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Strumbellas' Frontman, Simon Ward, On Fighting Depression

When the Strumbellas announced they were cancelling their already postponed tour dates in early 2020 supporting their Rattlesnake album, the Spirits hitmakers said in a press statement to

Strumbellas' Frontman, Simon Ward, On Fighting Depression

By Karen Bliss

When the Strumbellas announced they were cancelling their already postponed tour dates in early 2020 supporting their Rattlesnake album, the Spirits hitmakers said in a press statement to fans that it was “a difficult time for all of us, and your continued love and support has given us even more motivation to focus fully on getting back to good health and back out on the road.” It was signed by all six members of the Juno Award-winning folk-rock group, who thanked everyone for “standing by us.”


Behind the scenes, though, bassist Darryl James, drummer Jeremy Drury, keyboardist David Ritter, lead guitarist Jon Hembrey and violinist Isabel Ritchie, together since 2009, were standing by frontman Simon Ward.

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As it turns out, compounded by the pandemic which struck in March, the band would not make music together again until November, when they cut a very personal song Ward wrote called Greatest Enemy, produced by Dave Schiffman who did their 2016 breakthrough, Hope

When the single came out in February, the Strumbellas gave a clearer reason for the hiatus: “Ward realized that the depression he had been dealing with for the past 15 years was no longer something he could deal with on his own. Ward was hospitalized and placed under doctor supervision.”

Co-written with songwriter Stevie Aiello (Thirty Seconds to Mars, Lana Del Rey), in Greatest Enemy Ward was able to put into words the doubt, the pain, the clarity, and the hope of many dealing with depression.

Feeling like I can be anything I wanna be, but I know I'll always be my greatest enemy,” he sings. “…I'm trying to break out of this feeling like I'm in a casket / I can't get past it, all of this madness…I don't wanna feel this come down.”

When the video — animated by Toronto’s Luca Tarantini — was released, the band encouraged donations to Canada's leading Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) hospital and research facilities. The song was recently used as a hang-in-there message for the Blue Jays Home Opener.

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Karen Bliss talked with Ward about how he’s doing, what led him to seek help for his depression, and how he feels about going public. To continue reading, please link to Samaritanmag.com.

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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