Importance of Reaching Out: ‘Stones’ a new single by Luke Clerkin

By Tiana Binns

During a time when many might be struggling with their mental health while not being able to get all of the support that they need, Tallaght resident Luke Clerkin is releasing a new single that centers around the struggle of mental health.

His new single, ‘Stones’ was released on April 17, 2020 to all major streaming and downloading platforms.

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Luke Clerkin Photo Taken by Nadine Pichler

Talking about the single with The Echo, Luke said: “Stones is the most important song that I have ever written. This is because of the message behind it, the message of how important it is to talk to people when you are in a dark place.

This comes from my own struggles with mental health and how I have dealt with them”.

Luke wants his single to remind people the importance of reaching out when you need support as well as for ‘Stones’ to offer and escape for people suffering with their mental health, especially during this pandemic.

“With what is happening now with COVID-19, I feel there is no better time to release this song. I think it could help those in isolation who are struggling with their mental health, and encourage them to speak out,” Luke continued.

‘Stones’, was originally released in 2016 as part of the Cycle Against Suicide campaign and brought his music to an international audience.

This new version of his fan favourite song, encompasses new sounds for Luke, while still respecting the rawness he is known for.

The single is the first release from Luke’s upcoming project ‘What Little Time We Have’, which will see him treading more into these sounds.

He talks more about his journey in this interview with The Echo.

Where are you from and what is your background in music?

I am a 28-year-old singer/songwriter from Tallaght. I’ve been playing and releasing music under my own name for the last five years. In 2015, my first year playing live, I played over 250 gigs around Ireland.

Since then, I have released multiple EP’s and singles which topped the Irish Singer-Songwriter Charts.

I have also brought my music all over the world playing festivals in the United Kingdom and America, as well as major festivals in Ireland such as Electric Picnic. Since 2017, I’ve lived and played music between Ireland and Germany.

I just moved back to Tallaght in January after living there for five months. I have headlined at a lot of famous Dublin venues such as; Whelan’s, The Workman’s Club and The Button Factory.

My most recent single, ‘Take Back the City’, created an opportunity for me to bring my passion for change into my music.

In that single, I aimed to highlight the ongoing housing crisis. I performed the song in front of over 10,000 people at the National Housing Protest in December of 2018.

I wrote my first song when I was around eleven or twelve, after having guitar lessons for a few years. I didn’t write my second song until I was 20 because I’d given up as a teenager.

Music has always been around me, from my dad playing records, to listening to the music my sister blared from her bedroom when I was growing up. It was something I was always drawn to.

I struggled a lot with my mental health growing up and going back to playing and writing music was something that saved my life.

So when I started to get better, I decided to use music to help people like myself. I’m as much a mental health advocate as I am a musician and like to express this through my music.

What can listeners expect from your new single, ‘Stones’ and what was the process like to create it?

Firstly, you bring the song to a producer, and you work on what is called pre-production. This is the process of figuring out the sound you wish to have for the song.

Then when that's figured out, you work out the instrumentation that it would take to make it happen. Then you record everything, get it mastered, then send it off for distribution.

This single is something that marks a change in my sound. So, for people who already know my music, I think you’ll be surprised by the atmospheric elements that aren’t present in my previous releases.

This is thanks to my time in Germany, where I worked with musicians from all over Europe as part of a music camp in a college called Popakadamie.

The song is emotional. It expresses the message of how holding on to your negative feelings and letting them build up, can make your mental health worse. So, it’s important to ‘always let your feelings flow’.

What inspired you to create your single, ‘Stones’?

This song was one of the first songs I’d written in that crazy year of 2015. I wrote it at a time where I was struggling again with my mental health because of all the gigs I was doing. I started to play it everywhere and then it became the song that everyone knew me for. 

This is actually the second release of this song, the first one was a charity single released in 2016 for the Cycle Against Suicide campaign, which brought my music to an international audience.

After working on it at the camp in Germany, it started to have a new life, a new sound and I started to enjoy playing it a lot more.

Then I moved to Germany and I stayed there for a while, then came back due to struggling with my mental health.

I was in a weird place and I contemplated giving up music altogether, but then I met a friend and he encouraged me to release 'Stones'. It made sense because it could help people who are also struggling with their mental health.

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Luke Clerkin Photo Taken by Nadine Pichler

Do you have any future projects underway, if so what are they?

'Stones' is the first release from a collection of songs that I recorded last summer in Cabin Space Studios in Aylesbury. I recorded it with Gavin Doyle and Jack Keenan.

I'll be gradually releasing singles every couple of months and then I'll release the collection as a whole.

The name of the project is 'What Little Time We Have', which comes from one of the songs featured on it.

What advice do you have to musicians just starting out or those struggling with their mental health, especially during COVID-19?

In terms of music, don't be afraid to fail. I've learned so much from mistakes I've made in the past and making those mistakes made my future successes more possible.

I'd also say if you can't find belief in what you're doing, believe in the belief others have in you. This has helped me power on through.

Taking care of your mental health right now is very important. Go out for walks, stay in touch with your family and friends.

Check in on yourself and don't feel guilty for sitting around doing nothing, so many people are doing the same. If you're feeling at all anxious or worried, talk to somebody.

There are still so many amazing services in operation and they can be accessed remotely.

There are also a lot of online meditation and mindfulness groups, which can help you ease your thoughts and anxiety.

Luke Clerkin’s latest single, ‘Stones’ was released on April 17 onto all major streaming and downloading platforms.

You can follow Luke and listen here: Luke Clerkin

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