Collaborative song explores mental health

Justine Hansen, of Constantia, worked with Danish musician Martin Høybye to write Freedom is a State of Mind. Picture: supplied

Nurturing the resilience, humanity and sanctity of inner freedom in order to heal are themes explored in Freedom is a State of Mind, a song co-written by Justine Hansen, of Constantia, and Danish musician Martin Høybye.

“When we balance our voices, we’ll broaden our choices. And nurture the spaces generating the places of sanctuary deep inside. So much healing is needed, so much decomplicating when freedom is a state of mind,” runs the song’s chorus.

We have a choice to grant or deny freedom in our relationships, says Ms Hansen, but instead we conform to mantras that scare us to bow to convention and other forms of control that are intended to blame, shame, threaten, insult or silence others, and we limit not only our freedom but the freedom of others as well. Conversely, when we choose a state of mind that embraces the freedom of others, we liberate ourselves too.

“There will always be limitations beyond our sphere of influence, but many of the societal attitudes, conventions and restrictions we place on ourselves and those around us could be creatively re-examined.”

One example of this, she says, is the collective pressure that many young people experience to be excessively connected on social media and other digital platforms at the expense of their mental health.

“Finding the off button helps us master technology rather than being controlled by it. And when we overcome fears about being left out or selfish or left behind in the technological race, a space is created for alternative forms of connection with peers.”

Mr Høybye has been writing songs collaboratively with people in South Africa and elsewhere since 2018, gauging global lived experiences. Freedom is a State of Mind is the third single from Mr Høybye’s upcoming album, Songs in the Key of Collaboration.

Although hailing from different ends of the world, the songwriters quickly found common interest in a desire to try to speak about mental health.

“We had a give-and-take-conversation and took careful notes before playing a melody game. After a few hours, this song was born, drawing on Justine’s back story, which is one of overcoming a great deal of turmoil and hardship in her youth. It is a call to protect our sanctuaries, whether tangible or intangible, from being slowly appropriated in the midst of the many interconnected crises we are living through globally,” says Mr Høybye.

Songs in the Key of Collaboration has 10 songs written with people who accepted Mr Høybye’s open invitation to co-write – regardless of any musical experience. All songs were created based on the experiences of the collaborators. Freedom is a State of Mind, released on Friday January 19, is available on the Martin Hoybye YouTube channel.