Musician Rohan Solomon is doing his bit to create awareness about mental health as he captures the storm of an anxiety attack and finds a port within its midst in his latest single – Happy Place. The pop-proficient artist released the track on May 24th, 2023 to encourage people to feel comfortable talking about mental health and getting help if needed. Rohan wrote this a few months ago in an attempt to calm and distract himself while going through an anxiety attack himself. This release comes soon after his last single Serenity reached the top of both Euro Indie and World Indie global radio charts. The track continues to chart on the no.1 position on Word Indie Music Charts and the no. 2 position on Euro Indie for 4 weeks now.
A true lived experience not imagined, the balladeer released Happy Place in May to mark the occasion of World Mental Health Awareness Month so that he could spread the word on seeking help and breaking the stigma around conversations on mental health. The song teleports one back to the classic pop-rock sound of the early aughts (2000s) with its sliding pianos, strum-my guitars and earthy, earnest vocals.
If you listen close enough, you can gauge the emotional distress of surviving an anxiety attack, however, the music is consistently uplifting. Happy Place comes with the realisation that we all need an anchor or ‘happy place’ to refocus our state of mind while overwhelmed with anxiety.
The track has been entirely written, performed, produced and mixed by Rohan at Synergy Audio Productions, the artist’s studio. His signature three-part harmonies are a quintessential part of classic pop making up the outro hook. The length of Happy Place up to this moment features a single track of vocals. The track was Mastered by Dan Millice at Engine Room Audio, New York City.
This is not the artist’s first musical commentary on the importance and many faces of mental health care and struggles. That would include his previous release from this year – Serenity, where the Grammy submitted artist makes a convincing case for a mindful ‘slowdown’, as he returned well-rested after a short pause. The symphonic single saw the pop maestro moor into the pristine mountains of Landour, Uttarakhand, amidst modern bluesy harmonies and a sweeping orchestral symphony. Read on as Rohan Solomon talks about his life and journey as a musician and his quest to create mental health awareness.
Rohan, could you tell us about your musical journey? What made you want to choose to be a singer/songwriter and producer? Do you come from a musical background? Or are you an outsider who stormed into the world of music and captured it as your own?
I started playing the piano and guitar when I was 12 and wrote my first song when I was 13. My cousins would drop by once or twice a year and teach me a few chords. I figured out the rest on my own pretty much. I just kept working on improving myself and my skills and eventually got selected to join the school band (which we named Cyanide by the way).
After school, Cyanide continued and rocked the scene for over 10 years with multiple line-up changes. We toured the whole country and played all the huge music festivals like The Great Indian Rock Festival, Eastwind Festival, NH7 Weekender, etc. We were also featured and were finalists on Channel V Launchpad in 2007. I released an album and 2 EPs with Cyanide and then started my solo project. I have now released 2 albums as a solo artist as well and am currently working on the third album. As a solo artist, I have had 3 Global Radio Chart-topping hits including 1 Number One on the World Indie Music Charts as well as the Euro Indie Music Charts.
I fell in love with the craft of production while we were making Cyanide’s album. I always used to love to watch our producer work and always used to ask a lot of questions. But in 2015, I moved to New York City where I went to school for Audio Engineering and then worked in one of the top studios in New York ‘Engine Room Audio’. During my years there, I climbed up the ranks from intern to Production Manager and Senior Engineer. Worked with amazing artists like John Legend, Toni Braxton, Anderson Paak, Immortal Technique, Chloe Jane, Sasha Prendes and many more. I worked on a Grammy award-winning song while I was there and have since got 2 Grammy Submissions for my productions including one of my own songs ‘We Demand Change’.
Both my parents are really good singers, but they never pursued it professionally. I went for it because my passion for music was just too strong. It is my calling, I’m sure of it.
There must have been challenges and setbacks. Could you tell us about them? How did you manage to triumph over them?
Oh yes, of course. It certainly was a challenge getting my band to a decently popular level considering that all my songs are in English. In India, it’s hard to appeal to the mainstream people unless you are singing in Hindi. That used to be a challenge at first, but now I actually really appreciate and like the independent circuit and am very content with appealing to that sector of people. The lesson I learned was that music is so subjective. You just have to be true to your own heart and follow your own path and spread your own truth. That’s what music is truly about.
What does Mental Health Awareness Month mean to you?
It is something that is very important to me. I have been dealing with extreme anxiety and since then have been reading up more about mental health and the kind of challenges people face. It is something that should be given as much importance as physical health. A lot of mental health illnesses are treatable with therapy and medication. There is absolutely no shame in addressing your mental health problems. In fact, I am very proud of everyone who is actively seeking help to better their own mental health.
Tell us about ‘Happy Place’.
‘Happy Place’ is a song that I wrote about one of the anxiety attacks that I had. The lyrics are describing what I felt during an attack, but the message of the song is giving us a solution, which is to encourage people to find their happy place. The music is also presented in a very positive light, which brightens our mood. I had been dealing with anxiety for a while and after one particular attack, I just really wanted to write about it. Kind of venting it out. I felt a lot better after writing this. It felt like there was a load lifted off my chest. Not that the anxiety is gone in the long run miraculously, but it felt better at the moment.
Which is your favourite amongst all that you created and why?
Haha … That’s a very difficult question. But if I was to really choose, I’d say “Victoria’s Secret”. It kind of got the ball rolling with my music career post my return from the US. It also was the first of my songs that touch upon the mental health topic a bit. So, it was my first attempt to release a song related to that issue and I was very nervous and yet felt liberated when it came out. Also, it was my first song to get to the Top 3 of any global music chart. So, it got the ball rolling in that aspect as well. It’s a very special song to me.
For aspiring musicians who want to step into your musical shoes, do you have any tips for them? What advice would you give them?
I would just say to be true to your own journey. Make the music that makes you happy. Trust in a good producer and studio to take your vision to the next level. A good producer and a great studio are far from being obsolete.