Yorkshire song king Eliot Kennedy and singer Jo Heselden-Edwards have launched their Hidden Wounds charity album which helps to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
WATCH VIDEO: Leeds girl Jo gave an acoustic performance of the title track and producer songwriter Eliot talked about the project in a FacebookLive stream from his world-famous Steelworks Studio. You can now watch it on demand - CLICK HERE.
Hidden Wounds takes its name from the branch of Help for Heroes which will benefit from all proceeds of the ablum, supporting ex-soldiers and those still serving who suffer mental illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The album follows the launch of the title track at a charity concert - also featuring Eliot's close pal, Take That star Gary Barlow and many others - which raised around £60,000 alone for the appeal at the then Vulcan bomber hanger in Doncaster, last November.
Jo asked Grammy Award winning Eliot to make the album in memory of her late dad, Jimi Heselden, who invented the Hesco Bastion ‘blast wall’ used in every major conflict since the 1991 Gulf War, saving countless lives.
Jimi died in a tragic accident, aged 62, but not before he donated millions in his lifetime to charity and encouraged his daughter to sing.
Joanne said, “I am so proud of my debut album, Hidden Wounds, which was inspired by my dad. He gave over a million pounds to Help for Heroes in his lifetime, and the album continues that legacy."
Grammy award-winning songwriter Eliot, who has sold 80 million records and penned hits for superstars including Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Adams, Take That and The Spice Girls, today opened up about his own experiences dealing with mental ill-health in his family.
He said. “I am passionate about widening the conversation around mental health. You don’t need to serve in war zones to experience trauma. Hidden Wounds is as a song about losing someone – for Jo that was her dad - the concept is you can’t see psychological wounds, so it’s difficult to really know if anyone is really suffering.”
He revealed: “When I was 12, my mother was institutionalised for a year after the death of her mother. Dad was an alcoholic. Their marriage was torturous, sometimes violent. Mentally, mum lost herself and Dad was AWOL. Still a child, I took on everybody’s problems and grew up fast to shoulder the responsibility that wasn’t mine to shoulder.
“After the doctors worked out the right medication for my mum, she came home. I saw first-hand, with my mum, how important mental health services are. I gained a deep respect for mental health treatment.”
Eliot, who has written the Broadway hit musical Finding Neverland with Gary Barlow, hopes the song will get more people talking about their mental health.
“Music is the backstage pass to everybody’s soul. When words, as the cliché goes, fail, music opens up the doors to expression. It can get you through tough times,” Eliot said.
He also raised concerns around the vulnerability of young people in the music industry.
He said: “They’re not prepared for the power they get to wield, and they’re definitely not prepared for it when that power is taken away. The only people who really get it, are those people who know it isn’t real, it was just borrowed.]
“I can count on one hand – my friend Gary Barlow being one – those celebrities who have got the balance right and managed to safeguard their real life, their personal lives, from the addictions of fame.
“Ultimately, we’re all the same - we’re all vulnerable.
“That recognition in itself makes you realise you’re not an island - we have to build those bridges to reach each other. You’re not in that big dark hole alone, it just feels that way. Nothing gets solved in silence.”
Eliot, who travelled to Camp Bastion with Gary Barlow in 2013 for an ITV documentary, Journey to Afghanistan, added, “We’re all really proud to be part of this wider, national sea change around mental health issues. Music has the power to inspire, enlighten and heal us in our darkest moments.”
It can also be bought as a limited edition USB dog tag.
For more information visit www.hiddenwoundsconcert.com.