Marcus Mumford reveals how new solo songs helped him work through childhood sexual abuse

'I hadn’t told anyone about it for 30 years'
Marcus Mumford
Marcus Mumford Photo credit Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
By , Audacy

Fans have already gotten a taste of the emotionally stirring songs on Marcus Mumford's first solo offering, (self-titled), set for release this fall. Now, in a new interview, Mumford has shared intimate details of being sexually abused when he was only six years old, resulting in traumas that the singer tackles within the album’s tracks.

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In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, the Mumford & Sons frontman, singer, and songwriter discusses intimate details of being abused as a child, resulting in traumas that he tackles within (Self-titled) -- his upcoming solo album set for release on September 16. "Facing demons I danced with for a long time in isolation,” Marcus began a July 12 social media update announcing the project, "I wrote a song called ‘Cannibal’ ... and we began the process of making this album, dear to my heart...”

Mumford's lyrics for "Cannibal" couldn't have laid the issue out any clearer: "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 f***ing animal."

"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," Mumford tells GQ. "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."

The song itself even served as the way Marcus was able to talk to his mother about the trauma he suffered as a child, he admits. After hearing the track, “she came back," he says, to ask him what the song was about. ‘"I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s about the abuse thing.’ She was like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Mumford reveals. “So once we get through the trauma of that moment for her, as a mother, hearing that and her wanting to protect and help and all that stuff, it’s objectively f***ing hilarious to tell your mom about your abuse in a f***ing song, of all things," he adds.

That uncomfortable but necessary conversation with his mother would end up serving as the inspiration for the record's second track, "Grace."

“That thing that happened when I was six, that was the first of a string of really unusual, unhealthy sexual experiences at a really early age," Mumford continues. "And for some reason, and I can’t really understand why, I didn’t become a perpetrator of sexual abuse—although I’ve done my fair share of c***ish behavior.” He adds, a “string of really unhealthy s*** when I was under the age of 12, which set my brain up in a way to deal with stuff later on in life in an imbalanced way. And so the last three years has just been trying to look at that and correct some balance."

After finishing up his Delta Tour with Mumford & Sons in 2018-19, Marcus detailed his decision to attend trauma therapy. “I’d had problems breathing all my life. Not asthma but just, like, catching my breath,” he says. Adding, “I’d had the people closest to me hold up a mirror and say, like, ‘Dude, something’s not right here and it’s your responsibility to go figure it out.’”

Therapy did help him exorcise some of those traumas, quite literally, with Mumford admitting he had thrown up when talking about his childhood. “Apparently, it’s very common," he says, "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.”

Read the full interview right here and be sure to grab your tickets now to see Marcus Mumford on his headlining North American tour in support of (Self-titled), kicking off with two dates in Colorado in September, continuing through November 10 in Toronto, Canada with stops in major cities along the way.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images