- 27 Sep 19
We invited a chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House.
I grew up in Derry, a small city on the border where our bridges and river have acted too many times as more than just a way out of town. The cost of living today is higher than ever, not just in terms of money,– and the bridges and river continue to rob us of friends, family, fellow musicians and complete strangers. It stings like cold glass in the core of my soul each time I hear it. I mourn for the happiness of each of these people and I wish I could listen to them and talk with them.
I spend a lot of my time travelling, playing music in every corner of Ireland. Every gig, whether it’s ten people or a thousand, is a special occasion that I thank you for. Yes, YOU. You allow me be a part of your life, whether fleetingly or for longer, and I am forever deeply thankful for that. You see, without knowing it, you have rescued me a million times from sadness and depression. Whether it’s seeing smiles between you and a friend in the audience; you dancing with your eyes closed, escaping and soaking up the joys of life; or the you that came to the gig yourself, who came up to me and held me in your arms at the t-shirt stand to say thanks for giving you a reason to leave the house.
My end of the bargain doesn’t stop at entertaining you. I want you to know that in this game of mirrors, where we bounce light between one another, when you listen to me, I will gladly lay down what I am doing and listen to you when you want to talk. When I put on a show and hope you’re there for me, I will be there for you too, with an open ear and no judgement when you want to be listened to. I cannot live without you – yes, YOU! Be it the streets of Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Sligo, Limerick, a festival field or elsewhere – without you, we would be missing a solid ray of light that has the power to lift others from their despair. You are needed, there is always space for you, there is always help just a word away.
I want you to know that you are stronger and more resilient than you will ever give yourself credit for. I want you to know that there is and always will be
a legion of people out there, ready with an open ear – ready to remind you that you deserve tomorrow as much as everybody else.