The issue of bullying has been prevalent for many years and continues to be so in today's society, especially with the use of social media at an all-time high. With bullying comes depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, which can be tough to break out of. It takes a strong individual to make it through and come out stronger than ever. Cue HALIENE, a singer from LA who experienced intense bullying, but found comfort in electronic music and the PLUR movement.
Released on January 30th via Monstercat, "Saving Light" is an anthem for those who have or are experiencing bullying at any level. Trance legend Gareth Emery, alongside Standerwick and HALIENE, have partnered with anti-bullying group Ditch The Label to have 100% of all profits from the song go towards the group's initiatives. Monstercat will be pushing a donation drive throughout the song's campaign, as well. EARMILK was fortunate enough to talk with HALIENE about the track, working with Emery and Standerwick, as well as opening up about her experience with bullying and how she came out of the experience stronger than ever.
"Working with Gareth and Standerwick was a dream come true. I vividly remember hearing “Concrete Angel” for the first time… it blew me away! Since that moment, I always wanted a song with him", the singer states about working with the artists on "Saving Light". The collaboration between them was a natural fit and the singer said she would never forget the moment where she sang the track live for the first time.
"Saving Light"'s message hits close to home for HALIENE as she had an extremely difficult time during middle school. After struggling with her parents' divorce at age seven, she started her music career at age 14 and was travelling often and missing days of school, which her other classmates did not understand. The misunderstanding turned to hatred and she began experiencing intense bullying from former friends. "One by one, I lost almost all my friends. There were times when classmates I used to be close friends with, refused to stand on the same sidewalk as me. I experienced name calling and insults. I lost almost all my confidence and felt so alone. I experienced isolation and depression without any real support network." The hardships continued as she lost both her parents to cancer within six months of each other and her record company refused to pay her or release her music.
"There were many times, when I thought about how easy it would be to just leave this world…that there wasn’t much left in it for me anyway. I missed my parents so much, and I felt so alone. Here I was, in the massive city of Los Angeles with my dreams left in ashes. But that’s when I went to my first dance music festival and things began to change", HALIENE recalls. She was exposed to the music, people and the PLUR movement, which breathed new life into the singer personally and professionally. The music had saved her. Using this new found appreciation for life, HALIENE began moving forward and used the electronic community as her "Saving Light".
I asked the singer if she had any advice for those struggling with bullies and bullying. "Bullies are only giving back what they carry inside of them, or perhaps reflecting what they have seen in their own home. Bullies are often being bullied even worse by someone else. Dealing with a bully is always a balance of stating a boundary, standing up for yourself, but also recognizing that their negative actions and words are coming from a place of pain in them, not necessarily malice. Also, it is never truly you who is the problem, so don’t let them bring you down!" HALIENE believes negative energy shouldn't drag you down, but let it propel you. Keep feeding the dream in your heart and your eyes on the future.
To learn more about "Saving Light" and the campaign for Ditch The Label, check out Monstercat's call to action page here.