I think we musicians as creative people have a tendency to neglect our own mental health because the nature of our creativity is often erratic, impulsive and spontaneous and if it’s not managed, that can often lead to really unbalanced lifestyles.
One of my earliest musical influences was my uncle Matthew, who is an amazing jazz pianist and also suffers from schizophrenia, so the connection between creativity and mental health has always interested me.
I think it was Tom Petty who said, ‘As songwriters, we put ourselves in the firing line so we can sing about getting shot’.
There’s a perpetual myth that it’s impossible to be creative when you’re happy and content. It’s a dangerous belief to hold.
One of the reasons I respect the musician Clare Bowditch so much is that she works hard to dispel that, recently releasing an album The Winter I Chose Happiness centred entirely around that notion.
One of the beautiful privileges of writing music is articulating your own experience, but also giving other people the words to articulate their own.
It is really special to me to know that my lyrics can convey such an important message and hopefully help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
The song Hurting Bird encapsulated a period of intense grief, and the sense of resolve and understanding that came at the end of it.
Writing the song was an important step in the process and also reflection back on it.
The song has fulfilled its purpose for me, and now I hope it can help others find beauty and meaning in their own experiences.