‘Gravity’ originally featured on my solo album, ‘Little One,’ as a piano-based ballad. I wrote the album following the loss of my mother, who passed away in 2012. After she died my depression and anxiety got much worse, to the point where I just didn’t want to be here anymore. She’d always been my go-to; she knew how to turn my irrational thoughts around, and would do anything she could to distract me to ease my anxiety.
Following Mum’s death my marriage broke down and I had to leave my teaching job due to stress, and my mental health deteriorated further. With her gone, I felt that I didn’t know how to deal with all these thoughts on my own, and things came to a head one night when I headed to the beach and filled my pockets with stones.
Just as I was wading into the water my phone rang. It was my dad. He was just ringing for a chat. We talked at length, just catching up. I told him where I was, but not why I was there. At the end of the conversation he said, “Right, little one, are you ready to go home?”…and I was.
Speaking to him made me realise that I had more to live for than I had convinced myself of, and I took the stones out of my pockets, and walked home again. I started working on the song, ‘Little One,’ the next day, and the rest of the album followed.
Whilst writing was a big help, I needed more, so I had therapy and was put on antidepressants. With various therapists I worked through some other underlying issues, and realised some coping strategies. The five years that followed weren’t easy - I still had my bad days, but the good days popped up more and more frequently.
In the last year, my mental health has gone down hill again. My anxiety now comes coupled with twitching and ticks which has affected me massively. When you already hate the way you look, the way you speak, the way you carry yourself, and convince yourself that all of your failures (read ‘failures’ as ‘anything that doesn’t go exactly to plan and isn’t a huge and immediate success’) are due to your appearance, throwing full body twitches into the mix isn’t a great recipe.
Without my partner, my best friend, and my dad, I absolutely would not be here. But I have survived, and I know that with the right people around me and some hard work on my part, I will continue to survive, and I’ll climb out of this hole again.
I wrote 'Gravity' as a message of hope to those who need it, and the video features myself along side some beautiful souls, who struggle every day with mental health issues, either of their own or of someone they care about. We're speaking out about it in the hope that others might see some light at the end of tunnel and feel that they can open up too. I worked on an arrangement of the song for my band, the Hiccups, and we created a much more dynamic, pop-rock sound for it, in order to (hopefully) reach more people with the message.
The chorus lyrics ‘Would a rose still smell as sweet without the darkness of the street?’ is questioning whether I would be the person I am today without all of the negative experiences I’ve gone through. Whilst I don’t like myself, I know that I’m a stronger person now than I was six years ago, for example, when I lost my mum. I also know that I am more resilient to criticism than when I was younger, because nobody is harder on me than I am.
Every day is different, every journey is different, but I strongly believe that together WE can make a difference.
About Jen Stevens
An experienced and passionate live performer, often compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Regina Spektor, Jen Stevens is an award-winning singer/songwriter based in North East England.
"Incredibly powerful and moving songs, with heart-wrenching lyrics, and an inimitably beautiful voice.”
The calibre of acts that Jen (and her band, the Hiccups) has worked with speaks volumes about the quality of music that she produces and how strong her work ethic is. A regular performer around the North East and at venues all over the UK, she has also played alongside Lindesfarne, Mark Knopfler, Maximo Park, The Futureheads, Paul Weller and Jools Holland, as well as supporting several other big acts, including Scouting for Girls, Squeeze, Neville Staple, Toploader and Brand New Heavies.
Jen’s debut solo album, ‘Little One,’ is a collection of songs documenting a journey of mistakes and misdemeanours, of love and loss, of healing and of hope.
“I’ve been playing piano for 27 years, and singing for as long as I can remember, and started writing songs as a means to tell stories and communicate my feelings – I don’t like to sing about things I can’t relate to, so it makes sense to write my own music, and sing about people, experiences and things that mean something to me. If I can reach out to just one person and touch one heart at a gig or through a recording, then I’ve accomplished something.”