I’ve done a lot of crying
Professor Green opens up to John Bishop about his difficult childhood and his dad’s suicide…
John Bishop: In Conversation with…
Stephen Manderson is best known as the award-winning rapper Professor Green. But behind his success lies a series of tragedies, starting with his childhood in East London, as he tells John Bishop.
‘There was a lot of conflict,’ says Stephen. ‘My mum was 16, my dad was 18, neither of them had a clue. My mum had done a runner by the time I was one and I was left at my nan’s house.’
Stephen was brought up by his grandmother Pat, but his chaotic childhood left him with anxiety and depression, which was exacerbated when his dad, Peter, took his own life in 2008 and Stephen had to identify his body.
‘He was so kind, so caring but so damaged,’ says Stephen, who has supported the Royal Family’s Heads Together campaign that deals with mental-health issues.
‘There’s actually a strength in admitting your vulnerabilities – I’ve done a lot of crying,’ he says. ‘The last time I saw my dad was in a dream. I was holding this kite and it was really windy and he said, “What you holding on for? Sometimes you’ve just gotta let go.” It gave me a different perspective.’
It’s good to talk… Professor Green (right) with John. Inset: The singer as a child with his dad