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

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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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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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Kyan Palmer

I recently had the chance to chat with up-and-coming singer songwriter Kyan Palmer (sometimes stylised as KYAN) about his recent hit song, ‘Burn Mona Lisa’ and his upcoming plans for a new single and music video. It’s all here…


   

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Hey Kyan, how’s it going?
You know, I just got back to New York. I’ve been in LA for a little bit and then I was in Arizona for a second (‘coz that’s where I’m from) just stopping there for my Mum’s birthday. You know, caught some sort of, I can’t tell if it’s like allergies or if I’m actually sick right now. But now I’m here back in lovely New York; it’s pouring rain, thunder and like 35 degrees. I love it! How are you doing?

Yeah, I’m really good thanks. So you recently dropped your latest single, Burn Mona Lisa and the reception’s been incredible, how exciting for you!
Yeah! It is!

What’s the message behind the song and where did you take your inspiration from?
This was like the first song I ever wrote, I actually wrote it a while ago and I was struggling because I was trying to figure out how to write, what I wanted to do and whatever. I would kind of try to contrive these stories and it just wasn’t working. But one day I wasn’t trying to write, like I was just sitting in my room, it was like a dorm room in college, and I just started writing about what I felt and where I was at, at that point in time was kind of this perfect thing that everybody thought I should do or everyone thought I wanted but that’s not what I wanted at all. That’s kind of how the concept of this perfect image of the Mona Lisa and something that transcends time kind of erupted and evolved. That’s how I roped in that metaphor with where I was at, at that point.

That’s really cool! So, is there an album or EP in the works? 
There sure is! I’m kind of trying to decide exactly what route I’m going to go because part of me is like I should drop an another single, then an EP and then an album down the line. That’s probably what I’ll do, even though that’s more of a traditional model but there are enough songs that I have cut right now, for an album, which is good.

I guess it just depends if you feel it’s right for you and you feel it’s right at that time, I guess.
Yeah, exactly. And the thing about an album, which is different from singles, is that I want the album to be a body of work and to tell the whole story so a lot of songs that may be like good singles wouldn’t necessarily be on that album. So I’m just like sorting through that and getting that done.

So we can’t really get any dates of when to expect anything?
I mean I wish you could tell me the date (laughs).

Are you going to be doing any music videos for any of your releases?
Yeah, so there will be a lyric video that’s going to come out for ‘Burn Mona Lisa’ shortly, that’s in the process of getting approved. Then after that, I’ll see if I want to make an actual music video. I’m going to wait; I mean I had to make one in the past and it did not work well. So right now I’m just going to focus on the lyric video because it’s not going to be your traditional lyric video, it’s more of like a concept video so it could suffice as a video per say. I’m kind of just taking it step by step. For the next single there definitely will be both lyric and a video which I will be shooting shortly.

Brilliant! Can you give us a single title or not yet?
That’s another good question. Some titles that could be the single title. I’m kind of bouncing around between a few. Every day I wake up and I’m like, “OK, let’s go with this one.” “No, maybe I should do this one.” “Maybe I should do this one.” I mean obviously I have to get it done before I shoot the video. So, I have a couple ideas and basically I’ve narrowed it between 3 songs.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Ooh, good question. I’d say Kehlani; she’s awesome. I’d like to do 50 Cent. Maybe even Rihanna; yeah, that’d be cool. I guess those are more like pop urban. There’s the whole DJ thing; there’s a lot of DJs. I like Flume a lot – I would do a track with Flume. I’m all over the place.

What really grinds your gears?
I think music-wise, going to a writing session or a recording session, and somebody is going to sit there and just not get anything done. They’ll be like, “Mmm, I don’t know if that is the direction we wanna go.” I’m type of writer that I’m like, “We’re writing our thoughts and feelings and what we’re doing.” It doesn’t have to be this whole grand process. Yes, there’s music structure and whatever but I was like let’s write our story and then we can go back and edit it into the place that we want. But there’s some people that I’ve been in the room with that’ll take literally 6 days to craft a sentence. There are big pop writers that have like 3 sessions a day; it’s just abnormal to think that you have longer than that.

Is there anything other than music you’re really passionate about?
Other than family, I used to play golf back in the day; my little secret that’s not a secret. I was pretty good at that but I haven’t done it in a minute though. I mean mostly, music just consumes all of my time and passion and energy. I really don’t have time for anything else lately….I like dogs! They’re cool!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
One time (I mean this is like years ago, but it’s a good one), I was in fourth grade and I was at a golf tournament actually. I remember I was like, “I’m gonna go to the bathroom,” and I found the secret one like in the back of the building, that nobody knew about and I got locked in there. This is like pre-cell phone and all that stuff, so I was sitting there, trapped in the bathroom for 2 and a half hours and a whole search party went out. I remember my Mum was crying, searching for me, my hands were bleeding from trying to break out. There was a good amount of attention I got for that! (Laughs) And I was scared of bathrooms for about 2 years after that!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
I have this playlist on Spotify, it’s called ‘Night Drives’, so that’s like all my influences of the current day. I love Mansionz right now (which is Blackbear and Mike Posner) but my favourite song off that album is ‘Wicked’ – it’s just so good! There’s like an EDM artist, well she’s more of a vocalist that does EDM tracks, her name’s ALMA; her track ‘Chasing Highs’ is super good! I love The 1975‘Somebody Else (Alt Edit)’ that’s my favourite. There’s like a baby artist named Griffin Oskar. Super, super talented – he’s got a song called ‘Hostage’, also really good. Oh I love Khalid – have you heard of him?

Yeah, ‘American Teen’ isn’t it?
Yeah, that album is just crazy good. Super good!

Awesome! If you had to cover a recent chart song, what would it be and why?
Oh good question! If I could sing the chorus to ‘It Ain’t Me‘ by Kygo and Selena Gomez, I’d do that, but I can’t do that ‘ba ba ba’ – that part. I like ‘Passionfruit’ (Drake), September Song (JP Cooper), Cold (Maroon 5). Even what I was saying earlier, like Khalid‘Location is another good song. Any of those.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
The best film I’ve seen lately. OK, not gonna lie, it’s between two. One is this movie called ‘The Girl on the Train’, I really liked that. I don’t know why I liked it, but I did. And then the other one is Moana (laughs).

Oh yeah! That’s a good film!
I don’t what, I just liked it.

Why not ‘Beauty and the Beast’?
Oh I didn’t see that one yet.

What! Oh my gosh, it’s epic!
I heard it’s really good. I gotta watch it.

If a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Oh, well I guess hopefully that’d be in like 20 years, so they’re probably a baby now but probably you know, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West‘s baby. Saint? Is that his name? Saint West. What a famous person to play me!

Well send off your letter now – ‘I’ve got a job for you in 20 years’ (Laughter) If you could be any biscuit or chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
Hmm OK. I’d probably be a dark mint chocolate (or biscuit) because it’s got that refreshing kind of feel to it; it’s a little different to your standard; it’s dark so it’s gonna be an acquired taste and then mint’s in there. Then it’s 50/50 of whether or not the aftertaste is good (laughter).

That’s good; I like that! So, last question – what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
He doesn’t even remember this but it was by Daniel Glass who is the head of Glassnote Records. He told me (and this is kind of why I ended up in New York, and started thinking about stuff) that ‘if you want it, you have to be in the room where it happens.’ That was his quote and I was like, ‘I don’t know what the hell that means’. I kind of like went with it. I kind of learned that if you want to be, whatever you want to be, (like for me it’s obviously an artist) and there’s other people that have billions of passions. There’s a difference between saying, ‘I want it,’ and you can go do it at your house or putting yourself in the environment that, that’s all you’re surrounded by because you’re going to be at an advantage that way and learn ten times more. So that is the reason I ended up moving to New York and doing the whole thing and really diving in, was I wanted to be in the room where it happens. It made a lot of difference for me.

That’s a good quote! Well thank you very much for taking the time to chat.
I appreciate it.


Kyan Palmer‘s releases are all available:


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other interviews here:

Muzik Speaks Interviews


#Two4Tunesday: Khalid – ‘American Teen’ & Alessia Cara – ‘How Far I’ll Go’


   

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Khalid – ‘American Teen’

Khalid has just released his debut album, American Teens. The title-track from the album is also his most recent single and its got a very 80s movie feel to it with its twinkling, phasing space-like synths.

His voice is sorrowful and soulful at the same time – this track is not your standout pop track but is subtle in its approach. It’s a great song taken from a fantastic debut album. This looks set to be the start of a beautiful career.

Watch the music video below too – artistic and film-like in its own way.


‘American Teen’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/american-teen/id1200868601?i=1200868616



Alessia Cara – ‘How Far I’ll Go’

Taken from Disney’s MoanaAlessia Cara‘s version of ‘How Far I’ll Go’  is a superb take on the song from the film. It’s not like the old R&B versions they so often used to roll over the credits of 90s Disney films – it’s very current with a tropical house vibe to it.

The song is great and still performing well on the Spotify charts, and whilst I thoroughly love the tune, it’s got a slightly disjointed feel to it as it appears to speed up and slow down. Nevertheless a great song, it is!

‘How Far I’ll Go’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/how-far-ill-go-alessia-cara-version/id1169181309?i=1169182769


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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