A recent fundraiser at Semitone Studios, organised by Taylor Giacoma, has raised both money and awareness for us. Taylor wanted the release of her latest single, Lucy, to reach out to those who need mental health help.
Thanks so much to Taylor for doing this and for sharing her story, which is below.
Lucy is a story about the journey from darkness to light. I began to write Lucy whilst walking along the Ta’ Cenc cliffs in Gozo, Malta, or rather I should say she came to me.
I had been doing some reading about Lucia of Syracuse, perhaps better known as Saint Lucy, following a visit to the Citadel in the capital where I encountered the remains of Saint Lucida.
As ever with a journey, you never know where you’ll end up, and though I started by trying to find out about Saint Lucida, I ended up finding out about Saint Lucia/Saint Lucy. She was ultimately murdered for being unwilling to live her life according to what society expected of her, one of many Christians martyred in the Diocletianic Persecution at the end of the third/beginning of the fourth century.
She was very much on my mind that afternoon walking in Ta Cenc, and what would later become the chorus of the song came to me almost in one piece. I wrote other bits and pieces as they came to me, but none of it quite made sense. It wasn’t until months later when I woke from a vivid dream, which was certainly inspired by the cliffs, that I knew the song was meant to be about more than Lucy.
It was a nightmare, now alluded to in the bridge of Lucy, and I realised that Lucy inspired me because she followed her own light to the end, even facing the darkness of death. I went on a run – one of the many things I do to improve my sometimes challenging mental health – and suddenly the little bits that I’d written up until that point suddenly made sense: The story I needed to tell was my own, as well as hers.
I looked next for how to put into musical terms the darkness I have faced in dealing with depression and anxiety. At times (and still) I feel a bit exposed; it is not easy describing my own battles with mental illness and the darkest of the dark.
But art, like life, isn’t always easy, and I wrote it as best I could. I asked Patrick McKenzie to record the song at Semitone Studios, and we worked tirelessly to capture not just the notes but the meaning, the heart of the song. I chose 13 December to release the song because it is Saint Lucy Day, and I chose Stockport Mind to benefit from the first couple of weeks of its release because it’s a fantastic local charity that is there for people in the darkest of the dark.
Particularly at Christmas time, when everything around us seems glittery and light, the dark can be overwhelming. Though it was just £155 collected on two consecutive Friday nights at Semitone, that’s 31 people at risk of suicide who Stockport Mind can help at the other end of the phone (at £5 each, info via Stockport Mind). So for two weeks, I sang for those 31 people.
If you are feeling suicidal, another place you can contact is Samaritans – they’re available 24/7 365 days per year, on 116 123.