*UPDATE* #Playlist: Save A Life – How Music Helped Save Me…


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22nd December 2017

The idea for this post came about whilst I was contemplating creating the annual Christmas playlist I’ve done since I started Muzik Speaks back in 2015, but I quickly realised that I was purely doing it because of the time of year and with the thoughts that as a music blog, I should probably pump out something Christmassy.

Inside though, I’m just not feeling like celebrating Christmas this year and truth be told, I’ve been through a very dark patch for a few months now.I began this blog as a lover of music (ever since I can remember) but also with the old saying in mind that “music speaks louder than words” and I truly believe that in many ways, it does…hence the blog name!

However, since September this year, I was propelled into an incredibly difficult place and since then my head has gone through a very dark, deeply depressive and isolated state and it’s only now, that I’m starting to see some distant, very small rays of light at the end of the long, outstretched tunnel ahead, but with those rays, they have brought just a scrap of positivity into my life.

During the period I mentioned, one of the first things to take a hit was my passion for music – something which has always been an obsession of mine, and looking back, that was a key indicator that I was suffering from depression, although I couldn’t recognise it at the time. I’ll be honest and say that at my lowest point, for a couple of weeks or so, I contemplated suicide almost every day, for what I was being put through and how I was being treated and self-harm was something that alleviated just a tiny bit of the desire/waves of compulsion I felt, to end my life. I wish I hadn’t I let myself get to that stage now, and would never advocate someone do that, but I share this as a plea for people to seek support from whoever and wherever they can, to help give them some much needed strength during their darkest times.

As cliché as it sounds, the song ‘1-800-273-8255’ by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid came into my life by happy accident and instantly made an impact on me – it truly kept me going for a couple of weeks straight.

And then slowly but surely over the last few weeks, my passion for music has been really reignited – by mainly angry/empowering rock songs at first; Thirty Seconds To Mars‘This Is War’ was on repeat for a few days and then more recently, Linkin Park‘s ‘Faint’. The tone to those two songs really helped me to channel the anger I was feeling about the place I was in and charged me up with a little renewed strength.

However once I’d started to get over the anger, I began to truly take time to reflect where I was at with my mental state and objectively begin to deal with my dark thoughts and the things that were eating me up inside. It was at that point that a whole host of songs began to play their part in reshaping me and helping me to truly confront with what I was going through.

That is why I decided to create a playlist that is very personal to me and filled it with the songs that had a hand in keeping me alive, helped me to regain a fraction of my normal self and begin to deal with things, each in their own unique way.

Save A Life - Colour

I guess in some way, I’m hoping that this playlist will reach even just one person who is going through a similar rough patch and that it helps them to fight back against their depression and regain their confidence and love of life, or that someone who has already come out the other side can relate to this and appreciate the songs for their unique qualities, thought-provoking lyrics and/or empowering styles.

I should add that I have been very lucky to have my partner, family, some good friends and even my dog (not that she’ll ever know it) to support me through this bleak time and they too have played a vital role in helping me get through this.

Additionally, I sought some counselling – at first it was over the phone but I quickly found that I was craving some human interaction and so went to meet a counsellor and that too has been invaluable to helping me, so I recognise that whilst it’s not entirely the music that has helped me, it was during the times, when I was alone, that this music kept me company, provided me with time to think and played a vital role in aiding me to recover some of my former mental well-being.

I just think that at this time of year, people can feel so alone and having been through what I have, I understand that not everything is joyous for everyone at Christmas time and so I am hoping this playlist will provide something different for people who are feeling down, depressed or suicidal and that it might provide some sort of pick-me-up that you might need or that my story or the music strike a chord with someone and give them something to stop and think about.

My message to anyone who is struggling is just know that things can get better if you hang in there. Believe in yourself and most importantly, take each day as it comes. Fill your time with things you enjoy doing, however small or simple – embrace them. Talk to whoever you feel comfortable talking to, whether it be friends, family or someone anonymous via a helpline – don’t bottle things up. Find joy in music you love, films you enjoy or any other things you like to do and try to take your mind off what you’re worrying about and try to envisage what a happier future would look like.

Finally, I really would like to take the time to ask you to donate to a good cause – if you are going through something similar to me, you have already been through it and managed to come out the other side or even just that you have enjoyed this playlist or felt something for my story, then please visit our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/muzik-speaks or www.papyrus-uk.org/donate (please quote Muzik Speaks somewhere in your donation) and make a donation – £5 is enough to pay for one phone call, text or e-mail with a young person – you truly can help ‘Save a Life’.
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*UPDATE* – 8th July 2018

Life continues to get better, but I still find I have to take it day by day. My journey through fighting what I’ve been put through continues, but music is certainly helping to empower me. Sure, I still find I have ups and downs and there are certainly days where dark thoughts pass through my mind and there are definitely times where I’m consumed by rage but I suppose that’s all part of the healing process.

I also have to reflect on the good things in life; my loving partner, my beautiful dog and companion, my wonderful family, my ever-supportive friends, music, this blog…there’s lots to be positive about! That’s so important when you’re finding life tough – no matter how hard it is and how hopeless you might feel, take just a minute to try and find something positive, no matter how small it may be and reflect on that. Try to push the dark thoughts out of your mind (or at least to the back of it) and know that life can get better, you just have to hang in there.

And talking. I still maintain that finding someone, anyone, you can trust and talk to, is paramount to fighting your inner demons. The old saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved,” is very true and should not be underestimated.

I feel this journey may continue for many months to come, until I feel fully back to my normal self, and so undoubtedly this playlist will continue to grow but in the months since I first posted this, I have found 10 new tracks that have continued to help me.From the beautiful William Ryan Key‘s ‘Vultures’ to the angry anthem that is ‘F.W.T.B.’ by Yonaka; Panic! At The Disco‘s ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’ is a satirical and uplifting track whilst A R I Z O N A‘s ‘Freaking Out’ helps with those times you just want to let loose and go a bit mental; music is really helping to heal some of the pain.

So, to all of those on this playlist, thank you for making your music. You don’t know how much you’ve helped, and continue to help!

Playlist

  1. Greyson Chance – Seasons
  2. Logic – 1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara Khalid
  3. You+Me – Open Door
  4. Kesha – Praying
  5. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  6. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper
  7. Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
  8. Kyan Palmer – Burn Mona Lisa
  9. The Fray – How To Save A Life
  10. Angels & Airwaves – A Little’s Enough
  11. SafetySuit – These Times
  12. Jessie J – Who You Are
  13. Nicki Minaj – Fly featuring Rihanna
  14. Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
  15. Linkin Park – Faint
  16. Yellowcard – Fighting
  17. Story Of The Year – Can Anybody Hear Me
  18. Jimmy Eat World – Electable (Give It Up)
  19. Angels & Airwaves – Lifeline
  20. Good Charlotte – We Believe
  21. SafetySuit – Looking Up
  22. Remedy Drive – Daylight
  23. Bars & Melody – Scream
  24. MUNA – I Know A Place
  25. Kesha – Learn To Let Go
  26. Superfruit – Future Friends (Brian Robert Jones Choir Remix)
  27. You+Me – Unbeliever
  28. You Me At Six – Carpe Diem
  29. Simple Plan – I Don’t Wanna Be Sad
  30. OneRepublic – I Lived

Update – July 2018

31. William Ryan Key – Vultures
32. A R I Z O N A – Freaking Out
33. Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
34. The 1975 – Give Yourself A Try
35. YONAKA – F.W.T.B.
36. Good Charlotte – Actual Pain
37. Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
38. Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
39. Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining
40. SafetySuit – Victory


If you have a story you are willing to share or you want to discuss anything in this post, then please leave a comment; I would just ask that you remain sensitive with what you write on this post please. I also urge you that if you yourself are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about someone, to please call PAPYRUS on 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or e-mail pat@papyrus-uk.org – whilst I am always happy to talk, I’m not a trained professional but people at PAPYRUS are, and will do their best to help.


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#EventSpeaks: Will Joseph Cook @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 29/10/16


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On Saturday 29th October 2016, Will Joseph Cook performed his first headline show in Brighton and it was fantastic! With two awesome supports, Hot Dreams and George Taylor, the whole evening was just incredible.

We also had the opportunity to catch up with Will before the show – the interview will be coming soon, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.


Hot Dreams

Hot Dreams are an indie quartet from London, who have recently changed their name from Pocket Money. The band were incredibly tight and played a great, engaging set. Their sound is rather unique; there are euphoric and melodic highs within a calm soundscape and intense, hard-hitting moments of organised chaos that really pack a punch. There was one song in particulary that flipped the whole performance on its head, when the drummer performed lead vocals, and then the other 3 came in with the most immensely beautiful harmonies, it was joyous to watch. I’m predicting big things for these guys…just remember the name, Hot Dreams.

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George Taylor

George Taylor was next to take to the stage and he is clearly a very gifted songwriter, topped off with an amazing voice. Within the first few bars of his set, the microphone failed, which is a nightmare for any performer, but he handled it really well; a real professional.

The set consisted of some light-hearted happy songs amongst a sea of melancholic anthems. The guy’s voice is able to depict pain in the most stunning way but he also writes in really interestingly. There was one particular song that involved his voice being in constant use and led into a great chorus; I’d love to hear a recorded version of it, with a full backing band. Here’s another artist I think we’ll be seeing big things of in the not-too-distant future.

Highlight:

  • George‘s talking to the crowd was ace! There were a couple of one-liners that were hilarious…in particular I liked his joke about his missing band whilst nonchalantly tuning his guitar; “I normally perform with a band but I can’t afford it right now… …blame Brexit”
  • His voice is remarkable – such passion and rawness to it; it’s reminiscent of David Gray but with more umph to it!


Will Joseph Cook

Will Joseph Cook was awesome – for such a young guy, he exudes great talent! He put on an excellent show with a mixture of uplifting, fun and funky songs and then mellower moments when he performed by himself.

There is no doubt that Will Joseph Cook has been hard at work, crafting a set that will really please his audience as he had pretty much everyone dancing and/or singing along throughout the set or watching in admiration at his acoustic offerings.

The band he had were fantastic – they provided great backing vocals and they looked like they were enjoying themselves too!

He showed off an impressive array of songs from his EP releases, so far, and some new, unreleased tracks too; the audience were lapping it up. He clearly has a loyal following and the guy hasn’t even released an album yet!

Big things to come from him when he drops his debut album, hopefully around the beginning of next year, he said…can’t wait!

Highlights:

  • The passion and energy he puts into his performances is awesome – he looks like he’s loving what he’s doing!
  • He got the audience dancing their socks off to songs like ‘Girls Like Me’ and ‘Sweet Dreamer’.
  • Amazing songwriting – he’s clearly taken a lot of time perfecting his set and working on his songs.
  • He offers good interaction with the fans – he told them all where they could find him after the show so they could come and meet him.

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 Setlist

Streets Of Paris
Take Me Dancing
Hearse
Toothbrush*
Daisy Chains
Message
Alive
Waters Gone Cold
Sweet Dreamer*
For Thursday
Girls Like Me

Encore
Beach*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a BIG thanks to Isobel from Whiteboard PR for setting up both the interview and guest list for me and to Will Joseph Cook for agreeing to be interviewed and putting on one heck of a show!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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