Marcus Mumford reveals he was sexually abused aged six on release of debut solo single
In his debut solo single, Cannibal, Mumford, 35, details his childhood trauma.
The first verse of the track begins: “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”.
The musician, married to actress Carey Mulligan, opened up about the song’s meaning to GQ.
The singer said: “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.”
He added that it was “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’s parents were international leaders of the Vineyard Churches, a neocharismatic evangelical Christian denomination with musical ties. The family moved from England to California in the 1980s to work with the church.
The singer details in the interview how he finished the Mumford & Sons 2018 Delta tour at “rock bottom” and soon attended trauma therapy.
He also revealed he has had trouble with breathing throughout his life: “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.’
“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,” Mumford said after he threw up during his second therapy session when talking about his childhood experiences.
He added: “I’d had problems breathing all my life. Not asthma but just, like, catching my breath.”
The 35-year-old explained that it was “the first of a string of really unusual, unhealthy sexual experiences at a really early age. 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 behaviour.”
Mumford shared how he spent his life “in layers of shame. And it probably started there when I was six, but I just got kind of addicted to shame, layers and layers of shame, which is why I feel now like I’ve done lots of figuring that out.”
The Cave singer played his debut solo track for his mother, Eleanor, for the first time which prompted her to ask him what it was about.
He said: “‘It’s about the abuse thing.’
“She was like, ‘What are you talking about?’
“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*****g hilarious to tell your mum about your abuse in a f******g song, of all things.”
Cannibal was then placed as the first track on Mumford’s self-titled solo debut album and then he went on to write Grace, the second track, about the conversation he had with his mother.
The father-of-two remarked that after the shame came a new feeling: “I feel kind of free, more free than I have in a long time.”
Marcus Mumford’s debut album for his solo career will be released in September and feature guests such as Clairo, Phoebe Bridgers, Brandi Carlile, and Monica Martin.