"He intended to kill me. It really spun me out"
Lily Allen has spoken out about the ‘isolating’ experience of dealing with life after the arrest of her stalker – and how it has shaped her upcoming new album, ‘No Shame’.
In 2016, it emerged that the singer and activist had been harassed by a stalker for over seven years. She very vocally criticised the police for their handling of the case, arguing that it was like “hitting a brick wall”. Alex Gray, 33 from Perth in Tayside, was caught after sending abusive letters, spending nights in her garden and breaking into her home. He was given an indeterminate hospital order.
Now in a new interview with the George Ezra & Friends podcast, Allen revealed how she “doesn’t know how she’d communicate without the medium of music”, and how her stalker ordeal forced her to withdraw from her friends and loved ones while making the new record.
“I had a stalker about two and a half years ago, and it was a really horrendous experience,” Allen told Ezra. “He broke into my house, and it later transpired that he did intend to kill me. That really spun me out.
“It wasn’t validated by the police, they just tried to play it down. It wasn’t until the trial that I found out was his intentions were. Because of the lack of validation from the police, I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it – not even my friends or my family. When a crime is committed, their point of reference to how serious it is, is how the police take it.”
After police repeatedly told her “not to be scared” rather than relaying the true gravity of the situation, Allen found herself unable to communicate with others about coming to terms with the events. As a result, her lyrics on ‘No Shame’ became “observational but insular”, and “honest but different to the other [albums] because it’s looking in, rather than out”.
“I just became incredibly isolated,” Allen continued. “I cut off from everybody. I was spending all of my time at home. I slept a lot, I cried a lot. I was going to the studio to work, but I think that all of my music has always been about my lived experiences.”
She added: “While I haven’t really written about that experience, on previous albums I wrote about what I was seeing; that was me being out in the world and socialising, and having relationships and friendships. I covered all of those things. This time I wasn’t. I was at home on my own. “
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Meanwhile, her memoir My Thoughts Exactly is expected to be out in the Autumn.