Life in music:
songs and lyrics that help me spill my brain
By VICTA Young Ambassador, Grace Hill
Anyone who knows me will probably know that my love of KISS FM is a bigger part of my life than being blind. I have listened to KISS since I was 5 years old and it has always helped me with my mental health, ability to communicate and to make sense of how I am feeling in certain social situations.
My mental health has been particularly poor over the last two years, as I am sure has been the case for many people. I gave up on my studies and nearly gave up on other aspects of my life too, including the motivation to manage my vision impairment. However, around seven months ago KISS FM introduced me to an artist whose lyrics I found particularly relatable. Her story and passion for the arts are inspirational to me. I am still not studying but I have a clearer idea of where I want to be now. I have the urge to better myself and I have taken up writing as a way to manage my mental health.
To thank the radio station for introducing me to the artist who has inspired all of this and to show how much they mean to me, I wanted to share ten songs and lyrics that help me spill my brain on the days when it all feels a little too much.
1) ‘She’s all I wanna be’ by Tate McRae
I had to put this one first as this is the song that started it all for me. Tate McRae is the artist that KISS introduced me to who has really helped me get my brain back on track. I have suffered with insecurities about not being enough but have been terrible at expressing and managing them. When this song came out in February I liked, and identified with it more and more every time it played. Then one afternoon I heard it and took the time to pay attention to who the artist actually was. I could not believe when I looked into her story how determined she has been to fight through and admit her insecurities, and to stick at her passions for nearly all of her life. Within three days I had written my own song about something I struggle with after exploring her material further and I felt so much better for it. I owe a lot to KISS FM and Tate McRae so this list will be full of a lot of her pieces, sorry!
2) ‘R u ok?’ by Tate McRae
During the pandemic I had a support worker who was four years older than me. Unfortunately because I thought we shared the same values I allowed her to patronise me and intervene in the way I lived my life. I didn’t realise what she was doing until she had left her post and I heard this song. I went through a stage of playing this in any difficult situation and was inspired to write my first serious song ‘rather say goodbye’. I now have a new support worker and despite the generation gap our relationship is much better, maybe the more mature influence is exactly what I needed along with someone to respect me for who I am.
3) ‘Kids are alright’ by Tate McRae
For me this is a generational mental health anthem, I love the motivational message that we will all eventually get to where we want to be, as long as we have the space to express who we are without shame.
4) ‘Apartment Song’ by Alessia Cara
Like Tate McRae, Alessia Cara is another singer who is very honest about mental health and real life issues in her lyrics. This is a beautiful song about embracing the joy of simply being with yourself, which is something I relate to massively.
5) ‘Fish Bowl’ by Alessia Cara
This is a really good song that describes anxiety openly and simply for those who might not necessarily understand what it feels like.
6) ‘Voice In My Head’ by Alessia Cara
This is a very open and honest song about beating your insecurities which I love.
7) ‘Scars To Your Beautiful’ by Alessia Cara
This is a very motivational song that reminds me of a close friend who does extremely well at battling her own struggles and supporting me with mine.
8) ‘Chaotic’ by Tate McRae
Growing up with a vision impairment I can get very frustrated and feel like my body and brain are slower than I am capable of going. At my worst I feared for my future but didn’t want to admit this, so I got very frustrated and irrational. This song about being scared to go your own way and dealing with change has helped me communicate my fears and triggers around growing up, I still have them but they are now a lot easier to manage.
9) ‘Slip’ by Tate McRae
When you first hear this it comes off as a love song, but it is actually about being scared of rejection because of your passions, which is something I relate to massively. The question of will people run away and find me annoying because I want this so badly? It can be very hard to rein yourself in when you want to devote your whole life to your dreams and share them with the world, and this song covers these dilemmas perfectly for me.
10) ‘3am’ by Tate McRae,
This is an unreleased song from around four years ago and I had to save it as the last on my list because it is the most inspirational song I have ever heard. It charts beautifully what it is like to wonder what is supposedly wrong with you then come to the realisation that actually it is better to just be yourself. This can be applied to any situation including having a disability, and is the perfect message to inspire you to embrace what you can do and not cry about what you can’t or have to do differently.
Some lyrics that I connect with:
1) ‘She’s got everything that I don’t have / How can I ever compete with that?‘ — Tate McRae, ‘She’s all I wanna be’
2) ‘They would never say it to your face / But no they never liked you anyways’ — Tate McRae, ‘R u ok?’
3) ‘No better you than the you that you are’ — Alessia Cara, ‘Scars to your beautiful’
4) ‘Your words hurt more than you think‘ — Tate McRae, ‘Hard to find’
5) ‘Tonight I’m gonna dance for all that we’ve been through / But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you’ — Taylor Swift, ‘Holy ground’
6) ‘I have this paralysing fear that I’ll maybe go nowhere’ — Tate McRae, ‘Chaotic’
7) ‘As long as our hearts can battle scars and put up a fight’ — Tate McRae, ‘Kids are alright’
8) ‘I gotta trust my lonely’ — Alessia Cara, ‘Trust my lonely’
9) ‘Every time I come on too strong I feel you pull back’ — Tate McRae, ‘Slip’
10) ‘I’m not like anyone else but I’ll never change myself’ — Tate McRae, ‘3am’
I hope this piece gives you an insight into what I am about. I’d love to hear from you about what songs or lyrics mean something to you and why? It could be a song you relate to or just one that lifts you up. Share yours in the comments below or you can email email@example.com and we’ll add them to the playlist. The VICTA team have shared theirs to get you started!
By Grace Hill