Novelist: Stabbed at 13, then mum told me 'pick your lane'

Novelist at the Mercury Awards Image copyright Getty Images

When Novelist was 13 he was stabbed in the chest, puncturing one of his lungs and leaving him "very angry".

10 years later he's a Mercury Prize-nominated MC with a residency on BBC Radio 1Xtra.

But the Lewisham artist says his life could have been very different "if I decided to act on how I felt at the time".

"Me and my brother on my birthday were just sitting here saying, 'Rah fam - you could have been a memorial today'."

The 23-year-old was reflecting on how the choices we make - or sometimes don't - can change the "whole trajectory of your life".

Image caption Novelist's mum Dee features during a segment of each of his radio shows

"The thing is, just off of one person's actions things can go really left," Novelist said in conversation with mum Dee on his 1Xtra show.

"I feel like there's wisdom in responding in the right way."

They used his own story as an example.

"Your lung was punctured," Dee said. "But it was then you were at a crossroads where you had to make a choice of, 'do I act on my anger? Do I act on what I think I'm entitled to do? Or do I think long-term?'"

Novelist suggested that without Dee things could have gone very differently.

"I definitely did need that influence to show me that I have a choice," he said. "A lot of people feel like they don't have a choice."

'You need to pick your lane'

Dee, who's also her son's manager, revealed a conversation she'd had with a young Nov and his siblings.

"I said to you all, 'Right, you're getting to an age now where you're going to start seeing people go in different lanes. You're gonna start seeing some people do well, some people pass away, some people do road'.

"All of that has happened - and the point was, you need to pick your lane."

"I know the roads are risky for a lot of young people," she added. "But I want young people to know - I want everybody to know - that even in a situation that looks dire you still have a choice."

Novelist referenced his video for No Weapons as a "sad" example of people not stopping to question their actions.

It follows someone who wants revenge and thinks they're in control of a situation - until they end up being the person injured and in hospital.

"Which is standard. It's way more common than these youts out here think. You can think that you're the perpetrator in a situation until it backfires, which no-one plans for."

The MC suggested that sometimes things not going your way can be seen as a sign.

"Sometimes you've got to even look to the sky and say, 'Cool God, you're showing me that I have a choice'. You've got to pay attention to that choice."

You can listen to Novelist's full show on BBC Sounds.

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