At a certain point in life, you realize that having hard, honest conversations about painful personal secrets is the only way to lessen the shame attached to them. One of the most stigmatized of those topics is mental health, an incredibly prevalent issue within creative communities, including music. That’s why seeing more and more artists talk — and sing — openly about their struggles is inspiring and important, especially as too many of their peers lose their battles with their demons.
Singer/songwriter Robby Hecht made public his bipolar II disorder a few years back and continues to unfurl his process through his songs. Part of that has come through his re-engaging old compositions in new lights in the Me and the Fool I’ve Been series of two-song sets he’s released over the past year. On Set 5, the latest and final installment, Hecht’s much-loved “Ferris Wheel” gets another look.
Though a work tape version originally appeared as a bonus track on Late Last Night in 2008, the heartbreaking tale of emotional highs and lows gets a fresh, lush treatment in the hands of producer Gus Berry and string arranger Dave Eggar. Hecht wrote it “furiously and desperately,” he says, “a few months before I began to solve the riddle of what I would eventually identify as bipolar II disorder.” While that was his journey, anyone with self-destructive tendencies will see themselves in it.
“It was born from the confused sadness you feel when you rediscover the belief that you’re the kind of selfish person who confidently builds things up — relationships, career opportunities, trust — only to incomprehensibly knock them back down,” Hecht explains. “For me, now, the song represents survival. I can descend this low, over and over again, and come through it unbroken and alive.”