The poet, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist Allison Russell has collaborated with with Sounds of Saving (SoS) and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the release of a new installation of their “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” series. The series interviews artists from across the musical spectrum to discuss the song that helped them most during difficult times. Alongside the Q&A the artist performs their take of the chosen track.
For this release Russell chose Tracy Chapman’s “Behind The Wall.” She shares, “It was the song that made me understand for the first time that I wasn’t alone. Music helped me crawl out of that pit. There was another way. And I learned that there was another way through poetry, through art, through music, through Tracy Chapman’s album that I heard when I was nine years old that was revelatory to me.
“She was telling me a very different story about being a woman, about blackness, about her experience of the world, about her experience of America, a very different story than my adoptive father told me. And I liked her version better….There are these lifelines that we get thrown, maybe therapy will be your lifeline, maybe meeting someone who has had a similar experience to you will be your lifeline. That’s why we have to hang on because you would have no idea what joy awaits you.”
Sounds of Saving note, “It’s hard to imagine an artist who has lived and articulates the message of SoS more than Allison Russell – that music, art and speaking out about even the most horrific of experiences can be pathways out of cycles of trauma and stigma and towards experiencing joy.
“We feel that Allison’s voice – in song and in advocacy – can truly save lives by expressing how healing from abuse is possible and by encouraging others to find support. It was a true pleasure to be in her presence, to hear her story and her take on Tracy Chapman’s song that found her at the right time and arguably saved her life. We feel her debut LP Outside Child is not only one of the best albums of 2021 but one of the most important bodies of musical work ever to express the journey from an unimaginably painful past to cathartic beauty and joy.”
Sounds of Saving created the “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” in 2019 to help promote honest, intimate conversations about mental health. They emphasize the impact of music of all genres on human connection, coping during difficult times and maintaining mental wellbeing.
Engaging with musicians, the series reveals how a song found each artist at the right time, as well as sharing how each artist has managed to cope and even thrive in the face of difficult times and emotional crisis. For every one person that dies by suicide, 316 people think seriously about suicide but go on to live out their lives. These are untold stories that must be shared. During the pandemic approximately 1 in 4 young adults has had suicidal thoughts.