These last several years have been extremely difficult for Louis Tomlinson. In 2016, the One Direction star's mother, Johannah Deakin, died after a long battle with leukemia. This past March, his sister Félicité died of an accidental overdose. Understandably, Tomlinson needed time to process and grieve before returning to the spotlight. And after releasing his new single, "Kill My Mind," earlier this month, the singer opened up to The Guardian about those painful deaths for the first time and how they've influenced his music and life, in general.
In the interview, Tomlinson spoke candidly about "Two of Us" — a song he wrote after the death of his mother — and why releasing such a raw and emotional song about their relationship was so important to him. "After I lost my mum, every song I wrote felt, not pathetic, but that it lacked true meaning to me," he said. "I felt that, as a songwriter, I wasn't going to move on until I'd written a song like that."
For the first time, Tomlinson wasn't writing a song with the hope that it would rapidly climb up the pop charts. Instead, he was writing from a place of grief, and the process of making "Two of Us" was not only personal, but therapeutic. "It was like the song I always wished I'd written," he said. "I went in and put my personal touch to the verses. It was a real moment for me in my grief, and as part of the creative process, because it felt like it was hanging over me."
Now, Tomlinson feels that all of the darkness he's been through has only made him stronger. "It sounds stupid to say, but it gives me strength everywhere else in my life, because that's the darkest shit that I'm going to have to deal with," he said. "So it makes everything else, not feel easier and not less important, but, in the grand scheme of things, you see things for what they are, I suppose."
In addition to "being able to see the glass half-full," Tomlinson doesn't want people to feel sorry for him. "That’s not how I feel for myself," he said, adding that everything he's been through somehow "fuels" him to do better. "there's no time for me to be sat feeling sorry for myself. I've been to rock bottom and I feel like, whatever my career's going to throw in front of me, it's going to be nothing as big or as emotionally heavy as that. So, weirdly, I've turned something that's really dark into something that empowers me, makes me stronger."
Still, Tomlinson knows that the loss of his mother and sister wasn't just hard on him, but on his fans, too. "We’ve been through some dark times together and those things I've been through, they carry a weight, emotionally, on the fans as well," he said. But even now, he's stunned by all of the loving messages from fans during that very dark time. "I felt their love and support," he said. "I remember really clearly when I lost my mum, that support was mad." As a result, Tomlinson feels closer to fans than ever before. "So many people have bullshitted about what they feel about the fans," he said. "But they're like family to me."