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Michael Chivalier, aka Psychoetry, is a hip hop artist from Evansville, Indiana. From a young age, music had a profound effect on his life growing up. He wasn’t allowed to listen to explicit music, so his friends would give him copies of albums from various hip hop artists and metal bands like Korn. These musicians inspired him to pursue his dream as an artist, and he started writing lyrics as young as 12 and began recording at 17.
Psychoetry’s music is influenced by his experiences and the struggles that he faces in life. To him, music is the ultimate form of creative expression and an outlet to address the challenges that he – and the people around him – go through every day. His latest release, Upside Down, delves into the world of depression and suicide with the message of raising awareness and bringing hope to others that you are not alone. For Psychoetry, it’s personal. His own battle with depression has had a major impact on his life that he continually struggles to overcome.
Music has helped him channel his feelings of depression and anger into a constructive release that he uses to push forward. It has created an insatiable drive and hunger to fight back through self-expression. The catalyst that inspired the creation of Upside Down was when Psychoetry heard the news that Chester Bennington, the lead singer for Linkin Park, had taken his own life.
Psychoetry recalled that day:
“Linkin Park has had a huge impact on me as a person as well as my music. I grew up listening to them, and I remember the first time I ever heard them. I don’t handle death well at all. When I found out about the news, it took around six hours for the shock to wear off – and then I just lost it. It was so painful knowing that someone who helped me through so much had taken their life.”
Psychoetry used this moment to channel the shock, disbelief, and anger that he felt from the loss of one of his idols into his newest song. For him, writing lyrics is a therapeutic process, a way to vent and express all of the thoughts and emotions that run through him.
In Upside Down, Psychoetry’s lyrics reflect the struggles of depression and staying strong. In a sense, he describes the battle between the darkness of depression and the light of persevering through it. In the first verse, Psychoetry paints a picture that so many face with depression and trying to figure a way out:
I’m in a dark place, and it’s been a long while
Each day it gets harder to smile
Confined in four walls like a prison cell
I must admit life is a livin’ hell
When you’re different, being shunned by society
Cuz I don’t fit in to the puzzle they created
Berated by everybody I come across daily
Cuz originality to them is ugly and they hate it
So I sit at home alone, plotting my revenge
Or a suicide attempt, wishin’ it’ll end
But I don’t wanna die, I just wanna feel love
Or something close to it cuz I’m sick of being numb
In the hook, he describes this battle created by the darkness of depression and making the choice to face the pain and stay strong:
Right now I’m upside down and inside out
Tryna figure out what life’s about
But these dark clouds follow me around
And I just can’t see so I scream and shout
Let me out this cage I’m in
I don’t wanna be lost in the maze again
I can’t face the day and it’s safe to say
I must come face to face with the pain within
When he was ready to record the song, he reached out to @youthinkmusic, whom he follows on YouTube, to find out if he could collaborate with him by using one of his instrumental tracks. You Think Music agreed, and Psychoetry then began the process of recording his song Upside Down. Once the song was recorded, Psychoetry started working on a music video in order to help raise awareness for depression and suicide prevention.
He wanted to provide a visual representation of what the struggle with depression is really like. Shot in a hazy, amateur-style way, it’s designed to evoke a visceral reaction to the thoughts and emotions that people face with depression. The video uses shades of black to represent the darkness, red for anger, and lighter tones when showing images of people that signifies life and hope in the midst of battling depression. At the end, Psychoetry provides the number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and dedicates this song to Chester Bennington, who inspired him.
When Psychoetry was asked what message he would like to tell others battling depression, he said:
“The best advice I can give is to latch onto something creative you excel at, and use that to keep your mind and hands busy. When I’m down, I write lyrics, listen to music, and play video games.”
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