When Australian electronic singer, songwriter and producer Alison Wonderland talks about her single “Happy Place,” she does so with her eyes down, one slender finger tracing circular shapes on the table top. It’s a song about triumph over darkness, and it’s very rewarding in its final product, but it didn’t come from its namesake.
“I was actually in the dark,” she says. “When you’ve got depression, you don’t really have any insight into what you wanna do, so you don’t wanna leave your room. I was feeling like that. It’s hard to even remember what’s good about yourself when you feel that way, and I was just desperate to see some kind of light.”
“Happy Place” purposely plays on the wild ups and downs of mental illness. It opens with airy strings and grounding chimes as Wonderland sings about her struggles to remain in sunny spaces. Tensions grows as the build leads to a jungle gym of clashing noise, landing in one of Wonderland’s wildest creations to date.
“[It’s] the two polar opposites of my brain,” she says, “so I wanted it to be this ethereal thing wrapping up into the crazy, complicated, fucked up side of my mind, then coming back down to this helpless limbo world that I was in.”
“Fuck me up on a spiritual level,” the mantra blasted on social media and across merch this past year, worms its way into her lyrics for the first time. It’s a reference to the feeling she gets on stage, the surge of power and understanding and communication that builds between her and the crowd when things go right. It’s a feeling she chases in creative moments back in the studio, too.
“Happy Place” is the lead single from forthcoming album Awake. It’s a deeply personal collection of songs written over the past year that addresses the musician’s struggles and victories head on.
“I feel like every single person out there has felt really low at one point in their life, and it’s just so taboo,” she says. “I think mental illness is something people should be more open about. Things could be prevented. There’s times where I’m really glad I last minute texted someone like ‘Oh, I’m really not good.’ I have really great people around me, but it’s really important to show people that I’ve been there, but I got through it.” Review By Billboard
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