Leon Bridges: I needed alcohol to perform but I was never an alcoholic

Leon Bridges during filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks in London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday. PRESS
Leon Bridges during filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks in London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION. Picture date: Thursday May 17, 2018. Photo credit should read: PA Images on behalf of So TV

American soul singer Leon Bridges has said he needed alcohol to perform live – but denied he was ever an alcoholic.

The Texan singer-songwriter said that at his worst he was drinking between five and 10 shots as well as a beer each day.

The 30-year-old told ES Magazine he had only used alcohol to make himself “less self-aware” when he was on stage.

Barack and Michelle Obama
Leon Bridges said alcohol made him less self-aware (Isabel Infantes/PA)

However, the Grammy-nominee said a tight friendship group had helped him overcome his dependence, and he had subsequently cut back on the amount of whisky he asks for on his rider.

He told the magazine: “I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic, but for me, I couldn’t perform without drinking because it made me less self-aware when I was on stage.

“It was just one of those things that, with the lifestyle, was just so easy, like, to drink every day.

“When I was out it was usually five to 10 shots, a beer, and that was happening every day. Maybe a couple of shots before the show, then after the show, more drinking. Then when I’m at home, more.

Obamas to produce podcast with Spotify
Leon Bridges played for Barack Obama at the White House (Chris Jackson/PA)

“So I made new rules when I was like, okay, don’t drink during the week.

“Because there have been moments in the past when I’d literally get drunk, and get super emotional and start bawling, because I’m bottling up all this anxiety because of all my insecurities.”

Bridges shot to fame with his 2015 debut album Coming Home and has since toured with Mumford & Sons.

He was one of a clutch of musicians chosen to perform for Barack Obama at the White House.

However, he hinted that he viewed current president Donald Trump less favourably.

He said: “No one cared about politics until the orange man, I miss a president who can dance, or who had flavour.

“I’ve never been huge into politics, you know what I’m saying? But it’s crazy that I was able to play for and meet the first black president.”

The full interview appears in this week’s edition of ES Magazine, out now.


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