JONES – Going Through The Emotions

4 months ago   |   Words: Rebecca Durband

British electro-pop singer Cherie Jones, AKA JONES, has recently released her New York EP and lead single ‘Silver Screen.’ Boasting support from the likes of Sam Smith, JONES incorporates the soul and reggae her mother helped soundtrack her youth with. We chatted to JONES about how meditation is key, anxiety, grief and a clean diet. 

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I have just finished a couple of novels by the French author Francois Sagan I’ve just read a book called Bonjour Tristesse which means ‘Hello Sadness’ and it was beautiful. I’m listening to a lot of old vintage sounding French piano music and I haven’t been watching too much recently – however I did watch a really inspirational episode of Chef’s Table featuring the very interesting Francis Mallmann which I’d recommend.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

The first was overcoming my stage anxiety and the second was dealing with grief when my mother was gravely unwell. My fear of performing with something that help me back immensely in my early years I always loved and adored music and playing music but struggled with being able to feel free when others were watching. I decided to push through and gradually things got better it was difficult but I managed to get to the place that I’m at now which is a free, comfortable and confident space. I enjoy performing now – I feel excitement but not anxiety.

When my mother was unwell I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and grief and found it hard to think of much else, my life had been turned on its head and truly the only things that has helped and could’ve helped were time and being able to throw myself into music. I always say that music to me is a lifeline and I stand by that firmly having an outlet and something to immerse myself in was one of the most healing things I could’ve done and it’s only now after some time had passed that I can see just how healing it has been for me.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Waking up naturally and early, making a bullet-proof coffee and then doing my morning workout. Exercise is a very healing thing that I have worked into my routine as a measure to keep myself in balance mentally it helps me research helps me to feel good and gives me energy. I would then have a beautiful lunch somewhere around London with a friend, ideally in warm weather. A walk somewhere green a bit of time to get lost into a book and then out somewhere for dinner in the evening. For me food and happiness very closely interlinked

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

During the dark moments of my life I found that writing gratitude lists is immensely powerful and sometimes can be the only thing to lift a dark cloud from over my head. I’m thankful to be aware of this tool, to be able to lift my mind up when it’s fallen and re-adjust my perspective to look at things from a positive angle and take the weight off of any negative things or feelings. There are so many things to be grateful for but I think the two most important are my good health and being able to do music as I do as a career.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Ace mental health for me means balance and freedom. The feeling of being yourself and feeling happy and content with that feeling hopeful feeling energised and unburdened.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

I like to eat as many greens as possible so spinach,kale, broccoli, spiriluna. Eggs are stable and I havebeen dipping in and out of the kettle genic diet which incorporates facts as the majority of what youeat and less starchy carbs. I don’t eat red meat as a general rule and eat mostly chicken or salmon. I of course love junk food and sugar but always trying to cut this out as I do find the cleaner I eat the better I feel. I allow myself treats – you have to live! But I am always aiming for the majority of my diet to be clean.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I have a routine of doing it HIIT training in the mornings – I have a bank of different exercises that I draw from during this. I also enjoy yoga classes.

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

I haven’t thought about tag for years! Yes I used to play this during school it was generally boys versus girls, we used to have another game called kiss-chase where it was normally the girls chasing the boys to try and kiss them – rather than the other way around!

What three songs lift your spirits?

House music in general (I have a great playlist for working out to!) – Disco always gets me smiling and then Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

One of the most life changing books that I recall reading is a book called The Untethered Soul – this really provided me with multiple breakthrough moments and I would highly recommend it. It’s one that I have gone back to for years and years. I would also recommend The Power of Now.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed? 

Meditation – if feeling unsure about what meditation is or how to do it I would recommend to a friend to try a class as this is another thing that also helps me resetand find clarity. You always leave a meditation session feeling better than where you started. I would also add to be kind to yourself during the meditation process, it can be frustrating when feeling that you’re not getting ‘there’ but it is a journey and takes practice and patience and even five minutes is beneficial to yourself and a loving thing to do. I’d say workout find some form of physical activity that works for you it’s not a one size fits all with exercise. Another powerful and very easy, simple thing to do is breathe (mindfulness). Deep breaths in, hold the breath in the middle, then deep breaths out – doing this for five minutes is so helpful when feeling stressed.

Listen to JONES here. 

Skinny Pelembe – Going Through The Emotions

1 week ago   |   Words: Mark Taylor   |   Photography: Auriane Defert

The successful pursuit of artistic endeavour has afforded Skinny Pelembe some well-earned lie-in’s, but don’t confuse a late start with laziness. The singer-guitarist-producer has been burning the midnight oil working on music that has featured on 6 Music and Radio 1 Xtra. After recently finishing a UK tour supporting the release of his single ‘I Just Wanna Be Your Prisoner’, Doncaster-raised Skinny offers The Mind Map his varied insight into accepting personal loss, and how best to navigate the London Underground with musical equipment in tow.

What are you working on at the moment?

Album 1 tracks, beats for other folks, a choral arrangement, album 2 demos, ideas for a special super cool science project, and since painting the new EP cover I’m trying to get my brush game up again!

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

Honestly, just trying to keep it together since losing my old man (as in passing on, not like losing him in one of those mega Sainsburys stores that do bedding and stuff, too). I guess you don’t overcome, more accept, having music / art as an outlet is so massively underrated.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

I might have had the perfect day in Nottingham last weekend, the city that just gives! City centre paddling pool, fairground, artificial beach, a Universal Works store, we played a show at Rough Trade, Yazmin Lacey and the Running Circle crew came out to hang. The only thing more that I wanted was a 99 flake, and when I finally got one I think I felt my pancreas bend upwards to form a smile shape.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I’m very quickly becoming obsessed with Aldous Harding’s voice and singing faces, so I’m listening and watching her A LOT. Reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami again, the whole mood of the book just feels so familiar, it’s the comforting literary equivalent of pie and mash for me.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I’m most grateful that for at least most of my working week I don’t have to wake up before 9am anymore. That sounds lazy, but I’ll happily work till 4am, so get off my back, man!

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

…being the salmon that can swim upstream, and not necessarily make it up the river, but still smile as you push through the current.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

As little sugar and “bad” carbs as possible. Apart from the obnoxious amount of Rubicon passion fruit, and Maoam, and Nata cakes I consume.

I have the Juan Manuel Fangio of metabolisms, so until it slows down I’m just gonna continue to read loads about nutrition and be that wanker talks the talk but doesn’t walk it.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

Running everywhere with my guitar, amp and pedals. I’m working with transport for London on a system that incorporates the kettlebell “functional movement” style into the “late musician lugging loads of gear around” routine, I think it’s just going to be a game changer…

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

SJC. Standing Jump Crew. A rag tag group of young, dedicated mavericks with one goal – to push the limits of the standing-start long jump. I left the game as Doncaster Metropolitan Borough’s under 12’s Long Jump champ. The group disbanded shortly after. I’d hit the wall. Literally.

What three songs lift your spirits?

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Show Me What You Got – Busta Rhymes

Just One Second – London Elektricity

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

Those that matter don’t mind.

Those that mind don’t matter.

Mind over matter.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Paul McKenna’s Deep Relaxation Guided Hypnosis tape. Sounds ridiculous. Is ridiculous. But it works…

You can find Skinny Pelembe’s latest tour dates and releases here.

Nia Wyn – Going Through The Emotions

2 weeks ago   |   Words: Rebecca Durband

Nia Wyn is an inspiring young woman – using her own mental health experiences to help others.  Growing up in a small town in North Wales, Nia found comfort in old soul and blues records. Her latest release ‘Turnstiles’ was produced by Paul Weller. We caught up with the socially conscious storyteller to discuss her work, music and how she stays well.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I’ve been digging up 1960s and 70s Aretha Franklin releases. Early Nas. Trojan compilations too and the new Internet album. I haven’t found time to read for quite a while now. I’ve been watching a lot of UK crime dramas lately, including the Unforgotten. Plus Matt Groening’s new show Disenchantment.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

Giving up alcohol. I’ve been four years sober. I had to draw on the support of my loved ones, throw myself into music and take my time. One of the best decisions I ever made.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

That I need to give myself a break now and again as I’m way too hard on myself – still working on it.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Spending the daytime with my loved ones, including my two cats Bobo and Homer, and then finishing the night off with a banging show with my band.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

That I’m still alive, and for the love and compassion I receive from those closest to me.

Could you tell us more about your work within mental health?

At the moment I work a couple days a week in a voluntary-sector mental health service in South London. I use my lived experience of mental illness to support others, and co-run a peer support project there. It’s rewarding and pays the bills to do music.

How have your personal experiences helped you develop empathy towards mental illness?

I think we are experts by experience. The best placed people to understand people experiencing mental illness are the ones who have been there themselves and can support someone by validating them and being there for them. It’s not about being ‘I know exactly how you feel’ cos that’s not true, no one knows exactly how you feel. But my experiences help me to relate and know what it’s like to be stigmatised in society.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Having time to be creative, feeling grounded, clear-headed and having good awareness of what I need in that moment.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

Try to get a good range of different vegetables, fish, meat. Most healthy days I’ll have a balanced diet with REASONABLE portions…

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I used to be really slack with this – when I was a kid I was a proper little footballer, playing games every week. I had a long period of not exercising at all but as of late I’m pushing myself to go 2-3 times a week, half cardio half strength work. I do what I feel like on the day as long as I go, cos it’s not just about the affect on my body, it’s more about my mental wellbeing.

What three songs lift your spirits?

Marvin Gaye – How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
Princess Nokia – GOAT
Buddy – Hey Up There

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

To give yourself time – and to know it’s okay to feel that way, and that the feeling will pass because all feelings are temporary.

Finally, what was it like working with Paul Weller? What did you learn from his approach?

It was the dopest. He is a real dude, proper down to earth and wise as hell. I learnt a lot from working with him, and we talk fairly often – he gives me a lot of tips and I’ve been sending him more material I’ve been writing. The biggest thing I take away from working with him is to not be afraid to try something new, push boundaries and be comfortable shapeshifting genres – if it sounds good it sounds good.

Chris Kirkland – Going Through The Emotions

1 month ago   |   Words: Caoimhe O'Neill

Former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland walked away from professional football in 2016, having spent 17 seasons at clubs including Coventry City, Liverpool, Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday. He has since spoken publicly on his decision to retire from the game due to anxiety. In turn Chris has become one of the leading voices of mental health and wellbeing in football. Kirkland hasn’t altogether hung up his gloves – now coaching for Liverpool F.C Women as well as running his own academy for young goalkeepers. We caught up with Chris to ask about his favourite save, advice for goalies under pressure, his perfect day and more.

Hi Chris, you’ve just become the new goalkeeping coach for Liverpool Ladies, how are you getting on in your new role?

I’m loving the new role at Liverpool F.C Women. I was waiting for the right opportunity to come up and as I do a lot with Liverpool Football Club already, being a supporter and former player, this was perfect for me.

In 2001 you signed for Liverpool from Coventry City. Looking back, what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self to help stay in a good frame of mind?

When I was younger it wasn’t an issue, all I wanted to do was play football. It wasn’t until I got into my 30s that I started to struggle mentally. So, I wish there was help around back then at the clubs I was at because no doubt I would have sought professional help.

Who was your sporting idol when you were growing up?

My sporting idol was Steve Ogrizovic at Coventry City. Just seeing the way he trained and how he handled himself on and off the pitch, I learnt a lot from him and we still speak regularly to this day.

What was the most memorable save you made?

My most memorable save was against Nicolas Anelka at Chelsea for Wigan. I managed to scramble and lean back to tip a header over the bar at an important time of the game.

Goalkeepers can be highly scrutinised by fans and the media for their performances. Loris Karius being a recent example. Porto’s Iker Casillas defended the young German by uploading a highlights reel of his own mistakes in solidarity. What is the best advice you received during your playing days?

Keepers will make mistakes, always have, always will, just forget about it and save the next one.

What would you say to any goalkeeper playing under this level of pressure?

You have to try and switch off away from football. Family life is vitally important and the most important thing is if you are happy off the pitch you are happy on it and vice-versa.

As an ex-professional footballer physical activity was obviously a big part of your daily routine. What does your exercise regime consist of today?

I’m still very active. I power walk with my dog most days for 6 miles, I go the gym 3-4 times a week, play golf and obviously the GK training at Liverpool and my academy keeps me very active.

What are you listening to or watching at the moment?

I listen to all chart music and country music. We are watching Shooter on Netflix at the minute.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

I’ve learnt that times can seem unbelievably hard but if you talk through your problems there is a way out if you want it enough and obviously how important my wife, daughter, friends and dog are to me.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Perfect day would be an early morning walk with my dog, a nice bacon butty for breakfast, go out somewhere with my family and then cook a big roast for tea.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I’m most grateful for still being here and having a great family and friends.

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