To anyone who has ever listened to his music or podcast, followed his musings online, or viewed his crudely drawn, often laugh-out -loud sketches, it’s obvious that Brett Newski has no problems sharing his mental health struggles with the world.
Through humor and surprisingly frank honesty, Newski has torn away any stigma surrounding oversharing about depression and anxiety.
So, it seems only natural that he would use his drawings to tackle the stigma of mental health in a book.
“My mental health has improved drastically since talking openly about my faults or embarrassing crap I’ve done,” he says. “I haven’t regretted being fully transparent about my worst lulls, although my parents got quite upset over a few personal things I’ve shared with the public. I feel bad when they feel bad. But I think it’s just that parental love/protection in their DNA kicking in. They’re incredible.”
You can order It’s Hard To Be A Person: Defeating Anxiety, Surviving the World, and Having More Fun here.
Why a book?
“I felt it was time to make a project with some deeper utilitarian value for people,” he says. “Music is magical and medicinal and my first love, but music is also very niche depending on what each listener enjoys. A book can cast a wider net and be more useful to more people. It’s not limited by sonic taste palettes.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the always-prolific Newski also created an eight-song soundtrack to pair with the book. At his parent’s home, he found a bunch of lyrical scraps and song ideas he wrote in high school that focused issues like coming of age and handling anxiety (even before he was aware of what anxiety was).
The songs served as “fire starters” and were recorded two years ago in a friend’s basement in Milwaukee. Newski and his collaborator Spatola didn’t know what to do with this batch of songs, but when the book idea came along, it was serendipitous, and the tunes fit perfectly as a soundtrack.
“Everyone has wobbles in their brain, unless perhaps you’re a sociopath,” Newski says. “So, if this book can make someone feel less anxious for even 20 minutes, that’s a start.”
After a year kept off the road due to the pandemic, he is currently lining up shows for summer and fall.
Order the book here.