Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Let's Talk About It?

The idea for my most successful song to date was born during a therapy session.

pic by Karl Mowbray

Some years ago I was having a very extenuating fight against my inner self, experiencing OCD, anxiety and paranoia every day. For three long years anxiety was the only emotion I could feel. Having to go back home when I was out with friends to check all my documents were in place, not being able to enjoy a movie because a constant thought would get fixed in my mind, washing my hands 100 times a day because I could get sick from using my own toilet (let's not talk about public toilets), thinking I could be framed for crimes I hadn't committed, being scared I could die for one reason or another. Just to name a few. That was my every day life. I felt like my life would have been a long path made of catastrophic thinking, floating among the worst possible future occurrences, never present in the here and now, always detached from my own self and the present moment, my head full of unnecessary negative, destructive thoughts. At the time I thought that it would never go away.

But luckily I was brave enough to seek help. I was lucky (after a couple of not-so-great experiences) to find a talented psychotherapist that understood what I needed and with whom I worked together to strengthen my structure and individuality and to make my anxious self a friend, rather than an enemy.
My therapy lasted three years, before I moved to London and I had to stop it, although sometimes I still meet my therapist when I go back home, like a regular check-up to see how things are going. And this is just because mental health should be treated exactly like physical health. When you get a cold, you most likely get paracetamol, if your back aches you go see a physician, if your throat is inflamed you go see an otolaryngologist. If the pain is in your head, what do you do?
Because of the stigma that still surrounds mental illness, some people might still feel ashamed to share the fact that they see a therapist, or might not get into therapy in the first place.
But if we pretend it's not there, it's not going to go away. Accepting that we suffer from any mental illness is the first step to a happier life. And mental illness doesn't necessary mean being a psychopath killer. It could just mean that something just doesn't feel right. Just as when something doesn't feel right in your body and you go see a doctor, why not seeing a therapist or a counsellor when something doesn't feel right in your mind? It could be nothing, or it could be something, better work on it sooner rather than later in any case.

In my own experience, getting into therapy really helped me re-structuring myself and it gave me the support I needed to get out of that dim world I had created in my mind and not only that. In the long run, I also realise that what I learned about myself and the world around me during my sessions with my therapist not only made me healthier, but also allowed me to become more structured and aware. It made me a braver, lighter, brighter, happier, clever person.
It was exactly during one of these sessions that the idea of my song Cotton came out.
One of my mental issues was that I was very rigid with myself and I didn't allow me mental flexibility. My fear of not being enough, the shame of not being beautiful, clever, talented, strong enough had resulted in a very strong control issue, over other people and situations but also, and especially, over my own identity. Working with my therapist I learned that I could be more flexible, just like a cotton thread that, flexibly, changes its shape without changing its own essence. You probably know how the rest of the song goes.
But anyways, in addition to being a very useful inspiration for songwriting, my therapy (in my specific case it was a cognitive-behavioural approach) was definitely one of the best life choices I've taken. It was probably thanks to the human skills I acquired during my therapeutic journey that I grabbed my life back in my hands and decided to follow my career as a musician, then move to London, build a new life from scratch, create a whole new circle of friendships, restore relationships with old friends or relatives, re-define what I want and what I want to be, achieve career and life goals and ultimately live my life without being afraid of being joyful.

So actually, whether something is not ok in your mind or not, therapy is a very useful tool to gain skills that will help you have a better life in which you can be more centred, solid, structured, strong and happy.

And if you don't feel like going to therapy yet, maybe opening up to a friend could be the first step on this healing path. Keeping your griefs inside is not going to make them go away. There is always someone out there willing to listen to you, and sometimes giving words to feelings helps making them smaller and lighter to carry.

Non-mental hugs. :-)


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Indian Summers

Congrats to India for deciding that loving someone is not a crime!


And people still ask why we need a Gay Pride...


Knowing that in some other places of the planet people are jailed, beaten up or killed because of the people they love doesn't really make me feel accepted and at ease.
Being unable to tell my grandmother about someone I like or a boyfriend I have is not the greatest feeling in the world.
Spending your childhood asking yourself why everyone is so different from you is not the most gratifying.


So yes, we still need a Gay Pride to remind ourselves that we are not worse and no, you don't need a Straight Pride because nowhere in the world it's illegal to love a man if you're a woman or a woman in you're a man.
If you’re straight, nowhere in the world you will be judged for holding hands.
If you’re straight, nowhere in the world you will be told that it’s against nature to follow your nature.


We are very lucky to live in a place where people who don’t correspond to the stereotypes given by the norm can express themselves freely and although people may still judge sometimes, at least it’s not unlawful to kiss a lover, to show someone you love.
I have never been beaten up or not allowed to do something or go somewhere because of my sexual preferences, but that is still not enough, because the world around me made me feel I wasn’t quite the right thing anyway. I’ve fought the bloodiest inner battles and I have learnt to understand that being honest with myself and the world outside is the right thing to do, being myself is the right thing.


It’s been hard and it’s still hard but steps are being made forward luckily. Many countries are celebrating lgbt weddings, some others have allowed same sex partnership, some others are finally realising that the person you sleep with is none of their business and (at least) they don’t punish you for your kind of love (finally).
Not everywhere, not yet. But it’s getting better, and today is definitely a day to celebrate.


So cheers to India and to all the people who actively make this world better, and to all the people who are enlightened enough to change their own mind and let the light come in!

Monday, 30 April 2018

If You Were Me You Would Be

My new single "If You Were Me You Would Be" is OUT NOW!!!
If you've ever done something with your heart, passion, talent and efforts and nobody gave a SHIT about your value, this song is for you.






Download for FREE on Bandcamp: https://bit.ly/2Hy08Bq
Stream for FREE on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2r3ax1K
Watch for FREE on YouTube: https://youtu.be/QJkMqVdC0hE

If you like this or have liked my music so far, you can help me finish my album supporting me through my Kickstarter Campaign: https://kck.st/2KfYDcV
Send me a message for more info 


Credits:

TRACK
piano, vocals, harmonium, keyboards, backing vocals: Valerio Lysander cello: Sam Rowe
violin: Mónica Viñoly
drums: Gregorio Lucchese

music, lyrics, arrangements, production by Valerio Lysander(Valerio Alessandri)

piano and drums recorded by Jonathan McMillan @ Smokehouse Studios, London
vocals and violin, recorded by Nick Harris @ Spare Room Recording - Music Production, London
cello, recorded by Sam Rowe
mixing: Nick Harris @ Spareroom Recordings�
mastering: Jay Fee @ Conduction Mastering

artwork by Alessandro Prencipe

VIDEO: Shot with the help of Chiara Perlino Photographer and edited by Valerio Lysander

Special thanks to:
my brothers Giuliano and Matteo cooking, my dad Mario and my uncle Massimo farming, my cousin Simone shopping, Risia getting a massage, Matteo e Irene getting drunk, Martina being annoying, Arianna and Elisa eating, my aunt Gloria mourning, my uncle Atos tidying up coffins, Solly e Giada playing with bras.
The bar is Spirit 24, Monterotondo (RM), Italy.
The restaurant is A San Rocco Giuliano e Matteo, Monterotondo (RM), Italy.
The massage bed is Risia Shiatsu’s.
The clothes shop is Emporio Uomo, Monterotondo (RM), Italy.
The is A P B Agenzia Funebre, Monterotondo (RM), Italy.
The Underwear Shop is La Giarrettiera, Monterotondo (RM), Italy.