Lewis Capaldi: does singer have Tourette’s? What he said about diagnosis and billboards for new song explained

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In the run up to releasing his newest single, Forget Me, the Scottish singer launched billboards all over the UK to promote the single - in just his underwear

Ahead of releasing his first new song after a three year long hiatus, Lewis Capaldi revealed to fans in an Instagram Live that he had been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome - something that he said “makes so much sense”.

Fans of the singer had already been talking about Capaldi before he shared his diagnosis thanks to his very on-brand marketing tactic in the run up to the release of Forget Me.

This is everything you need to know.

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What are his billboards about?

To promote his upcoming single, Capaldi launched a number of billboards advertising the tune that featured the Scottish singer in nothing but his underwear and a pair of sunglasses, and holding a cocktail.

The billboards have cropped up in major cities all around the UK, with Capaldi sharing pictures on Twitter, writing: “Took my clothes off and traumatised the general public all in the name of shameless self promotion. Sex sells.”

He followed up with another tweet that said: “I swear to god if I’ve tripped down to my pants and put it on billboards all over the world to promote this new single just for it to be a massive flop I’ll be so embarrassed.”

Capaldi’s new song, called Forget Me, will be released on 9 September, and is currently available to be pre-added or pre-saved on platforms like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify and Deezer, and for pre-order as a signed limited edition vinyl LP or CD.

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What did he say about Tourette’s diagnosis?

On a recent Instagram Live, Capaldi revealed that he had been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome.

He said that the revelation “makes so much sense” and added: “When I look back at my interviews from 2018, I can see that I’m doing it.”

Capaldi said that he chose to go public with the diagnosis because he “didn’t want people to think I was taking cocaine or something”. He revealed that, initially, he thought he had “some horrible degenerative disease” before he was told it was Tourette’s.

Lewis Capaldi performs on the main stage during day three of the TRNSMT Festival at Glasgow Green on July 10, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Lewis Capaldi performs on the main stage during day three of the TRNSMT Festival at Glasgow Green on July 10, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Lewis Capaldi performs on the main stage during day three of the TRNSMT Festival at Glasgow Green on July 10, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) | Getty Images

He explained: “My shoulder twitches when I am excited, happy, nervous or stressed.

“It is something I am living with.”

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The Scottish singer said that he had been getting botulinum toxin injections in order to prevent the involuntary twitches in his shoulder, and that he is “learning new ways to cope all the time”.

What is Tourette’s syndrome - what are the symptoms?

Tourette’s syndrome is a condition which causes a person to involuntarily make sounds or movements, called tics.

According to the NHS, Tourette’s usually starts during childhood, between the ages of two and 14, with tics and other symptoms generally improving after several years and sometimes going away entirely.

Examples of physical tics include:

  • Blinking
  • Eye rolling
  • Grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Jerking of the head or limbs
  • Jumping
  • Twirling
  • Touching objects or other people
Lewis Capaldi arrives at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021 broadcast on December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for dick clark productions)Lewis Capaldi arrives at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021 broadcast on December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for dick clark productions)
Lewis Capaldi arrives at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021 broadcast on December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for dick clark productions) | Getty Images for dick clark prod

Examples of vocal tics include:

  • Grunting 
  • Throat clearing
  • Whistling
  • Coughing
  • Tongue clicking
  • Animal sounds
  • Saying random words and phrases 
  • Repeating a sound, word or phrase 

Swearing is the stereotypical tic that many people think of when they think about Tourette’s, however this is a very rare vocal tic and only affects around one in 10 in those with the condition.

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Tics can be made worse during periods of stress, anxiety or tiredness, or they may just be worse on some days than others.

Lewis Capaldi accepts the Song of the Year Award during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Lewis Capaldi accepts the Song of the Year Award during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Lewis Capaldi accepts the Song of the Year Award during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Many with Tourette’s will experience a strong sensation before a tic which has been described as like the feeling you have before you need to sneeze or when you get an itch.

These feelings are called premonitory sensations and are relieved when the tic has been carried out.

Examples of premonitory sensations include:

  • A burning feeling in the eyes before blinking 
  • A dry or sore throat before grunting
  • An itchy joint or muscle before jerking 

There is no cure for the condition, but treatment is available to help manage symptoms.

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