top of page

Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Right Now Documentary Review

By Kristen Hawley | 5 May, 2023

Lewis Capaldi struck an emotional chord with music fans in 2019 with the releases of his heartbreak ballads “Bruises,” “Somebody You Loved,” and “Before You Go.” These tracks helped introduce the world to who Lewis is as an artist and what talent Lewis possesses amid the release of his debut album. During award shows, promos, interviews and his social media platforms, he also was able to share the chipper, comedic side of himself with fans. Since 2019, Lewis’ career launched into a higher trajectory of fame, success, and recognition that to an already anxious person, adds a tsunami level of pressure.

Fans were given an all-access look at Lewis’ personal life and career as he’s been writing and producing his upcoming second album in a new Netflix documentary, Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now. As a preface, I’m a big fan of artist documentaries. It’s a great way for artists to connect with fans and also share a piece of themselves outside their preferred outlet of songwriting. But, I have my reservations because some of them only scratch the surface of discussing who the artist really is beyond the headlines and what their true struggles are. Obviously, management and PR teams are involved in production, so some documentaries come across as more of promoting a pre-conceived, pre-approved persona rather than the actual person who stumbled into the limelight.

But Lewis’s documentary holds no barred. While on the surface, he may seem like the jokester and life of the party, How I’m Feeling Now shows fans that he was struggling severely with anxiety. Once an artist has a hit record, or in Lewis’ case two chart-topping singles, and a successful debut album, the pressure for the sophomore album to exceed the first is dialed up. The second record needs to expand on the sound that fans were introduced to in the debut, but also challenge the artist sonically to not follow the same formula. The songwriting needs to improve, while also not being influenced too much by other artists so fans find comfort in the words. It’s an impossible situation. Lewis felt the full force of these pressures, both externally and internally. It’s almost painful to watch such a talent pick himself apart, question his abilities, and even state that the more successful he gets, the more insecure he is about his songwriting.

He even reveals always feeling the heavy weight of imposter syndrome. As a 24-year-old who is trying to figure life out post-grad, a successful artist sharing a similar struggle felt reassuring as equally heart-wrenching. Even when his words of self-doubt caught the ear of the iconic legend, Elton John, who then sent a supportive email, Lewis didn’t believe it because while others can believe in you, their words hold no weight if you don’t see your value.

His anxieties then began to manifest themselves into physical tics like a constant shoulder shrug. And throughout the film, as Lewis travels to write the album and the anticipation from the label, fans, and himself mounts, the tics increase to the point of physical pain. It was emotionally brutal to see him destroy himself mentally for the sake of completing the album and living up to expectations. His tics could be seen visually worsening as someone mentioned the album or he sat down at the keyboard to write. The unknown of the future and failing built up so badly, that the idea of creating music seemed like a burden. Before he even played a single melody, the panic and self-doubt sliced Lewis deep to his core. I so desperately wanted to reach through the screen and give him a hug.

The filmmakers of How I’m Feeling Now did a great job of balancing the highlights of Lewis’ career while still including a lot of his normalcy and home life with his parents. There was a slight disconnect from his parents trying to understand what stardom had done to their son, while still maintaining constant support and guidance. And once his anxiety reached a debilitating level, Lewis put the album writing process on pause to focus on his mental health, with the support of his management team and family. It’s unclear if the push for Lewis to take time off was due to a management shift. Ryan Walter, Lewis’ manager and the person that discovered him, last publicly discussed his relationship with the singer in 2019. And in How I’m Feeling Right Now, Alfie Lawrance and Scott Smyth were credited as Lewis’ day-to-day and tour manager, respectively. Towards the end of the documentary, Lewis resumes writing again and finishes the album. While notably there was still a lingering uncertainty and doubt about picking the lead single, the album’s release, and the fans’ responses, Lewis returned with a bit of air in his step.

Lewis Capaldi documentary promotional poster
Credit: Lewis Capaldi IMDB Page

He wasn’t fully alleviated from the worries and perils that swarmed his mind about his value as an artist and his abilities as a songwriter, but with introducing therapy, exercise, and a diagnosis of Tourette’s; joy was restored back to songwriting for Lewis.

At one point in the film, he even states that he doesn’t understand why fans come to the shows and care about him and his music. This confession didn’t stop his endless gratitude for fans showing up and loving him, but he couldn’t understand why they did. And one thing is for certain, we as fans love Lewis for an abundance of reasons. First, he makes us laugh with his self-deprecating and shocking humor. His Instagram needs to be archived. Second, he is no doubt one of the most powerful and incredible songwriters in the music industry currently. Hislyrics are heart-achingly beautiful and say the feelings that not many can articulate. But above all else, he wasn’t afraid to show the world everything he is in How I’m Feeling Right Now. Not just the pop star and celebrity persona, but also the scared 26-year-old who is a ball of nerves and is constantly questioning himself.

If there’s one thing to take away from Lewis Capaldi’s Netflix documentary it’s this: no amount of money, fame, or notoriety can stop us from letting our anxieties spiral out of control and turning insecurities into our greatest detriments. But in the darkness and pain, there is a way to cope, alleviate, and find the happiness in what you once loved. Lewis’ story shows fans you can’t band-aid your traumas and become the person you want to be, the one you deserve to be, without first acknowledging how you’re feeling right now.


bottom of page