Mike Ragogna: Natasha, what is the story behind your song “Hope”?
Natasha Bedingfield: I’ve always wanted to do a project with a beauty brand. When philosophy approached me about writing an original song in support of the hope and grace initiative, it felt like a partnership that made sense. There are so many similarities between what the hope and grace initiative stands for, and the things that I think about when I make music. They have a positivity about them. It was very easy to get inspired to write “Hope” because I write from a female perspective and have always written about everyday issues and emotions and questions that women in particular have.
Philosophy’s goal is to raise awareness, money and support for women’s mental health. Through the hope and grace initiative, the brand dedicates one percent of all sales to effective community-based organizations working to empower women through the promotion of mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention and treatment of related issues.
MR: What do you feel are the mental health needs of women?
NB: Statistics show that 450 million worldwide are suffering from mental health issues. There are a lot of stresses and expectations on woman and people in general. It’s important to raise awareness, to help people get help and for people not to feel embarrassed about their problems. This comes through public awareness, through removing the stigma on mental health problems, and by not glamorizing destructive behavior.
MR: How does music play into this? For instance, you wrote the song “Hope” with the intention of raising consciousness.
NB: A song speaks on an unconscious level because music is symbolic, like dreams, and it has the ability to plant seeds of change in consciousness as well. Sometimes, if you just say something to someone it doesn’t sink in. Just giving someone information doesn’t tend to speak to them as deeply as what music communicates.
MR: What advice do you have for new artists?
NB: Write from a real place, write about things that you know about. There’s an endless amount of room for new creative voices. Start with what’s in your hands. Don’t wait until you win the lottery to be an artist.
MR: What would you ideally like to see happen as a result of the initiative?
NB: I’d like to see new conversations opened up about how we can support each other at our most vulnerable times, and for people to know that the numbers show that there’s definitely someone in their lives who is suffering from mental illness whether they are aware of it or not. I want for people who are affected by mental illness to know that they’re not alone, and to feel supported and that there is a lot of hope.