On an endless quest to create a safe space through music and give voice to the voiceless, Veridia (Deena Jakoub, Kyle Levy and Brandon Brown) gets very personal on their new single “I Won’t Stay Down,” premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Sept. 28).
Veridia acknowledges delicate realities and vulnerabilities in the new song, simultaneously giving the listener light and darkness while cultivating both the grieving and the healing. “Gotta keep my head up / Gotta fight until it hurts / Part of the process / Hope is in the progress / I’m rising up / Been down and out, but I won’t stay down,” she vigorously chants.
Jakoub explains where the song comes from in a statement to Billboard:
“In respect for suicide awareness month and my belief that sharing experiences can change, even save lives, I feel compelled to share the very personal story behind this song.
“Just a few months after the loss of my father, someone, a second father to me, was almost removed from my life forever as well. This man taught me my first full song on the guitar; built living quarters in my first touring vehicle; fueled my love for the road and loud music; met lonely strangers on the road and invited them into his own home, making them feel worthy of love and belonging, and inspires me to create that same space of belonging at every Veridia show. After suffering a severe brain injury, this very intelligent, compassionate, creative man lost physical abilities which took away his livelihood. Emotional and personality changes impacted his most precious relationships. He could not react quickly or logically in crisis. He suffered depression, fear, anxiety, and basic daily functions became so painful and exhausting that suicide became his desired solution. He tried to take his own life in a very public way. Sadly, there is a term for the way he chose, “Suicide by Law Enforcement.” Because of the undeniable fact that he raised a gun toward officers, he was shot and injured, and he is serving a prison sentence of up to 16 years, without access to mental rehabilitation until the term is served.
“I purposely posed in front of a cinderblock wall for the photo associated with “I Won’t Stay Down,” inspired by seeing a letter from him, a skillfully drawn picture of his 8′ x 8′ cinderblock cell and concrete view out of a 6” window. He expresses what he can through drawing, because finding words is a painful struggle. I was angry, so sad, but still called to action. This song emerged from my desperate need for an anthem of encouragement, words of hope and empowerment, to myself, to him, to anyone suffering with or affected by mental illness/injury, depression, and suicide.”
“I Won’t Stay Down” is both a battle cry and an ode to the discovery of inner strength. Jakoub sings over powerful guitar riffs and heavy drums, roaring and soaring higher as the song goes. Raw and intense, “I Wont Stay Down” provides heart-wrenching lyrics and a strong melody. The track is part of Veridia’s forthcoming album The Beast You Feed, due out Oct. 26.