‘My Trauma Was Toxic’


Jordan Stephens has come a prolonged approach given his Rizzle Kicks days. Since apropos a domicile name as one half of a British cocktail duo, his tour from immature cocktail star to a 27-year-old solo artist and mental-health romantic he is currently has been a scattered one – full of unpleasant self-discovery, a friend’s suicide, a harmful break-up, battling with basin – all a while being in a scrutinising open eye. Throughout this period, he suffered from a drug obsession – a coping resource he recognises now as a product of his sourroundings where men, as a outcome of hyper-masculinity, weren’t articulate about their struggles or feelings.

© Prexa Shrestha

“If you’ve had a formidable upbringing or have had a unpleasant experience, we lift that mishap with we for a rest of your life. It’s tough to reckon with, and a fact that organisation don’t feel like they can speak or bargain with mishap gets projected after in insinuate relationships, that in misfortune box scenarios, leads to suicide. My mishap was poisonous given of that, and this is since we speak about gender and hypergamy. we wasn’t, as a male, speedy to bargain with pain or to speak about my emotions,” he reveals.

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In 2016, he expelled strain underneath a organisation ‘Wildhood’ – a duration where his drug obsession was during a rise as he admits, “I was mashed. If we was unhappy or angry, I’d be celebration and holding drugs. we don’t remember ever listening to a whole album.” In recognising his self-destruction, sabotaging his attribute with friends, he motionless to spin his life around by saying a therapist and removing sober.

© Prexa Shrestha

After a 3 year hiatus, Jordan finally creates his lapse to strain with his solo EP P.I.G (Pain Is Good) – the EP’s pretension alone baring a abyss and deepness of his romantic tour of self find as good as his ongoing goal to inspire conversations around mental health among organisation by dismantling hyper-masculinity and machoism.

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“It’s a initial plan I’ve finished sober, where I’m not perplexing to quarrel something external,” he explained. “Obviously, we don’t wish for people to go by pain, though it’s good for people to knowledge it. we cruise that organisation have been lifted in a universe where if something bad happens, we equivocate it emotionally by distracting yourself. For me, we avoided pain by seeking validation by sex and intimacy. But I’ve realised that a some-more peaceful we are to knowledge pain, a some-more we grow as a person. So, we wish pain, we need pain. Imagine going by life though carrying lived any pain? It’s a life not lived.”

© Phoebe Cowley

The five-track EP, Jordan reveals, explores adore and a multiple, distinct lessons schooled from his stream and longest relationship, as he confesses, “I find adore fucking hard. we never saw joining or partnership flourishing adult and so we have zero to go off from.”

Each lane is achingly honest, ripping with flavours of hip-hop with pockets of humour. He explores all from confronting his cognisance issues in “Found In Space” to recognising a act of carrying an evidence with someone and how it can mostly be about carrying an evidence with oneself in “Thunder”, to usurpation one’s darkest moments in “Shadow Love”, to bargain that amatory to give and listening to a partner in “Teach Me” – a strain he humorously reveals is about verbal sex, nonetheless some-more sincerely touches on agree in an bid to idle a tarnish around a act that some organisation cruise submissive, to interrogating hypergamy in his satirical, passionless delivered song, “WDYWFM” (Why Don’t You Want To Fuck Me?).

The EP is excellent in many respects, though what’s transparently endearing however, is that a origination and a biggest doctrine schooled is not from being in adore with someone else, though in carrying found adore within himself, as Jordan reveals, it was his therapist that speedy him to “write from a place of love,” rather than branch to his darkest pains.

During Jordan’s three-year interregnum from music, he became a romantic and heading figure in campaigning for mental health: letter a intense essay, published by The Guardian on his possess struggles and lamentation towards a preconceived ideas of masculinity that has conditioned a miss of disadvantage among men. He has given led talks, feminist panels, festivals, created a book, I’m A Pussy, started his possess mental health debate #IAMWHOLE and a podcast Whole Truth that aims to inspire people to normalise a review around mental health.

“Writing that [Guardian] square was me literally quantifying an unimaginable volume of pain that only so happened to come about a same time as #MeToo. we saw a together between my possess unhappiness and a mortal cycles that we saw organisation go through, as a outcome of a patriarchy.”

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© Phoebe Cowley

Does he cruise that swell has been made?

“There’s a opposite discourse for sure. But there’s still outrageous gaps to be filled in a approach we speak about masculinity or how organisation speak to any other. When some organisation open up, they get called ‘gay’ or a ‘pussy’ that is not okay. we see my friends being means to feel gentle to call people out on it, though a discourse needs some-more improvement.”

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© Prexa Shrestha

And what can we do?

“We need to build a romantic resilience. we schooled that a tough approach by sitting in pain. It was fucking awful and it roughly consumed me, though it didn’t and now I’m here. Men have a shortcoming to check in with any other. That’s a evident thing anyone can do. we have lots of good masculine friendships and we don’t cruise they’re given adequate shine, given there’s this rival appetite and despotic thought of what masculinity is that breeds a fear of being seen as weak. But disadvantage breeds connection. There’s a genuine miss of cognisance within a masculine community. We need some-more – a hug, a touch. we don’t cruise there’s adequate femininity in a universe right now, though we recognize that ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ are subjective. we do cruise that masculinity is an countenance of femininity where organisation should be some-more in hold with and demonstrate their femininity. It’s all fluid. Really, we cruise androgyny is a future.”

Listen to P.I.G (Pain Is Good) out now on a Miss Vogue Playlist:

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