Today, WHY?, the creative moniker for songwriter Yoni Wolf, have shared a cover of Silver Jew’s “We Are Real” in tribute to the late David Berman and World Mental Health Day. Speaking about the cover, Yoni says, “I always looked up to David Berman. His songs and his poetry book had a huge impact on me in my early career. His death […]
Today, WHY?, the creative moniker for songwriter Yoni Wolf, have shared a cover of Silver Jew’s “We Are Real” in tribute to the late David Berman and World Mental Health Day.
Speaking about the cover, Yoni says, “I always looked up to David Berman. His songs and his poetry book had a huge impact on me in my early career. His death was a staggering blow. We were only distant acquaintances but he somehow felt like a long lost half big brother or estranged uncle. I was a wreck for several days after I heard the news, listening to and reading all his work. Then I decided to learn “We Are Real” as a way to console myself. It was quite an emotional experience but sure enough it helped a lot to just sing his words out loud.”Yoni Wolf of WHY? Read on as we chat to Yoni about his mental health challenges.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
Chronic illness I would say. I can’t say I’ve overcome it as such but I have definitely become more accepting of my predicament through time with a lot of love from my partner and others.
What do you think affects your mental health positively?
Exercise, yoga, doing good work, small group social scenarios.
Isolation, external stress, big group social scenarios.
What role does creativity play in your wellbeing?
It is crucial for me. When I’m being creative, getting into a flow state and making work I feel good about, I am usually good to go. I wonder sometimes if my mental health is too connected to my work in fact. Like it’s a little precariously connected to how my work is going. I should probably meditate more or something.
What are you reading, watching and listening to at the moment?
We just started watching Survivor and it is incredible (The quintessential American reality show that’s been on for like 40 seasons), I listen to a lot of podcasts like Song Exploder, Broken Record, Radiolab, This American Life, 1619, Fresh Air, etc. etc.
What’s your go to music if you need a boost?
I have sort of a weird relationship with music recently to be honest. I’m sure it’ll regain its impact for me but at the moment, music feels a little tainted by the fact that it is such an overbearing part of my life– work, hobby, personal. I still listen to music to be sure but I’ve like seen behind the curtain or something if you know what I mean.
What are your favourite foods?
I have a relatively limited diet because of my Crohn’s disease but food is my first and everlasting love. I love it all really– smoothies, sushi, stir fries, potatoes, eggs, onions and garlic (which I have just been trying to add back in to my diet), salmon, roast chicken, peanut butter, cashews, plantain chips, and on and on.
Do you like to exercise or meditate at all?
Yes I do and it helps a lot but I do it way too infrequently. I’ll get back into it soon though!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received in regards to your mental wellbeing?
I can’t think of one piece of advice that really sticks out – and I’ve had like 5 therapists throughout my life lol – but I have a handful of people in my life that I can talk to that help put things in perspective for me.
How have you changed since 15, and what advice would you give to that person?
I think I have gotten less impulsive and also easier on myself. I would tell that kid, “Before you are about to do something intense, take a few deep breaths and think about it from the outside. Also, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be nice to the people that are around you and try to enjoy the moments of your life.”
All proceeds from the single go to mental health charities.
WHY? start a European tour on 23 October, visit: https://whywithaquestionmark.com/ for dates.
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