Marcus Mumford revealed in a new interview with GQ magazine that he was sexually abused when he was 6 years old. The abuse and the resulting trauma make up the backbone of Mumford’s upcoming solo album, “Self-Titled,” and its lead single, “Cannibal.” The song, which got an iPhone-shot music video directed by Steven Spielberg, includes lyrics such as “I can still taste you and I hate it / That wasn’t a choice in the mind of a child and you knew it.”
“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 said. “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 “Cannibal” is how Mumford ended up telling his own mother about his abuse. “She came back: ‘Can I ask what that song’s about?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s about the abuse thing.’ She was like, ‘What are you talking about?’” he said. “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 fucking hilarious to tell your mom about your abuse in a fucking song, of all things.”
Mumford’s conversation with his mother about his abuse as a child is the inspiration behind his solo album’s second track, “Grace.” The singer said the emotional fallout from his abuse lasted years.
“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. 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 cuntish behavior,” Mumford said. “String of really unhealthy shit 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.”
“Self-titled” is scheduled for release on Sept. 16.