Minus One have come a long way since they took their home country Cyprus to the grand final at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016. Since then, they have scooped a number of local awards, survived a lineup change and released an LP titled Red Black White. After gaining wider recognition with their satirical video, ‘The Greatest“, they’re following this up with the release of “What’s Up” — a cover single to raise awareness about mental health in general, and suicide in particular.
“What’s Up” was originally penned, arranged and performed by 4 Non Blondes in 1992. By the summer of ’93, the song went on to become a global smash hit, peaking at number one in over 10 countries. Recently, Lady Gaga’s live version brought the song to newer audiences. However, Minus One’s version is also getting us talking. Their version is emotionally invested in unpacking the stigma surrounding mental health. As they graft rock undertones into this known cover, we are faced with the truth behind the music— suicide is real and hiding from it won’t solve it.
“What’s Up” — Minus One
Speaking exclusively to wiwibloggs, Harrys Pari, the band guitarist, explains:
“We had always loved the song by 4 Non Blondes. We had been performing this cover in our live shows. However, it is very different in our recording. During recording, the lyrics touched us in a specific way. It came at a time where we saw all the suicides going on due to deep depression. Some of it was very ” close to home”, so it kind of came naturally to us to use this song to address what was going on.
“We gave it a darker feel to project our feelings. For us, it was like this song was written for this situation. Although we originally wanted to release our own material , “What’s Up” was the perfect fit for what we were going for. We’re very happy with the end result, and the video projects exactly what we wanted! We hope that people can relate, listen, watch, and maybe share their own experiences through this. You can never really tell who is going through depression most of the time. It doesn’t show as much as we think.”
This isn’t the first time that Minus One has released a cover version. In late 2016, they worked on their own version of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph“. However, the video for “What’s Up” takes this topic to a whole new level. The video opens with what appears to be a drowning woman attempting suicide. When in the company of others, she appears all happy and full of life, but underneath it all, she is battling with deep depression and suicidal thoughts.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10 October every year in over a hundred countries. The overall objective of marking the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world, and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. Inaugurated by the World Health Organisation in 1992, it provides an opportunity for all stakeholders, individuals, institutions and organisations to engage with issues surrounding mental health, debunk social stigma and to discuss what more needs to be done to make mental healthcare a reality for people worldwide.
Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. 2019’s focus is on suicide prevention. “40 seconds of action” is a platform to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it. Minus One have also taken this mandate further by launching the hashtag #WhatYouDontSee to drive social media engagement.
What do you think about Minus One’s version of “ What’s Up”? What are your thoughts on the music video and also the message behind the song? Let us know in the comments section down below.