It was his public persona, however, that inspired his latest effort. March’s After Hours, his first disc since 2016’s Starboy, earned him six nominations for the Aug. 30 MTV Music Video Awards, including Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for “Blinding Lights,” which he’ll no doubt perform as he claims the spotlight during the virtual broadcast.
“So, this is about the darkest time of my entire life, around 2013, 2014,” he told Variety of the album. ”I was getting really, really tossed up and going through a lot of personal stuff. I got arrested in Vegas.” Revisiting his “real rock-star era” wasn’t the easiest, he continued, ”I didn’t want to…but sometimes you try to run away from who you are, and you always get back to that place. By the end of this album, you realize, ‘I’m not that person.’ I was, but I’m growing and wiser, and I’m gonna have children someday, and I’m going to tell them they don’t have to be that person.”