I had selected the first 10 songs for Lost Boy and placed them in an order that I believed told a compelling story from start to finish. Kill the Music!! was first on the track listing and I knew Hey, Kid would be the closer but looking at the songs side-by-side, it felt to me like there was a part of the story missing.
The major turning point and conflict of the album narrative had not been addressed. My Act III was lacking in conflict.
I meditated. Voices... was the result.
By this stage I was well over a year sober and I was pretty happy in life - a marked change from my years of active addition. Despite this, having found this beat from RockItPro productions and stumbling upon a creepy hook that I'd written out at the height of my crazy, I began to write this song.
Not that it took much effort to complete - quite the opposite. Within an hour and a half, I had written the two verses of the song plus the three variations of the hook.
"Voices, I hear them whisper
And I'm listening to voices
And if I listen
I hear them whispering
Voices, they echo, I listen, I stay
Voices, they come out to play..."
Channelling those hard-fought and often depressive instances was easy - maybe too easy - and while the words poured out of me so fast I could barely keep up with the pen, I would find out that there is a price to be paid for placing yourself back into the mindset of a manic depressive. I felt off-kilter for a good week after writing Voices..., even though I was happy with the resulting lyrics.
It was the first time I had tried to consciously channel pain for creative purpose. It was also the most vulnerable I had ever been as a songwriter. More than just heartbreak, I was admitting to severe mental health issues and I wasn't sure how people I cared about would take it.
One thing I wasn't though, was scared of the potential reactions. Sobriety had taught me to take ownership of my circumstances and whether people saw me as courageous, or just crazy, I knew it wouldn't be for me to worry about.
Your voice is interwoven, fade to black
You say it's better for the Planet Earth, better for the world
To write it in a letter that it's better for the boys and girls
Shut up and don't talk about it, this is my rebirth
It feels like you set me up in my head and now it hurts and... voices...
As it happens, I've had several people share with me their own stories of depression and voices. That I could be so open about it and allow them a place to identify was helpful, they said.
It's hard to argue with that.
As the opening line suggests, the voices were the best-kept secret as a little kid. By acknowledging them on record in front of the whole world, it felt like I could finally and fully let them go.