Teaming up with charities to raise awareness of pressing issues is not a new concept for the Bloom Twins. 2015 saw the twins joining forces with UNICEF, covering John Lennon’s iconic ‘Imagine’, in a campaign for children’s rights across the globe. And Bloom Twins are once again combining action with harmonies with their latest single ‘Talk To Me’, in which they raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health – an issue which has affected them both personally.
Nicky Lee-Delisle caught up with the Bloom Twins to find out more about the latest single, and their experiences of mental health issues.
“We wrote ‘Talk To Me’ four years ago” the twins tell me. “One of our friends died from anorexia… Her grandmother died and she was the closest person to her. At some point she stopped talking to anybody and letting anyone in. Passing away from Anorexia was the consequence of not talking to people, and that is what the song is about. The whole idea is focused on talking to people and letting people in.”
The video for ‘Talk To Me’ is a harrowing race against time in an engulfing city landscape, reminding the viewer to take direct action in reaching out to those who need it before it is too late – “We tried to think about it, about what our friend was going through”, Bloom Twins explain. The lyrics are a genuine, heartfelt plea to open up about any troubles ‘Talk to me and speak your mind / I’ll stand beside you’. Songs are a powerful medium in conveying messages, with Anna and Sonia determined to use their platform to create positive change: “The song is about what we went through during that time, and urging those in similar positions to just to let it all out. Talk to people…”
Another platform for change that the twins speak passionately about is the poisoned chalice which is social media. “We wanted to make a change, we didn’t want to make it just about the music. We want to be a part of things which we are thinking about. Something we are striving to deliver. Right now everyone is so into Instagram – how you look and where you go. It’s not about what you’re doing anymore”, Sonia muses, “What I don’t like about social media is that people compare one another, but then we go against that. I find it stupid that people make jokes about others (on social media). Maybe that’s why people have issues talking about mental illness”. However, the Bloom Twins hope that their single will go some way in turning the negative side of social media on its head via their hashtag campaign #holdyourfriend. “That’s why we started talking to strangers (via social media) saying ‘do you want to be a part of it?’. I know it seems like we’re just promoting ourselves, but I was surprised how many people wanted to take part.”
Reaching out via social media is one way of being there for those who are in dark places, but what about those who we encounter in our day to day lives…? “I would say treat them normally”, Anna advices. “Don’t be like ‘oh that person is depressed, I need to be super-nice to them’ – never act too obviously that they are depressed.”
“I would spend more time with that person” adds Sonia. “Then at a point where that person would feel more comfortable with me I would say something like – ‘you know what, I’m going through bad times too!’”
The music industry itself is notorious for taking its toll on the mental health of those involved, and as much as popular culture feeds off the concept of the ‘tortured poet’ musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety than any other profession. The Bloom Twins moved over to London from their homeland of Ukraine at the young age of just seventeen in order to pursue their career in music, so what advice do they have in negotiating such a cut-throat industry? “It is very normal within any creative industry to feel down and feel like you’re not needed from the beginning. You feel like everybody is telling you ‘no’. You need to believe in yourself and it’s fine to feel down. Write a song whenever anything happens, let it out.” Although journeying through the music industry can be gruelling, the music which has been created as the end product can go far in the healing process for anyone who suffers from mental health issues. “Music holds a special place for us, listening to our favourite songs provides an escape. People tend to close inside of them off, and the only thing they can do is plug in those guys (mimes putting on headphones).”