Harry Styles’ “Matilda” Lyrics Meaning

This song (“Matilda”) deals with a more serious subject matter than your usual Harry Styles’ fare. As such, he has actually offered an explanation of the premise behind the subject of this track.

And combining said explanation with the lyrics, what it reads like, most simply explained, is “Matilda” being someone who has grown accustomed to a toxic relationship with her family, who ‘never showed her love’. Or put differently, they have “hurt” her in a way that, based on Harry’s observation, has ‘left a piece or her dead inside’. Or perhaps a more simple way of putting it is that she has been the victim of some type of domestic abuse, the type which is so horrendous that it basically sticks with a person for a lifetime. But still, she remains loyal to the people who perpetrated these crimes of humanity against her.

So Harry’s disposition is sorta like, why? The way he perceives it, Matilda has the whole world in front of her. So instead of going back to her familial foundation and perpetually reliving the sorrow, the way he sees it is that she shouldn’t associate with those people. Or as he puts it, rather of going back to that toxic environment she can “throw a part full of” the people who actually bring her joy. But apparently Matilda herself doesn’t see things that way, thus this song.

Lyrics to Harry Styles' "Matilda"

“Matilda” is based on a real Person

According to Styles, the lyrics of this song are based on a true story. In an interview, he stated that he composed the song after listening to a disturbingly sad story of an acquaintance. Despite Matilda not being the person’s real name, the song was heavily inspired by that person (whose gender Harry purposely decides not to reveal).

Styles also revealed that when he first played this song to his friends, they all ended up crying. Such is how touching and sad the song is.

That said, it is worth mentioning that the name, “Matilda”, which Harry uses to represent this unnamed acquaintance was taken from a famous children’s book (also titled “Matilda“) by British writer and poet, Roald Dahl. The said children’s book centers around the life of a young girl with superpowers named Matilda.

The book was later adapted into a very successful 1996 film. The said film, which is also titled “Matilda” starred American actress, Mara Wilson, playing the role of Matilda.

Writing Credits

Despite this song being very personal to Harry, he isn’t credited as its sole writer. In creating “Matilda”, he received support from the following renowned songwriters:

  • Kid Harpoon
  • Amy Allen
  • Tyler Johnson

FYI: Co-writers Harpoon and Johnson also ended up handling Matilda‘s production duties.

When did Harry Styles release “Matilda”?

On the 20th of May, 2022, Harry and his management released “Matilda” as part of his “Harry’s House” project. This project is actually the singer’s third studio album. Before the album’s official release, two songs were released as its official singles.

As It Was” was the first of these singles. The second is a song titled “Late Night Talking“. Both songs ended up being massive global hits.


5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. BLL says:

    I love it too… it came at a perfect time in my life..
    I feel like the song was meant for me.. it has given me permission to live my life without remorse. Thank you Harry for writing and singing this beautiful, deep, heartfelt song.

  3. Patrick Smith says:

    excellent song

  4. ShaeLee says:

    I often wonder if this was regards to me.. I met a stranger on instagram 2021 with the username Hmmmm. A male from England.. sort of was like a therapist to me after spilling too much of my life in regards to my father having ALS and passing in 2009 and me and my siblings never getting the therapy afterwards we needed. I had mentioned that it feels like a piece of me was dead inside.. I just moved 4 hours away from my family for the first time in Jan 2021 with my husband ( I am 27). Since then the year 2021 was very difficult not knowing anyone where I moved and not being able to just see family but it also came with so much growth and I found who I really want to be. Me and my husbands relationship had a rough patch when I was talking to this Hmmmm person. I doubt it is harry styles but it is peculiar to me…really did make me cry when I heard it and boyfriends was one that made me cry too.

  5. eeeeee says:

    this song is so amazing. it’s helped me through a lot 😉 my family is not the best and i’ve been hurt so much…i wasn’t sure if i should step back but now i know i don’t have to stay if they hurt me that much – even if they are family. thank you harry styles.

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