Produced by Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes, Jim James), Self-Titled features from Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo, and Monica Martin. To support the album, Mumford, who recently released the second single “Grace,” also revealed a North American tour kicking off Sept. 19 and running through Nov. 10.
Photo by Robin harper/Capitol Music Group