Earlier this month, Lacey Sturm and Brian “Head” Welch teamed up with heartsupport (the nonprofit founded by Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red) for a groundbreaking livestream on Twitch. The rock and roll heavyweights were joined by members of bands like We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, Fit for a King and Silent Planet. Throughout the three-hour-long event, artists shared personal reflections and performances all built around a simple encouragement: stay alive.
The event’s viewers blew past the original fundraising goal of $1,000 to raise nearly $4,000 in support of mental health help. Heartsupport also gave away mentoring sessions to donors throughout the event, which you can replay at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1145566658.
“I know how dark it can get when the depression battle is raging in your mind,” Brian “Head” Welch reflects as he looks back on the event’s success. “This world is in such a crazy place right now, and it’s no secret that it is messing with people’s depression levels in a dramatic way. I’m just trying to do all I can to help as many people as possible, since years ago I made it out of that deceptive, blinding dark cloud.”
It’s a mission that Lacey Sturm shares. “If I get another day, I know it’s because I barely missed that end to my life,” the “State of Me” singer admits. “To be able to wake up another day— I didn’t have to. I could have missed this. And to see all of the things that I’ve seen since that day? So many adventures, so many amazing stories. I learned so much about love, I learned so much about myself and about the people around me, about family, about truth and beauty and God. Life is a gift. I have learned so much since that day. And I would have missed it.”
“So if there’s an opportunity to tell someone that they’re loved, to tell them life is worth living, and to tell them not to give up, I’m going to do that. What else am I waking up for?” Lacey concludes.
That urgency saturated every song, every interview that comprised the star-studded stream. Fans interacted in the comments, supporting each other with their solidarity and stories. For Head, that unity made it all worth it: “the best part was seeing the unity of so many different artists and bands involved, coming together for a common goal: to put all of the rock star hype away to get real with our fans who we care deeply for.”
The #ChooseLife event’s inception came from a collaboration between Head’s band Love & Death and Lacey Sturm for the song “Let Me Love You,” a Justin Bieber cover that appeared on Love & Death’s latest album Perfectly Preserved. When it came time to record a music video, Lacey was grieving the recent loss of a dear friend. The result was video that portrays with soul-scalding rawness the story of someone who is pulled back from the edge of giving up.
“It was exactly the thing I needed to hear, that I needed to sing,” Lacey shared. “I needed hope that it was still something I could sing in the face of tragedy. It was like another chance to tell somebody, after this death, after this loss, that they’re loved. To plead with them, ‘let God love you.’ It has been the most amazing adventure I have ever been on to say yes to that love.”
“When you’ve overcome something, you want to share how you overcame that,” Head adds, looking back on “Let Me Love You” and the livestream that grew from it. “God is love. God is omnipresent. God is always only a conversation away. Be patient and never give up, because if all of us musicians can get through our mental health struggles, so can you.”