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NOTE: This feature, interview and single touch on mental health (specifically anxiety). If you or someone you know needs help please seek support through the links provided. Information to Australian support services can be found HERE. U.S. readers please click HERE & U.K. readers HERE for local services.

“I’m doing the best that I can to take care of myself mentally and physically,” Illicit Ghost tells Eat This Music in our brief chat. “It’s definitely a difficult time, but I’m finding ways to navigate.” In fact, Illicit Ghost has a good meditation schedule going and she makes sure to get exercise in every day, even if it’s just going for a walk.

After having a chat with Illicit Ghost earlier in August upon the release of her single, ‘Present‘, she took the time out of her day to answer a couple of follow up questions about the release of her first music video. “I wrote “Present” about my experience with anxiety,” Illicit reveals on the inspiration of her single.

Sometimes Illicit Ghost gets so lost in her mind that she can’t comprehend what is happening around her. “I wanted the video to reflect this feeling,” she continues, “so I asked animator Betsy DelCiampo to draw images of plants, crystals and butterflies over the raw footage I had of myself walking in the woods.”

“The idea was to create this bizarre scene around me that I can’t even see or appreciate because I am too deep in my own thoughts.” — Illicit Ghost on her first music video.

Because of coronavirus Illicit Ghost couldn’t go ahead with her original plan to make a video with a team of filmmakers. “I decided to take matters into my own hands and work with what I had,” she says. “I had a friend film me on my iPhone in the Catskills.” From there, Illicit spliced the footage together and then handed it over to Betsy so that she could add the beautiful animations!

“I wanted the video to bring the lyrics of the song to life in order to convey what my anxiety is like,” Illicit Ghost reveals on the visual intepretation of the song. “For instance, in the chorus, the lyrics are “I know the wind is whipping, but I can’t feel the breeze,” so to illustrate this, you can see at the 1:14 mark of the video I put my hand on a tree but the purple color of it recedes instantly.” That is because from Illicit’s perspective in the video, she cannot see the color, but from the viewers perspective, it shows that she is unable to connect with the beauty that is happening around her.

There are seven things hidden throughout the video that make Illicit Ghost feel grounded and present – these include a microphone, music notes, bath bubbles, a piano, headphones, a candle and a violin – all hand drawn in Photoshop by Illicit Ghost. There are also four affirmations written throughout the video on the trees. They include “I am calm,” “I am strong,” “I am grounded,” and “Breathe.” “These are the things I say to myself when I am meditating,” Illicit Ghost reveals. “I’ll be asking viewers to find the seven drawn items (there is a bonus item, but you have to really look to find it!).” Illicit Ghost hopes this treasure hunt can open up a dialogue about how people manage their mental health, and hopefully will encourage people to share the things that keep them grounded.

You can play along to Illicit Ghost’s virtual scavenger hunt using the card below:

“I’m gearing up to release my next single “Halftime” on October 28,” Illicit Ghost tells Eat This Music on her next move. “In the coming weeks, the first official Illicit Ghost merch will be for sale.” Illicit Ghost will also be debuting t-shirts that she designed herself and there will also be a limited-edition vinyl for sale. “I have a surprise coming in November that I can’t wait to share with everyone, and I’m also getting ready to release my first EP in February 2021!”

Connect with Illicit Ghost: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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