Macklemore Opened Up About How His Relapse During COVID Inspired His Upcoming Album

Macklemore is set to drop his new album, Ben, next month. Ahead of the album’s impending release, the rapper stopped by The Kelly Clarkson Show, where he opened up about the creation of the deeply personal record.

During his interview, Macklemore revealed that much of Ben is inspired by his relapse, which took place in the summer of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was an intense time. The life that I knew, just like all of our lives, was stripped away. I’m used to a certain schedule of touring, of being gone, of being home, of recovery and being able to go to a physical 12-step meeting,” he said. “That stopped during COVID. Eventually, I’m on Instagram while being on Zoom and I’m just not really paying attention to the meetings. Eventually — and this is what happens when I don’t prioritize my recovery — if I don’t put that first, then I will lose everything that I’m putting in front of it. That’s what happens.”

Macklemore has long been open about his struggles with alcoholism and substance abuse. He first checked into rehab in August 2008. He has previously revealed he relapsed once in 2011 and again in 2014.

Today, he has been sober for nearly three years, and while he said that his relapse, which only lasted a few weeks, played a role in the making of this album, he does not want to have to rely on painful or traumatic moments to create his art.

“I think that pain is a catalyst for great art,” he said. “I don’t want to inflict the pain on myself anymore to make art. It’s not like I need to self-sabotage in order to create, but I think that it created some darker, more honest, and vulnerable moments on the album.”

You can check out the interview above.

Ben is out 3/3 via Bendo LLC. You can pre-save it here.