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Lewis Capaldi: The epitome of emotional intelligence

Unless you’ve been wiped off the face of the earth, I’m sure you have heard of the new celebrity superstar on everyone’s lips: Lewis Capaldi. The Scottish Beyonce has taken the world by storm by having everyone talking and laughing with his outrageous Instagram videos and hilarious interviews. This post is going to explain why the young Scot is so likeable, from a psychological perspective!

Capaldi hit major fame after his hit single ‘Someone you Loved’ topped the Irish and UK charts. The general public were exposed to his raspy voice hitting high notes and they liked what they heard. His other music was deemed consistently as impressive as his first chart topper and Capaldi’s supremacy spread like wildfire. However, there was one exception; Capaldi didn’t look like your classic pop star. He didn’t have the dashing good looks. The 6pack. The model material that we are all so used to. He was just a normal guy from a small town outside Glasgow. How could he ever keep a fan base in a world of models and good looks? Through humour, honesty and pride in himself. Capaldi has the likability factor because it seems the money and fame has not changed who he was before. Despite having sold out gigs and an award winning album, he continues to post videos taking the piss out of himself, clogging a toilet and working at Greggs. He told the BBC “I don’t see myself as a pop star”.

This lack of change then emphasises a favourable behaviour. Lewis is just following his passion. He is making music because he enjoys it. Not for the money and not for the fame. In one interview, he explains that he first performed when he was 4 and ever since he sang Queen that day, he wanted to be a singer. However, he didn’t talk about it. He continuously wrote music and he learned how to play the guitar through his teens to get where he is now. He made short term and long term goals and he admits that he is surprised he actually got acknowledged so early on. Furthermore, Capaldi has stated in several interviews that he does not expect the fame to last. He stated that he would have been happy to be a music teacher and that is still the aim. He is keeping his own aims and expectations and he is not getting carried away from what others expect from him. If he sets realistic aims for himself, then he is more likely to achieve them. As well as this, he is simply living in the present. He is enjoying what he has right now and he is embracing it. Fantastic emotional intelligence.

Then cue Noel Gallagher. In our workshops, we teach the children that bullying is like a game. It is them against the bully and the way the bully wins the game is by you showing negative emotions. Therefore, the bully says stuff to put you down, just like Noel Gallagher calling Lewis Capaldi a nobody and Chewbacca. Therefore, the person being bullied can win the game if you don’t show negative emotions or better again, if you show positive emotions. You will probably feel negative emotions at the time but you need to win the game to stop the bullying happening. The main reason I chose to write this post is because of Lewis Capaldi’s response to Noel Gallagher calling him Chewbacca. It brought me back to a bully picking on another child in school. And of course, Capaldi replied in the best way possible, coming onto the TRANSMT stage wearing a Chewbacca mask and a t shirt with a love heart around Noel Gallagher's face. He responded with positive emotions such as amusement. If you take the piss out of yourself, then other people can't do it for you. His likability went through the roof after this because he represented the underdog standing up to the bully, and he clearly won. Wonderful emotional intelligence.

Capaldi is also balancing the five ways of well being despite having a busy schedule. He travels with his friends that he had before he gained such notoriety, therefore staying connected. In relation to staying active, he seems to have lost weight while on tour and I’m sure as he gigs throughout the world, he’s learning loads. He is showing gratitude in every interview and concert for the support he is getting and he is constantly appreciating the present moment, therefore staying in sync with taking notice.

Finally, let’s discuss his music. There’s a theme: sadness. In dialectical behavioural therapy, there is a term known as emotional tolerance. In acceptance and commitment therapy, it is advised to accept and embrace uncomfortable emotions. And in clinical psychology, there is a term known as validation. These all refer to the concept of learning to sit with sadness and take something from it. If we try to push it away straight away, the struggle will cause us more harm than the emotion itself. If we can sit with it and try and understand it or express it correctly, then it can actually be helpful. So what does this have to do with Lewis Capaldi? He did one interview where he describes the beauty of wallowing in sadness. He emphasises the importance of melancholy and he expresses it through his music. He doesn’t push it away or try to replace it with happiness all the time. He listens to the messages his brain sends him and he makes sense of them through one of the most complex but beautiful forms of expression: Music. This then resonates with others' sadness and helps them sit with their sadness through his music. So beyond all the jokes and funny videos, Lewis Capaldi is doing something extremely important. He is giving people an understanding of their sadness. Emotional intelligence.

In conclusion, I felt it was important to acknowledge the work Capaldi is doing not only musically but in relation to acting as an admirable role model. You can’t change how you look or how others treat you but you can always choose how you present yourself and those who present themselves as emotionally intelligent present themselves best. He is showing children how important emotional intelligence is. He hasn’t the looks nor groundbreaking cognitive intelligence. Just talent, a sense of humour and beautiful emotional intelligence. He says he won’t be around for long but we hope his is. At Motus, we salute you Mr. Capaldi!


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