Famed producer Timbaland has come out to Rolling Stone Magazine in a candid new interview regarding his personal experience with addiction and battling depression. Timbaland explains that his addiction began when he was prescribed the medication in his 30’s for nerve tissue damage that was the result of a gunshot wound he received as a teenager. He began using them more frequently until it became an addiction. It became an addiction as his depression set in. His chart success was in decline and in turn he used the medication to block out his pain.
“Music is a gift and curse,” he told Rolling Stone. “Once you’re not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise – I’d just sleep all day. I remember Jay-Z told me one time, ‘Don’t do no more interviews’ – because I was saying crazy s**t.”
As well as seeming unstable in interviews, Timbaland began recklessly spending. He blew threw a significant amount of his savings during his struggle with addiction and says it played a huge part in the destruction of his own marriage.
His current girlfriend Michelle can attest to his struggle and said his addiction was so out of control she was afraid he would die in his sleep. “I’d put my hand right by his nose, just to see if he was still breathing,” she noted.
Timbaland knew it was time to change when he faced a near fatal overdose. “All I can tell you is that there was a light. I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater,” he recalled. “But through that whole thing I saw life – I saw where I would be if I don’t change, and where I could be if I did.” The next day, he began to detox and hasn’t touched the pills since. “I didn’t want to be old and taking these pills.”
He says he’s now speaking up because of the overwhelming public amounts of deaths in the entertainment industry due to the opioid epidemic. As for the discussion regarding the new generation of artists’ interest in recording “drug music,” he suggested that it’s a product of their everyday life. “I came from the era of drug dealers ,” he added. “Now we’re in the era of drug users. These kids come from a place where they don’t have money, don’t have a real home. It affects them, and you hear it in the music.”
Today, he’s back in the gym and 40 pounds lighter. He’s also back in the music game, having just finished working on Justin Timberlake’s newest project.
Also published on Medium.