Lewis Capaldi opens up about Tourette’s diagnosis on Leighton Clarke Tic-Heads podcast
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Lewis Capaldi has appeared on award-winning New Zealand-based podcast Tic-Heads to speak about his experience with Tourette’s. Lewis, 26 from Glasgow, opened up to co-host Leighton Clarke, who also has the syndrome.
Tourette’s is a neurological condition causing a person to make involuntary movements and sounds called tics. Tics are fast, repetitive muscle movements that cause sudden body jerks or sounds.
The ‘Wish You the Best’ singer began by describing how he used to have certain tics when he was younger including blinking a lot and smelling his hands “all the time”. He wasn’t diagnosed until September 2022 aged 25, with the typical diagnosis age being between the ages of two and 14.
His diagnosis was a key part of Lewis’ Netflix documentary ‘How I’m Feeling Now,’ which explores his physical and mental health on his journey to write his second album under immense pressure. As Lewis’ success has grown, as has his anxiety, which manifested as physical tics.
“As I got bigger with my music, my anxiety would get worse, and I noticed when I was getting anxiety I was twitching; my neck goes to the left and my shoulder goes up,” he said.
On the topic of his documentary, Leighton commended Lewis for pushing through on stage so as not to let his fans down, with Lewis saying that pushing through is the only way to get through it.
“I’ve been looking online for how to stop it, but situations are always going to arise where you’re more stressed, excited,” Lewis said. “I guess I’m lucky because I have the luxury of choosing; if my tics were so bad one night that I couldn’t move, I could cancel a gig.
“I’ve been seeing a lot about kids who have got it who have to go to school, and it is so mental that there’s not more spoken about it because it must be so hard for kids who have got it bad; it must be a nightmare sometimes.”
While performing a show in Chicago in April, Lewis’ Tourette’s took over, and he was unable to continue with his performance. Fans finished the concert for Lewis by singing his hit song ‘Someone You Loved,’ which he later thanked fans for on social media.
Speaking to Leighton about the concert, Lewis described how he was “on the floor,” “couldn’t move” and his whole body was jittering. He compared the experience to feeling like he was having a seizure.
As Tourette’s can often manifest as verbal outbursts, including sometimes inappropriate words including profanity, the severity of the disorder can often be down played.
“A lot of people think it’s this funny thing; they don’t realise how serious it can be and [people] find it hard to get backing [from organisations],” Lewis said.
Lewis appearance on the show comes just before the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album ‘Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent,’ which came out on May 19.