Stormzy on getting a piano lesson from Paul McCartney: 'What he taught me was incredible'

British rapper is about to release his autobiography, 'Rise Up'

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Sunday 28 October 2018 12:34
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Stormzy has revealed what it was like getting a piano lesson from Sir Paul McCartney.

The British grime star met the Beatles icon after an intimate show McCartney played at Abbey Road, where Stormzy apparently sought advice to help advance the sound of his music.

“He’s (Stormzy) looking to advance his music,” Paul told The Sunday Times in September. “As a rapper, I thought he’d have words down, but there was a piano, so I showed him basic stuff – how you get middle C, make a chord, a triad and, just by moving that, get D minor, E minor, F, G, A minor, and how that’s enough for anyone.”

“I was just so compelled, in the presence of someone that great, to get advice — anything for my career an OG [original gangster] like him can give me,” Stormzy told the publication, in a new interview. “But I know the stigma that comes with being a rapper, so I introduced myself as a songwriter: ‘Can you teach me something?’

"He went to the piano, and I just thought, ‘Shut up, listen.’ What he taught me was incredible. He said, ‘Use these three chords, and make any song.’ I was, like, ‘Flipping heck!’”

Stormzy is about to release his autobiography, Rise Up, which is being published by Penguin Books on 1 November.

"In four years Stormzy has risen from one of the most promising musicians of his generation to a spokesperson for a generation," the synopsis reads. "Rise Up is the story of how he got there. It’s a story about faith and the ideas worth fighting for. It’s about knowing where you’re from, and where you’re going. It’s about following your dreams without compromising who you are."

The book will feature never-before-seen photographs, annotated lyrics, and contributions from his friends and collaborators.

Stormzy also recently announced a partnership with Penguin Random House to launch his new publishing imprint, #Merky Books.

It is the latest addition to the grime star's expanding #Merky empire, which already includes a music festival and a record label.

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Stormzy said he was “super proud” of the collaboration, writing on Instagram: “We will be using this as a platform for young writers to become published authors.

“I know too many talented writers that don't always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen and hopefully #Merky Books can now be a reference point for them to say 'I can be an author' and for that to be a realistic and achievable goal.”

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