Dave “refuses” to make too many albums because making music “takes so much out” of him.
The rapper’s first album Psychodrama heavily featured references to his brother Christopher, who is in jail for murder.
His new record We’re All Alone in This Together is inspired by his immigrant mother.
Reflecting on the challenges of pouring so much of himself into his work, Dave explained: “I just play my position. I’m so empathetic. I feel sad about everything. I’m such an emotional guy and that is a skill…
“My stories hurt. Relationships? Painful. They’re not going well. Mum’s story, migration. I can’t do many albums. I can’t. I refuse. It takes so much out of me.”
However, the hitmaker has his sights set on being “a star” so he’s able to be a role model for young people.
He told Observer magazine: “I want to be the soundtrack for kids’ lives. I want them to think, ‘Whatever is going on — he’s here for me.’ “That’s why (the success) of this record is so beautiful. Because I want to transition into being a star. I never wanted to be a star — I’ve always been little brother, low-key.
“But I want to be a star now, because words have a gravitas when you are one. I need to be a living example to the kids.”
Dave’s new song “Heart Attack” is about his life so far and ends with a recording of his Nigerian mother Juliet, a nurse, crying over how she’s been treated in the U.K.
Although the track has been released, the musician admitted he’s still not sure if it was “right” to include the sample.
“I was having a conversation with my mom in my house,” he mused. “And I was recording it, because I was looking for inspiration for this album. She just started crying. Sometimes I wonder if it was right to include it.
“But that pain? My mom is a good person. A nurse. She don’t trouble nobody. People need to hear it, because it’s deeper than rap. All the different things behind a simple sentence like, ‘Go back to your country’? This is how it affects real people.”