Maryland bred musician MNERVA is ready to see change surrounding the stigma of mental health, starting with the release of his new single “Stuck” on April 30th via all digital platforms. The song is the first of many musical projects for MNERVA in 2021, including his upcoming debut EP later this year. Inspired by musical influences in the rock, hip hop, and pop genres, MNERVA co-wrote the song with fellow musician Kory Shore, who also served as the track’s producer. The writing process for “Stuck” soon became an outlet for MNERVA’s frustrations while in an all time creative low during the quarantine created by the CoronaVirus pandemic.
I had a chat with MNERVA about his new single “Stuck” which comes out on 30th April on all platforms. We talked about Mental Health & its importance, songwriting Process & what goes behind creating music & how music has changed his life.
What inspired you to become a musician?
Both of my parents are former professional musicians so music was a huge part of my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are attending my parent’s gigs. I started playing drums at five years old and joined my first rock band when I was 13, where I started experimenting with songwriting before discovering hip hop in college. The band that got me deep into music was Linkin Park and I am constantly inspired by them, and other alternative acts, such as twenty one pilots, NF, and grandson. But more than anything, I was inspired to be an artist because I felt like I had something to say and wanted to help normalize talking about mental health struggles like so many of my heroes. It took me a long time to realize it’s okay to not be okay and I want to help my listeners feel heard.
How important is mental health to you?
For my whole life, I assumed that my negative feelings were irrelevant because I came from a great family and didn’t have a tragic Hollywood backstory. But in reality, I was a victim of bullying, which destroyed my self concept and convinced me that I wasn’t worthy of love. So for me, mental health awareness is everything because I didn’t realize I had deep rooted issues until the pandemic brought them all up to the surface, full force. Through my artistry, I hope to be an outlet for people like me who didn’t know how to voice their angst, anxiety, or depression.
How do you promote the idea of mental health through your music?
I try to promote my positive message about mental health by diving deep into my own issues and emotions on record and then showing people that I came out a stronger person. My current releases have seen me still putting up a wall so from here on out I’m amping up the honesty. I’m excited to see how my listeners respond to the change as the songs start getting much more personal.
You’ve put out some amazing tunes, take us through your songwriting process?
For me, a MNERVA song almost always starts with the title or punchline. Having that entry point fleshed out focuses my songwriting and makes it much easier for me to crank out my lyrics. I tend to write alone when I’m rapping but on my melodic songs, I almost always bring in my buddy, Kory Shore, or another songwriter to co-write because melody is not my specialty. From there, I’ll take a voice memo of me performing the song either acapella or with a piano and hand it off to one of my producers. At that point, I explain my vision for the song and we bounce ideas off of each other until the track is finished and recorded.
How does music help you express yourself?
For years, I always thought that I had to be the strong happy friend even when I didn’t always feel like smiling. Music was the only outlet that helped me channel my negative feelings that I hid from the world into something positive. By voicing my mental health and relationship struggles through music, I found a healthy way to process my feelings and begin healing from the past.
How does music help you connect with people?
At first, I was terrified of being completely honest on record because I was scared of being judged for how I felt. But as I’ve opened up more, people have really started to resonate with my inner thoughts and it’s been incredibly cathartic and validating for me. I once had a professor say that my skill as a songwriter is saying the thing that everyone thinks but is afraid to say. That ability is how I connect with my listeners and I plan to keep pumping out heartfelt material as I continue this crazy journey as an artist.
Your story truly inspires your fans, how does it feel being an inspiring figure?
Honestly, when people reach out to me to say they’re a fan and that I inspire them, I still don’t know how to take the compliment. I’m working through my self-worth issues everyday but I’m slowly accepting that I deserve to be successful as an artist if I keep putting in the work. I look forward to live music coming back soon because seeing a crowd enjoy my music at the source will definitely help with my perception of myself and my music.
What do you feel makes your music relatable to audiences?
I find that my music is relatable to my audience because angst, anxiety and depression are all universal human emotions. Everyone experiences major ups and downs throughout their life and I hope to be the artist they listen to when trying to get through a tough low so that they can come out stronger on the other side.
How has music helped you through your journey in life?
As I said, music is how I process my emotions and keep myself sane. Without it, I wouldn’t be unable to move forward when bad things happen to me and I wouldn’t know how to give my negative feelings a voice. If I wasn’t an artist, I guarantee that I would be an angrier person, would eventually crack from bottling things up for too long.
Do you have any upcoming projects for us to be excited about?
My next single, “Stuck,” comes out on April 30th and I really believe it’s the best song I’ve put out yet! Once that song has been released, I’ll finally begin releasing singles from my debut EP, “Talk Too Much.” The project is a change in direction for me but it’s the most authentic music I’ve ever made and I am beyond excited to return to my alternative rock roots.