- 29 Oct 20
Listen to 'Anxiety' below.
It’s unusual to see mental health being discussed openly on an upbeat country song – like you do on ‘Anxiety’.
I wrote ‘Anxiety’ when we were in the thick of the pandemic, back in April. It’s about lockdown, but it’s also about other internal and external things that were going on. It’s taking inspiration from songs like ‘Dancing In The Dark’ – it’s quite upbeat, but when you dig into the lyrics, it’s heavy stuff.
I didn’t want to hide behind hidden meanings. I wanted to deliver my experience of anxiety. Any time I’ve written a decent song, or a song I really believe in, it’s when I’m telling the truth about myself in it. ‘Anxiety’ just came out. So I said, “Okay – I’m going to write down how I’m feeling here, warts and all, and see how it goes”. It was very therapeutic. When I sent it to a few of my mates, I was very self-conscious about it, to be honest. I suppose I still am, to an extent! But I hope it resonates with people.
Anxiety’s a big thing, for so many people. It’s great that people are talking about it a lot more.
How have you been looking after your own head over lockdown?
I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve been going for jogs and meditating. Or sometimes I’d just stick the headphones in, and listen to a favourite album, or some new music – just to pass an evening. I’m back calling and FaceTiming my friends as well. I might spend 20 minutes catching up with friends – even if we’ve nothing to say to each other. It’s great to have a conversation, because otherwise you can end up looking at the four walls, and getting lost on Netflix. Netflix is anxiety-inducing enough, with all the murder mysteries!
Some creative people put a lot of pressure on themselves to use lockdown productively. How do you find it?
I don’t put myself under any pressure to write anything. I was actually going back to enjoying just playing the guitar again, because I wasn’t performing as much. Music should be a joyful experience. I never, ever want to lose that. This song just came to me – but the enjoyment of the process was the big thing for me. After writing it, I contacted my two friends, Peter Doherty and David McGaughey, and we spent the day recording it. The whole process was really enjoyable, and that was the most important thing.
• Paul Tully’s ‘Anxiety’ single is out now: