The number of artists who are speaking up publicly about mental health awareness is growing by the day. Up-and-coming artist Whitney Woerz wants to be part of that discussion. She’s an ambassador for Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit who’s mission is to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, and she’s been using her song lyrics to cover a plethora of topics surrounding mental health and wellbeing. We sat down with Whitney this week to talk about music, inspiration and all things mental health.
Crowdsurfer: What inspired you to start writing music?
When I was 13, a friend one day reached out and said that she was planning to kill herself… As a 13 year old, I didn’t even know what that really meant. I didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t responding or anything.So I wrote a poem for her and then put a melody to it. I had never written a song before, or a poem for that matter, but I recorded a video and sent it to her, not even expecting a response. She did respond though! And she said that the song saved her life. And it inspired her to get therapy. Wow. Saying it out loud still shocks me. That literally was the biggest life changing moment, I think, ever, because I realized my lyrics did that.So we sent my song to Bring Change to Mind, which is an organization run by Glenn Close to help end the stigma around mental illness. I’ve been a teen ambassador for them ever since I was 13, and I’m still working alongside them. We start the conversation basically. That’s like, honestly, the most important thing you can do is just start the conversation.
CS: What inspired your latest song Retrograde?
I wrote Retrograde right as Corona kicked off. It was a really weird time obviously and on top of that, a Mercury retrograde was going on. I, and everyone i knew was feeling like their life was upside down. I wrote it with a writer Ayelle and producer Stavros and we were kind of all feeling life was just not good at the moment. So we’re just like, “It’s the retrograde.”But, it also has a positive message too. There’s always the light at the end of a dark tunnel that you can never see at the time. Whenever you’re in a dark space, not even just in retrograde, you feel like you can’t get out of it and like it’s the end of the world. Think back to a time you thought everything was miserable. And then suddenly there’s the light.
CS: How do you find positivity amidst all this chaos happening right now?
WW: Personally, I find happiness within myself when everything externally isn’t amazing. I realized one day that I have control over my thoughts, which was quite a profound realization. And then I was like, wait a second. Anybody can do this, like I feel like we’re all magicians, but we don’t know it. And you can literally just switch. If you want to be positive, just be like, I’m quitting the negative. It’s going to be positive. And then once you start thinking positively, just watch how your life will do a 180 flip, because that’s exactly what happened to me. I started thinking positively, almost to trick myself at first, actually, and then it wasn’t a trick anymore. I was just thinking positively and then manifested basically almost by accident, good things. So it’s very interesting when you, I don’t know, learn that you have control of your thoughts. I like to say that I create my own life now because of that. But I just always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To me, I think Corona happened for a reason. And we’re going to make it out because we always make it on dark places.
CS: What challenges have you gone through personally with dealing with mental health issues?
In high school, everybody around me was just really, really sad. It’s so interesting, though, because I feel like we all put on such a happy face, but really underneath, we’re just sad. And yeah, it was a lot of external factors. My family wasn’t doing that great. And my first boyfriend broke my heart. I feel like so many people can relate to that, especially with a first love. And I, as a junior in high school, was distraught. I didn’t want to live anymore. And so I channeled that into lyrics. Writing lyrics was basically therapy for me. Everybody who I played like the breakup songs for who had been through a hard time was also just like, wow, it’s relatable and it’s hard. It’s really hard sometimes.But looking back at the person that I was, I saw how harshly I treated myself, also how harsh and negative I was. And how sad little Whitney was. But all those were ALL learning lessons. Everything is a learning lesson and everything happens for a reason, too. So now I’m looking back at that stuff and I’m like, wait- that literally shaped me. I am so thankful for all the pain that I’ve experienced because of that. And if anyone’s going through pain right now, one day you’re going to look back and be like, it made me who I am.
CS: What’s your self care routine like, or what are some things that help you to feel better sometimes?
WW: I suggest writing down the thoughts in your head that stand out to you, then they become art in a way. And also like actually pay attention to your thoughts. We’re just on autopilot with our thoughts so much of the time and they just let go speeding. So what I’ve been doing is just trying to, like, really be conscious of my thoughts. And that has changed how I think and how I live.
I also meditate almost every day, even just for ten minutes. Let’s you clear your head and let positive energy come in. I have a bunch of spiritual candles charged with different energies I like to light too to clear my mind. But the biggest thing for me is to try to focus on my thoughts and decide if they are beneficial to me or not. It’s a little bit scary when you first do it, actually trying to be conscious of your thoughts, but very very cool once you achieve the good that comes from it.
CS: What does it mean to you to be an advocate for mental health awareness?
I think my main goal in life and music is to be happy and to make other people happy. That’s Bring Change to Mind’s exact same goal too! Like everyone deserves to be happy and we have such a short time on this planet.I’m just so thankful that I’m able to have a platform where I can share. I am so thankful that I can share my music with a message every day.
CS: What’s next for you?
WW: A lot. I’m actually at a studio right now. We’re working on a very cool song. And so next for me is new music. I’d love to do an album. I would love to just get a Whitney album out there. So hopefully that’s what’s next. But definitely just new music. I’d love to continue singles, if that’s what it’s going to be.
CS: Anything else you’d like to add?
WW: Well, actually, yeah, there’s a mercury retrograde happing right now and it’s last day is the election, so listen to my new single Retrograde to have something to relate to while the energies are off! Oh and one more thing. One thing that has really helped me whenever I’m feeling like a bad thought or anything, I just think about how I am one hundred percent not the only person who’s thinking that thought. So no one is alone in anything that they’re going through. And if you’re thinking something, someone else probably has too. So you’re not alone in anything.
Learn more about Whitney at her website right here.