If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have a panic or anxiety attack, you know just how hard it is to muscle through the experience– especially if you’re alone without anyone to help calm you down. Ollie Wade’s newest single “Breathe” was written for his partner, who, at the time, was suffering from severe panic attacks. The song is meant to soothe and comfort– it’s personal and vulnerable in all the right ways. Soft like a down-filled pillow, "Breathe" provides the reassurance to those experiencing mental health issues that they’re not alone and that these feelings will pass.
“Breathe” is fairly sparse instrument-wise, but it all works very well with the song’s overall message: complete with an acoustic guitar, piano, and a drum to mimic a heartbeat, everything blends nicely to create a simple yet sensitive soundscape. The bridge in particular features live recorded strings that just sound so beautiful in tandem with Wade’s vocals; they swell with his voice, as if a chest growing with hope. Wade sings, accompanied by these strings, “But just know/That it’s always gonna end/You’ll make it out again.” It’s such a lovely representation of this moment– two people being uplifted by one another, and the instrumentals portraying that, as well as through the lyrics. The song shows both sides of the narrator and partner, although, for the most part, it focuses on guiding the partner through their panic attack, telling them to “Just breathe/Count to three/Try to listen to my voice.” It is important to mention that the song also often empathizes with the partner and validates their feelings: “Your chest is getting tighter/Your head is feeling lighter/So sit down here with me.” “Breathe” is a great representation, in a musical format, for panic and anxiety attacks; I’m sure it’s overwhelmingly relatable to many people in how Wade describes the shortness of breath and that clawing, tightening feeling in the chest.
Ollie Wade began his music career on YouTube through posting acoustic folk-pop covers, as well as making vlogs. He eventually gained an online following and released his first single “Free” at the age of 17 as a tribute to his late brother, Ben. Since then, he’s released a host of music, including a 2016 EP entitled “Falling” that debuted as a UK iTunes Top 10, and has even played an intimate show for The Duchess, Kate Middleton. Vulnerable, honest, and precise, Wade’s songwriting has never shied away from being full of emotion; ranging from love to mental health, his music touches on the cornerstones of life to connect with his audience. “Breathe” is Wade’s most recent single and I cannot encourage people enough to listen to it– it’s a fantastic manifestation of mental health struggles, both relatable and comforting.
Written By Alexa Leung
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