A new podcast named after Daniel Johnston‘s 1983 album ‘Hi, How Are You?’ will feature conversations around mental health with musicians performing at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
- READ MORE: “He was an outsider and I related to that”: Beabadoobee on how cult hero Daniel Johnston inspired a new generation of songwriters
The series is being presented by the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organisation established with the support of Johnston’s family in 2018 to create “thoughtful media, events and peer-to-peer training programs that encourage open and ongoing dialogue on mental well-being”.
The podcast is hosted by students from the University of Texas in Austin, with additional commentary provided by clinical advisors from the American Psychological Association, the Texas Psychological Association and Dr. Sonia Krishna from the Hi, How Are You Project.
The first two episodes of the podcast have been released on Spotify. The first features a conversation with Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas, while the second includes a discussion with the band Surfaces and members of flash mob group Bob’s Dance Shop. Music by Johnston appears throughout.
In a statement, Hi, How Are You Project executive director and co-founder Tom Gimbel pointed out the conversations contained are not “clinical chats”, and the podcast is not “looking for answers or cures”. Gimbel continued: “We were looking for new ways to tell stories about people’s journeys and challenges in life and to make others feel connected rather than isolated.”
Johnston struggled with mental health challenges throughout his life, channelling it through his music and visual art. The 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston chronicled the outsider artist’s rise to fame, as well as his experience of bipolar disorder.
When Johnston died from natural causes in 2019, his family said in a statement that the songwriter had “triumphed over his illness through his prolific output of art and songs” and had “inspired countless fans, artists and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day, ‘the sun shines down on me’ and ‘true love will find you in the end.'”
For help and advice on mental health:
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians (CALL MUSIC MINDS MATTER ON: 0808 802 8008)
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues (CALL: 0800 030 6789)
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day