It has been close to a decade since Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, has released a studio album.
It has been a life-changing few years for the singer-songwriter and he has a lot to say.
Gough is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. The man is an open book.
Winding back the clock to chapter one, it's the late '90s and Gough's debut album The Hour Of Bewilderbeast has won the 2000 Mercury Music Prize. His unique blend of folk, pop, hip-hop and funk struck a chord and he recorded the soundtrack to About A Boy, which starred Hugh Grant at the peak of his popularity. You might remember the lead single, Something To Talk About.
Six solo albums followed plus another soundtrack, this time to 2012 film Being Flynn starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore. Unfortunately it was never released.
Behind the scenes, Gough's life was in turmoil. He had Crohn's disease and diabetes and was struggling with alcoholism. His first marriage was all but over. Something had to give. That something was his music career.
In 2016 he also gave up the booze.
Now he's back with new album Banana Skin Shoes. Its release coincided with news that The Hour Of Bewilderbeast had come in at number eight on Virgin Radio's all-time 100 greatest British albums.
Gough's ninth album is a personal and heartfelt collection of songs through which he bares his soul.
"It has been a strange time for me. It feels like I haven't been around since the mid 2000s," he tells Weekender from his home near Manchester.
"I went through a lot of personal turmoil in that 10 years, including the break-up of a marriage, and I've learnt a lot. You learn more from hardship than you otherwise would, I think."
He was initially hesitant to release new music during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in light of the huge death toll in his home country. But he had already started playing gigs and building up his social media platforms and decided to focus on the positives.
"In early March nobody really felt like putting the album out - to promote a record felt a bit crass and trite. Trivial, I suppose, compared to what was going on in other people's lives," he says.
"So that was something I had to get my head around.
"I started to realise that if everybody stops what they're doing all at once it will be an even sadder situation than it already is. So with this album I'm trying to add some goodness. That was my objective even before coronavirus.
"There's always something going on in the world that seems unjust or wrong. Like Brexit, which was just mind-numbingly dull and pointless.
"This is an album about resilience and courage and bouncing back from the brink of tragedy. Of having the courage to keep going in life."
There was a point in his life that he had a love-hate relationship with music, he says, because it took up so much of his time. It had become a job, rather than a passion.
"Now I respect music again and what it's given me," Gough says. "It gives me a reason to wake up every day."
He wasn't concerned that people may have forgotten about him and his music over the past 10 years, either. Gough has relished starting over again with a blank canvas.
"The break from being in the limelight, my version of the limelight anyway, was refreshing because I could almost imagine I was a new artist again. I felt like I had something to prove," he explains.
"I don't want to live in a world defined by chart success or how many people put their thumbs up on your Facebook page but the reality is you still have to keep one eye on that.
"This is about rebuilding myself and helping others."
One thing hasn't changed. Gough is still reluctant to release, let alone write, music unless it holds meaning for him.
"I do make a conscious effort to say something," he says.
"I wish I could do more than to just write music. The stuff that I've learnt about mental health over the past few years - my own experiences - I really want to pass that knowledge on.
"As I get older I am realising that I need to step up and do more. I think that to feel fulfilled in life you have to help people.
"But at the end of the day, and at the very least, I'm still trying to make music people want to listen to and that might change your mood if you're having a bad time."