Back From the Brink: A Musical Journey by Amity
16-yr-old singer songwriter Amity has composed and performed his way out of a lockdown breakdown into a completely new life as a rapidly rising artist on London’s music scene. Now, Amity wants his music to bring as much healing to others as it brings himself, so he’s bringing his mission - to shine a light, empower others and replace judgement with empathy - to Durham where he will perform for three nights this July 26-28 as part of the fringe festival with special guest appearances on the last two nights from Durham’s own spoken word artist, Beano, who is using poetry to promote suicide prevention. Amity is also Ambassador for Autistic Inclusive Meets and Founder of “Our Kindness Campaign” to help make kindness contagious. Amity opened up to Stamp Out Stigma about his journey and his dream to change the world with music. Here is a written piece by Amity which we would love to share with you!
I’m no stranger to darkness. I may be young, but I know what it is to struggle. After lockdown ended, I was diagnosed with autism, PTSD, gender dysphoria and generalised anxiety as well as suffering with tics and dissociative episodes. Not only have I experienced it, but I have seen it around me too. And that’s when I realised. I can’t let other people feel the same way I do without doing something.
It’s really important to me to use my experiences to make a difference to others and I’m always looking for ways to do that. DBT has also helped me realise that that urge to make a difference can be beneficial: by helping others we can ease our own suffering and it also can boost mood and improve self-esteem. And kindness can be contagious - acts of kindness create a ripple of kindness across a community so one kind act can go a long way. A lot further than we may ever know.
When I started writing music, it was merely an emotional outlet for me, a safe place to spew all my thoughts and feelings out and turn it into something beautiful. A form of processing.
But as time went on, and I noticed more and more people affected by mental health challenges, I realised that I could be using my music to help other people, as well as myself. So I started writing songs, not just for my own catharsis, but for other people to relate to, for the sake of spreading awareness, hope, and understanding.
Suddenly, I had so much more than the ability to make music. I finally had a way of helping people, of making a difference, of putting the world on a kinder, better path. I’ve written many songs about a variety of topics, all with one goal: to be a beacon of hope for anyone who may need it, and to show people that whatever they’re going through, they are not alone.
People struggling with mental health challenges are often misunderstood. We are stigmatised and belittled and vilified, and it can make us feel like we will never be understood by anyone. But that isn’t the case. There’s always someone out there who will understand, and with my music, I believe I can increase empathy and understanding because I sing really openly about my struggles and difficulties.
I often write about issues that aren’t spoken about enough, or that aren’t spoken about in the right ways. I aim to empower others in their own lives, whether that empowerment comes from a new angle on an issue, or recognition of their own situation, and to give people the knowledge they need to empathise through powerful, emotional lyrics. I want to make the world a kinder, safer, better place for everyone, and I believe that the power of music, potent as it is, can help me achieve this.
A lot of the time, after I perform, people come up to me and tell me they cried while listening to my music, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. It means that my music has helped them to get in touch with their emotions and has helped them begin to process things, which is a step on the path to healing. Music is transformative, and when people connect with the emotion in the song enough to cry, it shows that they feel seen and heard, and I believe that it helps them on their own road to recovery.
I recently had a cancer survivor approach me after a show to tell me that she was going to get a tattoo over her cancer scar inspired by my song, Comet Trails. That song has become part of her journey of healing. It’s safe to say that I cried after that one myself.
There is a lot of defiance in my music, defiance against all the things that life can throw at you, because I’ve battled against so much, and I want to show other people that they do have the strength and willpower to keep fighting. For instance, in the breakdown of Ragdoll, a song I wrote while being trapped in an abusive relationship, I practically scream the words “I can’t go that quietly.” I want people to be inspired to find the strength within themselves to keep fighting whatever battle it is they’re going through, because there is so much good waiting on the other side.
Check out Amity's music here: https://youtu.be/MuVKoDghMGI
Come and see Amity live! Tickets: https://durhamfringe.co.uk/events/amity
Follow him on social media: https://linktr.ee/amitymiller