Who is ‘Matilda’ by Harry Styles Written About?
Is “Matilda” by Harry Styles inspired by an actual person?
In 2022, the former One Direction member released the ballad on his third full-length album, Harry’s House. The track quickly became a fan favorite and something of a mystery… until now.
Harry Styles on ‘Matilda’ Inspiration
Harry Styles confirmed that the inspiration behind “Matilda” is based on a real person that he knows. In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, he confessed that he was inspired by this person in addition
“I had an experience with someone where, in getting to know them better, they revealed some stuff to me that was very much like, ‘Oh, that’s not normal, like I think you should maybe get some help or something,’” Styles revealed to the host.
He ended up playing the song for some of his close friends, who all cried in response to the lyrics. He knew that he had it to the record based on their reaction. Styles enjoyed the fact that the song is a personal story to him but written about someone else. He noted that the song is “more important than me just making music about myself.” He hopes that it could mean a lot more to fans who could relate to the situation.
“It’s a weird one, because with something like this, it’s like, ‘I want to give you something, I want to support you in some way, but it’s not necessarily my place to make it about me because it’s not my experience.’ Sometimes it’s just about listening. I hope that’s what I did here. If nothing else, it just says, ‘I was listening to you.’”
Styles confirmed that at the time of the interview, he had not played the song for the person that inspired it. However, “they’ll probably know” that it was inspired about that.
“It’s a weird one because in that same sense it’s none of my business but it’s been on my mind,” he concluded.
Styles’ fans theorized that the person he spoke about could be his rumored ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe for a year until 2018. She played the character of the same name in the 2019 movie, Now Is Everything.
What’s the Meaning of ‘Matilda’?
During Harry Styles’ London One Night Only Show, he introduced the song with added context. “The next song we’re playing is for anyone who ever felt guilty for taking care of themselves,” he told the crowd.
The lyrics suggest that Matilda was in a troublesome situation, abusive household or toxic household. The story is told by the singer witnessing her believe that everything is fine despite her tumultuous life. Styles’ storytelling comes from a place of empathy and first-hand experience witnessing someone go through something similar.
Styles confirmed on Apple Music that the song was in the realm of ‘Matilda from the Roald Dahl book.’ He added that this would be her grown-up, in a way. He admitted that he “disguised” the protagonist in the song as the character of Matilda.
“You can throw a party full of everyone you know / And not invite your family ’cause they never showed you love,” he sings in the chorus. “You don’t have to be sorry for leaving and growing up.”
Who wrote Matilda by Harry Styles?
Harry Styles co-wrote the song alongside Tyler Johnson, Amy Allen, and Kid Harpoon.