James Blake: Pop’s heartbreak kid breaks out

Given he’s spent much of the last decade writing songs about isolation, loneliness and the hunger for personal connection, James Blake figured he was well prepared to make music about the atomising effects of worldwide lockdown. “I felt like I’d been one of those preppers boiling chicken and putting it into jars for the last 20 years, ready for the apocalypse,” says the Enfield-born 32-year-old, speaking over Zoom from the light and airy home in the Hollywood Hills he shares with his partner, the actor Jameela Jamil. “I was super prepared to talk about it and to talk about mental health in general, but I also wasn’t really ready for how I’d react to lockdown myself.”

The couple spent the first month of the pandemic watching a new disaster movie every night, “Dante’s Peak, all the hits,” because it felt like the only way to externalise what was going on out in the world. Blake continued to write music at home, but it quickly became impossible to ignore just how much had really changed. “I had already been in a version of self-imposed lockdown, but there were things stopping me from slipping into depression, old habits and addictions,” he says. “When lockdown happened, those anchors to the real world suddenly weren’t there any more. I felt like I was plunged into a completely featureless landscape where I didn’t have anything to hold on to.”

Continue reading at British GQ.