Lil Nas X made history last year with his breakthrough single, “Old Town Road.”

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The 20-year-old received six nods from the Recording Academy and spoke to Variety about his quick rise to success. “So much happened during my rise,” X said noting the sudden deaths of Nipsey Hussle and Juice WRLD. “You know, drugs and murders. And my grandmother passing [in 2018]— she was the first person close to me who died. It was devastating. And it made me a hypochondriac: I’d wake up, heart racing. It was scary.” He began heavily smoking weed to cope with the death but felt more connected to the universe.

Lil Nas also shared some unknown facts about his personal life, like his mother battling drug addiction. “I never really talk about my mom. She’s an addict so we don’t have the closest relationship,” he said. “Even trying to get her better — things didn’t quite work out. But there’s still love… The biggest surprise of becoming globally famous? On the outside, everybody loves you — but on the inside, everything [feels] the same.”


In September 2019 Lil Nas X announced that he was taking a break from music after canceling two festival appearances. “I wanted to do more performances last year, but it didn’t go as planned and I didn’t have confidence,” he said. The time off wasn’t particularly helpful. “I would start to overthink it all and I’d get overwhelmed. Like, what song should I put out next? Or should I put out multiple songs? Or how do I prove this person wrong?”