Written by Michel Gustafsson & Ebba Ågren aka Wy.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been the shy kid. It’s a part of me and I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of it and that has led me to taking steps in my life that helps me get through the day. It’s contradictory that I now am a musician, that I play shows and that I’m continuously putting myself and my art out there but there’s something about doing what I love that makes the angst go away.
Music has always had this function for me and I’m slowly realizing that it may be one of the reasons why I keep making music. There are certain things in my daily life that give me anxiety such as paying over the counter, taking the bus or meeting people I’ve never met before. In these situations I become a worthless and non-functioning person or at least that’s what my mind is telling me in the moment. I’ve tried different types of treatments for it and I’ve always gone into the treatment with the hope of becoming cured and it never happened. So when I turned 20 it all kind of became clear to me – I can’t be cured because this is just a part of me.
When I realized this I became much happier, and I also understood that I can take steps to make things work for me. As I’ve said before music makes most of my problems go away. I’ve tried to figure out as to why this is the case and I think it’s mainly that I feel confident with music.
I feel like I have a purpose with music.
I was not born with social anxiety, it was something I developed in my early teens, I think mainly due to being bullied. It made me very insecure and it made me limit myself. When I was younger I was very talkative, very forward, and loved being the center of attention. I had a lot of friends and I was never afraid of speaking my mind. I’m still very talkative when I’m around people that I’m comfortable with, or if I feel like I need to get my point across, but that forwardness does not come without anxiety.
I’ve had periods when I couldn’t enter a store by myself and when I had to call my mom to come get me from school because I couldn’t handle the crowds anymore. Even though I’ve worked a lot with my anxiety I still get to those points where I lock myself in public bathrooms just to get away from people.
The worst part of social anxiety for me is that I feel like I have so much to give and say, but am completely incapable of displaying it if I’m not a hundred percent comfortable with someone. I know that I’m funny, I know that I’m smart, but I feel like I can only be that with the ones who are really close to me. Like my real personality just shuts off when I’m around most people.
I’ve always been a high-functioning depressive because I’ve always been a person that cares very much about everything. I’m a perfectionist and have very high expectations of myself and my work. I’m kind of proud that I always push myself to my limit, but it’s also an extremely tiring thing to do all the time. With high expectations on your performance also comes high expectations on your personality. I tend to overthink everything and always find new ways not to be pleased with myself, my work and my actions. I think music is the only place where I completely let go of that.
It’s pure… it’s us
Around our music I am completely myself and I’m the person that I want to be, the person I like to be, and the person I know that I always am. Of course you can always find small things with the production, the performance or the recording of a song that you would want to change. Small details that you wish you had thought of earlier. Like with all creative work. But it doesn’t bother me nearly as much when it comes to music because I feel that our music is as honest as it can get. Every song is exactly what we felt and exactly what we wanted at the time we made it, and knowing that I don’t want to change it. Because it’s pure. And it’s us.
‘So anti-social but can’t stand to be alone / I try to speak with bigger words when I pick up the phone
Nobody knows that I’m funny or kind / don’t know if they’re blind or if I’m just hard to read can’t be anything.’
(Lyrics taken from ‘Gone Wild’)
I take down a lot of pictures I’ve published, I re-edit photos I’ve taken, I put my videos on private. I’ve gone through this circle my whole life. But I don’t feel the need to with music. I don’t need to please people with music. I just want to express myself. And I’m not afraid of doing that when it comes to music. Even at the time I was bullied I went up on stage with my acoustic guitar and sang before the whole school at every graduation. I have no idea how I managed to do that when I could barely pick up the phone or talk in front of a small group of people without wanting to cry.
Somehow I don’t go around brooding over what people will think of our music like I do with my other artwork. I somehow feel like our music is only ours, and Wy is a place where I can be completely and utterly myself without anyone judging me, even though people probably are. In our music I’m still the brave person I was when I was younger, with no fear of what people will think of me. It’s like whenever I make music I’m entering this bubble where I get do what I love without any limitations.
One of the greatest things music has done for us is proving to us that you don’t have to be outgoing to be successful. There’s this myth about how a successful person should be and act like, and it often comes with traits that shy and introverted people don’t usually possess. But it’s all lies. As long as you are passionate and good at what you do, you will succeed. You don’t need to walk over people or always be the center of the crowd. You don’t need to be the careless rockstar with a diva attitude. We both believe that you can be just as successful by just being humble and great at what you do.
Wy will release their debut LP Okay on October 20 via Hybris/ Better Call Rob. As a world premiere on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION you can now exclusively stream the album’s closing track Gone Wild right here.