We caught up with Shlomo as they headed back from rehearsals for their new show. They tell us how excited they are to finally be opening the show they’ve waited 2 years to make due to the pandemic and how much their identity transformed in the process.
The play, which recently won the Spirit of the Frige Award at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, recreates the true story of dropping from main-stage superstardom to suicidal isolation, and how a bunch of strangers became lifesavers by throwing a rave in Shlomo’s village living room.
“I wanted the announcement of the new solo show and album to be my opportunity to come out as non-binary. I was super nervous, but I’m glad I did. It’s empowering to feel unashamed of ourselves, and I believe it’s important if we’re going to break the stigma around seeking support when we’re feeling shit.”
Previously struggling with imposter syndrome, depression and suicidal thoughts, Shlomo tried to reach out for help, but struggled to put what they were feeling into words:
“For me, and for a lot of people I know have struggled with mental health, it’s a big moment, because you’ve got to admit you’re not okay."
"It’s a hard admission because it’s stigmatised and you feel like if you talk about it everything will crumble away. In reality, it’s the strongest step you can take because it means you can start getting a support network together.”
Shlomo’s story is a hopeful one and one they told for a TED Talk in a bid to help other people find the courage to talk about how they’re feeling. Receiving countless messages telling them they’d inspired people to ask for support, Shlomo felt moved to say more. They wrote BREATHE, after the impromptu virtual rave in their sleepy village living room, which was key to their recovery.
“I think it’s an artist’s job to make sense of the world and tell those stories. Every time I get overwhelmed I start making work about it - I’ll make a music video, tell a story or write a song. Then you get feedback once the work is out there to say it’s helped people and it’s so powerful. I feel musicians and artists should share that with the world as much as they can.”