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The Broken Record Project: Healing through the arts
“I say Stella’s, you say Place!”
Artist, producer and founder of the Broken Record project, David Ogbeide also known as his stage name ‘Boyojoy,’ chanted into the mic as a celebratory conclusion to a night of music and art, organized in support of Stella’s Place. On May 19th, Stella’s Place Staff attended a pre-release performance of ‘Broken Record’ at Tranzac night club in downtown Toronto.
Broken Record is a collaboration of a group of 7 artists on a collective R&B/Hip-hop album, which aims to break stigmas surrounding mental & spiritual health. The album focuses on “the way we shove away the deep internal problems we have and cover it up with antidepressants; how we stigmatize ourselves and we create that danger, almost like a ticking time bomb.” Before the performances began, Boyojoy prefaced the performances: “as you go through the album, the tracks become more and more positive, as if you’re healing when you go through it.”
Boyojoy chose to donate all income from the pre-release night to Stella’s Place. In his words: “we need more organizations like [Stella’s Place]. You know I’m glad we’re in the age now where we’re actually expanding in our knowledge of mental health and alternative methods.” We got the chance to ask Boyojoy a few questions about what led him to create Broken Record and why the arts play a huge part in healing.
What was your drive/purpose/inspiration for creating this album?
Two years ago I was coming out of a very rough patch, one of my lowest points in my life. After I graduated from U of T engineering, I was finishing my vacation in the Philippines sitting in my room in a village somewhere, wondering when my travel papers would get sorted out so I could return home. I was scrolling through YouTube and found a video on meditation and I kind of passed it off as nothing useful, but still something in me thought: “meh, whatever, I’ll give it a shot”. Within 10 minutes though, I had this clean and complete momentary peace from anxiety, depression, confusion, etc. for the very first time. It was gone. August 12th, 2017 was the first day of the rest of my life.
Immediately, I was overcome with drive and enough clarity to leave the village with whatever money I had left and solve my travel issue in record time and boom, I knew this was my path. Since then, I’ve dived deep into learning ancient teachings and esoteric knowledge of the mind, emotions, the universe, spirituality etc. It all pretty much became my life.
I knew that if my own deep traumas could be resolved, then everyone else had the power to do the same. We can all free ourselves from this never-ending cycle of trauma and beliefs; the “Broken Record” of society that leaves us trapped from who we really are, our true power. I knew the world had to know about it because all people are worthy of happiness, so what better way to spread a message than through (you guessed it)… music! Everybody loves cool songs, am I right?
Why is music and the arts in general important to mental health?
Art is a very powerful way to affect a culture, so why not use it to heal or have a good time? Music makes us move, makes us feel, makes us think, and can change a whole generation. Music is affecting our mental health all the time.
Why did you choose to fundraise for the pre-release event?
I figured it would be a great way to support the cause. Plus, the musical performance would give people a good incentive to lend a helping hand, so I found a beneficiary I liked (Stella’s Place)!
Is there anything that you would say to people going through their own mental health issues right now?
Despite what you are going through, there is absolutely nothing wrong with who you are as a person. You may have been labeled “broken”, but that’s only because the beauty that IS your consciousness wasn’t loved or recognized. We were all made who we are for a reason and I believe in your ability to find yours. Take up daily meditation, try out yoga, go for a reiki healing session, speak your truth. A lot of our inner pain stems from spiritual imbalances or unsaid words. All the answers lie within.
Could you please list the names of the artists involved and their social handles below?
- There’s me (Boyojoy), the producer of the album. I also sing on 3 of the songs. @boyojoymusic
- Steve Harmony, who sings a dark but boomy song on wanting to escape the “Cold Shell” we’re trapped in. @steveharmony3
- Raevv’n, who sings a dark but hopeful song on fighting the inner demon that pretends to be us. She doesn’t have social media sadly.
- Key-J Mitchell, who helped with production on a couple of tracks, but he raps on a dynamic and creative song about the pressures and being overwhelmed. @feanix_fukari
- Chaenel Mattis, who sings an uplifting song on rising into your own power. @chaenelmattis
- Symbolik, who duos a bitter-sweet song with Chaenel on the lies we tell ourselves. @symbolikone
- 5imba, who duos a happy and reassuring track with Boyojoy called “Sit With It”. @5imba416
Learn more about the artists, and pre-order Broken Record at this link!
Asante is our Peer Training Support Manager at Stella’s Place. He went up to say a few words, reflecting that the album is important for him because he grew up making hip-hop music himself. He concluded: “What we are really trying to create is community, so thank you for inviting us into your community tonight.”
Echoing Asante’s words, Stella’s Place would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who came out, to the artists on the album, and of course to Boyojoy for supporting Stella’s Place and the future of mental health. Not only is it important to have these conversations, but to also create space for community and support through the arts.
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