For most of her life, dealing with depression was just another everyday chore for folk-pop artist BettySoo. Then she realized that many of her friends were struggling, too. She was glad to be there for them but reasoned that her own experiences could also help others.
In “100 Different Ways of Being Alone,” the Korean-American and Texas native offers hard-won wisdom paired with her reassuringly calm, sparrow-soft vocals.
“I hope people who deal with depression hear that they are not alone,” she tells CMT Edge about the track from her upcoming album, When We’re Gone. “And I hope people who haven’t ever struggled with major depression will hear that everyone has a story. The wounds we carry aren’t ones that everyone can see.”
Being able to relate frees BettySoo from sounding preachy — which she says is about the last thing a person feeling depressed needs.
“When I wrote this song, I was thinking about times I have been really in the pit of depression, when I thought nothing and no one could help me,” she says. “When you’re in that dark of a place, it is really easy to be blind to the good things around you and to the people who might be able to help you. Everything good can feel inaccessible somehow — like the good things in your life have been stripped away, and the people who would help you have left you.
“And sometimes, even if people are there, and you hear the offers for help, it feels impossible to take it. There’s a line in there about the ‘careless thing you said.’ I know when I’m in the dark place, I can beat myself up over mistakes I’ve made. So I wrote this song for all the people who have sat on that floor and felt these things like I have. And maybe for the people who haven’t, to give them a glimpse into how depression can color everything.”
“100 Different Ways” is no navel-gazing lament, though, as BettySoo cleverly offers a ladder up and out. Much of that comes from the way she structured her song — with a propulsive rhythm section and cooing backup vocals.
“I wanted to put some hope in there,” she admits. “The hardest thing about depression is that all of the pain is real, but all of the reasons might not be. I might feel all alone, but I’m not. First, there are people in my life who are here for me. Second, there are other people around the world feeling these same things. This song never struck me as one that needed to mope and feel sorry for itself. I’m singing from the outside, to people like me in that dark place.”
Listen as BettySoo shines a light on “100 Different Ways of Being Alone.”