We all have our scars from the pandemic. Marcus Mumford literally has one. Mumford took a break from his tour in support of Self-Titled, his debut solo effort, to visit The Late Late Show With James Corden on Monday (October 3). Sitting alongside Rosie O’Donnell and Utkarsh Ambudkar, Mumford explained why he, a musician, has the silhouette of an Academy Award tattooed on his shoulder. And yes, it has to do with two-time Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan, his wife of 10 years.
“We’re in lockdown, in COVID. She’s supposed to have a film come out after the awards are over and stuff because it was not supposed to be an awards film. It was called Promising Young Woman,” the 35-year-old explained. “No expectations for it to be in awards conversation, but COVID comes. It gets pushed back. It comes out around all the awards films, and then suddenly, there’s all this chat about it. And it became this anxiety in our household because now there’s pressure to get nominated where there wasn’t before.”
“And so I said, ‘Let’s make it fun. Let’s have a tattoo bet,’” Mumford continued. “‘If you don’t get nominated, you have to be branded with your failure for the rest of your life. You get an Oscar tattoo.’ And everyone will say, ‘Oh, is that for when you were nominated for An Education?’ And she will say, ‘No, it’s for when I wasn’t nominated, as a punishment.’ And she did get nominated, so I got the tattoo.” (Mumford lost the bet, but he can always say he’s been directed by Steven Spielberg.)
Mumford used his time on The Late Late Show to showcase his own award-winning (two Grammy wins, nine nominations, to be exact) talent and performed a soaring rendition of “Grace,” the second track on Self-Titled, which dropped September 16. “With the weight of the shadow on your shoulder,” Mumford belted, backed by rollicking acoustics. “And I hear there’s healing just around this corner.”
Writing Self-Titled was a healing experience for Mumford. The album’s first offering, “Cannibal,” is about being sexually abuse as a six-year-old, which he told GQ he “hadn’t told anyone about” previously. “Grace” was released two weeks later, in late July, as the album’s official lead single.
Earlier in July, Mumford announced he was temporarily (?) branching away from Mumford & Sons as a solo artist with Self-Titled and shared the origins of the project:
Watch Mumford perform “Grace” above.