Rupert Gough and The Choir of Royal Holloway, University of London, release a new single with soprano Laura Wright on Monday 18 May, raising awareness of mental health and encouraging people to seek support and donate to mental health charities if they feel able to. The track, written by composer Thomas Hewitt Jones and lyricist Matt Harvey, speaks of the loneliness and despair felt by many around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the musicians involved gave their services for free and hope that the song can be an anthem for kindness, bringing hope all around the world to those suffering with their mental health. Released by Signum, proceeds from the single will be donated to a number of UK-based mental health charities.

Rupert Gough, Director of The Choir of Royal Holloway, says “All the musicians involved hope that the music will bring comfort and strength to many. They have enjoyed creating this single but they themselves face loneliness and despair as our singers are unlikely to be able to unite and sing together as a musical family for some time to come. Mental health was already an ever-increasing problem amongst university students and now, more than ever, we need to Stay Strong”.

Composer Thomas Hewitt Jones says “It was an absolute pleasure to be asked by Rupert Gough to compose and produce a lockdown single for him and the Royal Holloway choir together with eminent singer Laura Wright. For the lyrics I turned to my long-term collaborator Matt Harvey and we are so delighted to have written and recorded this to spread awareness of the fact that we all have mental health, and that there is no shame in anyone asking for help in difficult times.”

During the lockdown, Laura Wright has been working for a variety of organisations, charities and vulnerable individuals in her fight to address both the short and long term mental challenges of enforced isolation. Laura says, “I was so honoured to be invited to be part of this beautiful message. So many people are currently suffering in silence with loneliness and are showing signs of depression. The first step to healing is to open up and talk to someone about the thoughts in your head. We must look out for people around us asking “Can You Hear Me?” We mustn’t stop showing kindness. Kindness is key.”

With the aim to guide people to seek help, the accompanying music video provides links to The #StayStrong campaign provides invaluable links to numerous mental health charities around the UK.