The aim of the song? To hopefully inspire and help the millions of people around the world who are suffering from mental health issues.
Johannesburg, South Africa (2 June 2020) – To see a young girl huddled in a corner, her arms hugging her knees while she sobs uncontrollably, would be heartbreaking for anyone. You tell her that all will be well, that this is an uncontrollable illness she is suffering from and that it can be corrected, but she doesn’t believe you.
This is precisely the place a young South African girl found herself in some years ago.
Thanks to an inherited anxiety and clinical depression condition, her world looked bleak. Fast forward to 2020. Her debut single, “Free”, documenting her journey with mental health illness is being released to a global market. The aim of the song? To hopefully inspire and help the millions of people around the world who are suffering from mental health issues.
Now 17 years of age, Savannah Fay Shaw is a matric student at Crawford College Lonehill. Thanks to medication and the dedicated efforts of a counsellor specialising in teens, she is managing her condition well – so much so in fact, that she is achieving excellence in her studies alongside reaching new heights in her intended career, the performing arts.
Over the last few years Savannah Fay has represented South Africa three times in the hip hop dance genre, twice in Prague, Czech Republic, and once in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2017 at the United Dance Organisation (UDO) World Street Dance Championships.
In December of 2017, she appeared in Janice Honeyman’s Pantomime, Pinocchio, as part of the dance cast. This was followed in 2018, by an appearance in Born to Perform at the Lyric Theatre, where she showcased both her dancing and singing abilities.
More recently, Savannah Fay began writing her own songs.
“Songwriting is therapeutic for me,” she says. “It allows me to put down my thoughts and to express them in a healthy way.”
Her debut single, Free, is a deeply personal, poignant account of her journey, but holds a symbolic message for the broader population as well. “The message of the song is inspiring and relevant to the broader public – not only to those suffering from anxiety and depression,” quips Sivan Pillay, The Eskimo Writer (his stage name) and Hot 91 DJ. “The concept of being free has symbolic meaning, as it is experienced by people in different ways.”
“Although the song has personal meaning, the magic is that it is relevant to the current time in South Africa, not to mention the world at large. The words and feel of the song have relevance in so many ways,” adds Taryn Warwick, co-owner of Passage One Music and Savannah Fay’s manager/music publisher.
Looking back, Savannah Fay cannot help but feel a sense of gratitude for her mental health challenges.
“They paved the way for the creation of a song that I hope will potentially help other people struggling with similar issues. It is okay to reach out for help,” she urges.
“Do not allow society or the stigma that surrounds mental health to stop you from getting the help you need.”
Free is being distributed through SONY ATV Global and is available for download on all major digital platforms.