Elton John says addiction struggles made him want to help other musicians: ‘You learn to pass the message on’

Musician is known for supporting young artists in their careers

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 03 December 2021 10:41
Ed Sheeran and Elton John announce Christmas song

Elton John has explained why he feels compelled to try and help fellow musicians struggling with drugs and alcohol abuse.

Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show, which airs tomorrow night (Friday 4 December) on ITV, the musician said he became emotional when reflecting on Rocketman, the 2019 film that includes depictions of his own struggles with addiction.

“I had a lot of support when I was ill and [in] rehab,” he said. “You support your friends through thick and thin. I had a lot of support when I went through the thin end of the wedge and I never forget that.”

He said he’d recently spoken with “two or three” artists and offered them his support: “They’re doing OK, doing really well.”

“I’m a recovering alcoholic. [You learn to] pass the message on and help people when you can,” he said. “You call them up and give them some support. That’s what happened to me... people were so kind to me.”

In a similar way, John also said he uses his Rocket Hour radio show on Apple Music to “keep in the loop with new artists” and also provide them with a platform, after he was championed at the beginning of his career by older artists including Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond.

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in the 2019 biopic 'Rocketman'

“All these people who were heroes to me and were so nice to me,” he said. “That kind of verification means so much to you. [You think], ‘If they think I’m OK then I may be OK’.

“That taught me to say, ‘Listen if that happens to you, you’ve got to give it back to someone else when you get older.’ It’s part and parcel of who I am.”

Among John’s mentees is British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, with whom he just released a new holiday song, “Merry Christmas”. He has also collaborated recently with Years and Years and Rina Sawayama.

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The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday at 10.30pm on ITV.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

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