The Covid-19 Pandemic is taking a worldwide mental health toll, with crisis hotlines reporting a more than 1,000 percent increase over last year. And yet, few are talking about this “shadow illness”. On a mission to amplify the importance of mental health – and encourage those suffering to seek solace in the power of music – members of Candlebox, Sponge, and Wheatus have joined forces with 94.3 FM The Shark (Long Island) Assistant Program Director Brian Orlando for the “Choose Song” initiative.
Described as “a musical sledge hammer to the stigma of discussing mental health,” “Choose Song” features Kevin Martin (Candlebox), Brendan B. Brown (Wheatus), Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge), Andy and Tim Patalan (Sponge), and Josh Devine (Session Musician/Live Drummer For One Direction).
An accompanying video starring former WWE wrester and 94.3 The Shark show host Ashley Massaro, who tragically took her own life shortly after filming, was unveiled this past weekend during Sponge’s “Beer Session’s” Facebook Live show and is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=zxEIt5GM-j0&feature=emb_logo.
According to Orlando, the project has been three years in the making since he first started penning the lyrics to what would later become the powerhouse anthem “Choose Song” in 2017 as a way to make sense of Chris Cornell’s untimely death. The team originally had plans to hold the release until later this year, however the imminent need to address the country’s mental health crisis drove them to push up the release date.
“The evolution of the ‘Choose Song’ project has been a long and difficult one – especially after Ashley’s passing,” said Orlando. “We really struggled with when the right time would be to release the video. However, when the Pandemic hit, and subsequent civil unrest and turmoil, we knew it was time for us to help others out there struggling. Ashley’s family gave us their blessing and we decided to move forward. We want to show that with music, you are never alone.”
For more information about The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention visit https://afsp.org.