Many, many Americans cope with some type of mental illness, and it’s likely you know someone who does. It’s also likely that at some point you have discovered one of your favorite musicians is also suffering from such an illness. Not as many performers, though, open up about it and share their personal battles with their audiences. That’s not Hamil Rich, though.
This Nashville based indie artist is about to release his debut album, Weights, on May 6th to coincide with Mental Health Awareness month. The album was written as a way to cope with his schizophrenia. Diagnosed at the age of 24, Rich says, “The best thing I could ever do before medication, and while it was working, was listening to music.” One of the only times he wouldn’t hear things would be when he was playing music or trying to write songs. “As soon as I stopped, [the voices] would come back. Writing became my way of escaping it to find some peace.”
Paired with an OCD diagnosis, Rich worked hard over the last year and a half to develop the songs on Weights which was recorded at East Side Manor in Nashville. He fights his personal battles with words and music, and Weights is an album of self-awareness and conflicts. Listen to “Little Red Dress” below. Rich says of the song:
“[It] deals with the inner conflict of hiding parts of ourselves that we wish weren’t there by making them seem attractive or ‘dressing them up’. It’s a conversation between the desire for change and the excuses we paint ourselves with.”