Big names in the music industry are touring the U.S. not only to share music, but to spark conversation.
To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit organization focused on giving hope and finding help for those who struggle with depression, self-injury, addiction and suicide. The organization launched a 2013 United States tour called “Heavy and Light” to bring evenings of songs, conversation and hope to those who suffer or know someone who is suffering from depression. The artists selected to share their work showcase messages of hope and encouragement.
On Feb. 1, Noah and Abby Gundersen, a brother and sister duo from Seattle, opened the show in Salt Lake City.
The crowd was still as Noah Gundersen soloed “Jesus, Jesus” — a song he wrote during a time when he was questioning his religious beliefs and looking for answers rather than relying on what he had been taught growing up.
“I tried to be as honest and truthful as I could with expressing exactly where I was when things didn’t make sense,” Noah Gundersen said. “At the time I was asking a lot of questions and didn’t really have a lot of answers. I’ll always be asking questions, and that’s a good thing. I believe that if you ever stop asking questions, you stop growing.”
Noah Gundersen even thanked the crowd for the silence and for listening to the song.
Bryce Avary, lead singer of The Rocket Summer, also performed during the show. He played to encourage and uplift, sharing what helps him overcome tough experiences.
“I feel like God is in music,” Avary said. “Life gets tough sometimes, but you’re not alone. You’re not alone.”
Aaron Gillespie of The Almost also performed and shared some insight for those who are struggling.
“Don’t let anyone tell you what to do or who to be,” Gillespie said. “Just do it. Write your own story.”
Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot, demonstrated how to write your own story.
Foreman, also the lead singer of the band Fiction Family, dismissed the band from the stage and stepped in front of the microphone alone. He invited all audience members to come close and join him in an acoustic rendition of “Dare You to Move.”
Foreman shared how his reliance on music has helped him overcome some of his personal battles.
“Music is a place to let off steam,” Foreman said. “It is also a place to not run away, but a place to make sense of things that don’t make sense anywhere else.”
The To Write Love on Her Arms website offers more information on the tour dates and meaning of the organization.