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Grime superstar Stormzy credits Tipton for changing his life by setting him up for global success

International grime superstar Stormzy has revealed he found the meaning of life in Tipton.

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Louis Theroux and rapper Stormzy

The Croydon-born rapper told Louis Theroux he came to a realisation whilst in the Sandwell town which would be "key" in his journey to success.

In his first interview for two years the multi-award winner, whose real name is Michael Omari, described how he managed to escape a life of crime and violence as a young man.

He had been stabbed several times, hospitalised after gang fights, had friends killed and ended up in court charged with carrying an offensive weapon.

But an apprenticeship and a spell in Tipton changed his life.

Stormzy said: "The key thing happened when I was in Tipton, we were welding, I took off my hard hat and this was close to the time I got stabbed.

"At that time I had a long scar, like a T shape. And someone came along and asked what happened, and I said 'I got stabbed'.

"I just remembered all the looks on their faces, they were like 'whaaat?' But I was like 'this isn't even that deep, man'. I was like an artefact in a museum, they were staring at me.

"I will never forget. I was explaining ‘I got stabbed here, there, there’. They had faces of horror and that’s when it dawned on me. Where I come from is mad. Of course it’s shocking I’ve been stabbed. Of course it shouldn’t be normal.”

The 29-year-old explained the apprenticeship helped him understand other people and other cultures.

He said: "I was on the ends with my bredrins (friends) and I applied for an apprenticeship and then had to go to Leamington Spa.

"And then I was living with 17 other kids, and they were all white kids, from Scotland, Yorkshire, Newcastle. I had no idea about banter, about not taking yourself seriously.

"I came out of that, I realised I could take a joke, I realised there was another culture outside of my culture, and see another world."

The rapper believes his success in the music business stemmed from his experience as an apprentice. He went on to sell millions of records and headline Glastonbury, and has now set up a scholarship schemes for youngsters from his community to go to Cambridge University.

Friar Park Councillor Simon Hackett helps young people in Tipton and Sandwell find work and training with Juniper Training, and was delighted with Stormzy's glowing endorsement of apprenticeships.

He said: "Apprenticeships are a fantastic alternative to college or sixth form for young people to kick start their working lives.

"Not only will they get practical work experience, they will also be learning and earning at the same time."

He added: "We need more employers in our area to be offering apprenticeship opportunities to our young people to give them the best start in adult life."

Watch the full Stormzy interview here.