Taylor Momsen, lead singer/songwriter of the band THE PRETTY RECKLESS, was a guest on the latest episode of "Mind Wide Open", the IGTV series and podcast hosted by Chris Cornell's daughter Lily Cornell Silver.
"Mind Wide Open" aims to "help destigmatize the conversation around mental health," according to a press release. Guests include mental health professionals, public figures, peers, and others who will share their stories and struggles, as well as provide knowledge and insight.
Taylor and Lily talk about their dual experiences with loss and how music pulled Taylor out of a dark place emotionally after she suffered two major losses of friends. The first was Chris Cornell, whom THE PRETTY RECKLESS was on tour with at the time of Chris's passing.
She and Lily share a special connection over that loss, as Taylor says: "It's a little bizarre to speak to you, because it started with your father, losing him. We were opening for SOUNDGARDEN, which, to me, was the highest of highs. Respect is not the right word; I love your father, I love their music, I love SOUNDGARDEN so much, to my core that I still don't know how to put it into words. To be on that tour opening for them was just the most incredible honor and experience of my life. Obviously, it ended tragically."
Chris was and remains a huge inspiration for Taylor and her band and it hit them hard. The other loss which was a tipping point for Taylor was the death of her best friend and producer Kato Khandwala, who passed in April 2018.
Taylor remembers: "I was starting to write music and had a couple of songs that I was really proud of. I was calling our producer Kato, who is much more than just our producer; he was my best friend in the entire world, essentially the fifth member of the band... There would be no THE PRETTY RECKLESS if I had never met Kato... As soon as we started to put plans in motion, I got the call that Kato had died in a motorcycle accident. That was the nail in the coffin for me, where I just spiraled downward so quickly into depression and this dark hole with no light that I didn't see a way out of."
Taylor says that there was a point where she could no longer listen to music as it made her feel sorrow and grief and how over the course of months, she worked through it. She slowly started listening to her favorite music from her childhood and was able to feel joy instead of sorrow.
They also dive into how these experiences influenced Taylor in writing her band's new album, "Death By Rock And Roll".
Throughout the conversation, Taylor tells Lily the road she took to come back from heartbreak and loss by creating music.
Taylor says: "If you're standing on a frozen lake, and you're on one side and have to get to the other side, it's going to seem like an impossible task. If you just look down and just put one foot in front of the other foot, pretty soon you're going to turn around and be closer to the other side than the side you started from, and that's living."
Taylor explored the idea of starting over by just listening to every artist she ever loved from the beginning, starting with THE BEATLES and moving through decades of music to bring back the joy she always felt from music and she eventually was able to crawl back.
She added: "Talking to people about mental health is the first step on the road to healing. It was a pleasure discussing these things with Lilly Cornell Silver, who is bravely working to shed light on the stigma of mental health."
Lily is continuing on her mission to destigmatize the conversations around mental health and is quickly being recognized as a public mental health advocate. "Mind Wide Open" and Lily have been featured in Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper, Variety, NME, ET, and the Seattle Times, among many others.
"Mind Wide Open" will continue as an IGTV series with new shows every other Tuesday at 12 noon ET and is now also available as a podcast on Spotify and Apple, and on YouTube with subtitles available in Spanish and English.