- Being Human and Sherlock star learned to dance for this powerful video about mental health.
Gay British TV star Russell Tovey has learned to dance for a stunning new music video.
It shows how even the most successful people can struggle with their mental health by giving a glimpse behind the masquerade of life on the red carpet.
The video for Something Left to Love is part of British composer Fabio D’Andrea’s new album ‘24’ that hopes to make people see classical music in a new way.
As well as writing 24 original piano pieces, D’Andrea directed visually stunning new videos. Each show stars who the public have not previously seen dancing.
Tovey is an actor best known for his roles in Being Human, Sherlock, Looking, Him & Her and Doctor Who.
So to prepare for the video, he had to learn to dance at the famous Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden London.
The result is a moving piece of contemporary dance.
It shows Tovey as an outwardly smiling celebrity on the red carpet. However, he then retreats into himself to show his mental health is breaking down behind the fame and craving a simpler, more innocent version of himself.
Tovey says the performance is very personal and relevant to many people in the social media era:
‘It’s like compare and despair. Everyone does it. You look at Instagram and you don’t realise why but you suddenly feel a bit low.
‘And you scroll back and you’re like, oh, ok, that’s tapped into one of my anxieties.
‘And this film shows the story of this celebrity being photographed and you think, “Wow, he’s obviously living the dream. He must be loving all this attention.” But the reality is on the inside he’s struggling so much, with just being alive.’
Finding the ‘fun and adventure’
A hopeful moment in the short video is when Tovey reconnects with himself as a child to overcome his inner demons.
He says: ‘As you become an adult, you can sometimes lose touch.
‘And especially if you’re in the public eye you can potentially lose touch of a sense of reality and self. You see yourself only projected through other people’s opinions of you and are judged by how you look.
‘This is the storyline for this character, this hyper version of where I’m at in my career. There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with being a performer.
‘But at the same time, it’s about going back to when you were a child where you have all these ambitions, hopes and dreams and then when they become reality, they can get blurred, and you lose sight of what it was you went into it for, which was the fun and adventure.’
Talking helps Tovey overcome ‘anxiety or sadness’
The filmmakers believe it is particularly relevant when the coronavirus pandemic is putting extra pressure on millions of people’s mental health.
Although the film focuses on the experience of celebrities in the spotlight, it explores the mental health struggles of every person, at a time when anxiety levels are at their peak in the face of the global pandemic.
Tovey says: ‘The message overall is don’t be afraid to talk about it.
‘I’ve always found that when I’ve had anxiety or sadness, by talking about it and sharing it with someone else, I can recognize the qualities I’m feeling in someone else.
‘If you connect with someone, it helps because you don’t feel alone and you don’t feel like it’s abnormal.
‘I think that’s what mental health is. The more people talk, the more it normalises it, and the less scary it becomes. Because when you’re in your head, and you’re consumed by certain thoughts, it becomes a very scary place to live.
‘Whereas if you’re able to articulate them, in my opinion, it really takes the power out of away from the mental illness.’
Reaching people who never listen to classical music
D’Andrea is proud his project combines film, classical music and contemporary dance. He wants free other creators to combine art forms. Long-term he hopes to establish a label for artists who don’t fit into the narrow confines of the music industry.
Tovey says: ‘Culture at a time like this is going to help you because you’re watching other people’s stories and you can see how we’re all connected.
‘Every single person on this planet is now connected by one thing. Watching this short film, I hope moves you, as it’s a beautiful piece of art, it’s beautiful music, but it’s also very hopeful.
‘You go into the pain of this character, and what he’s coping with, and then he sees himself as a kid and he’s like: “I can face the world again. I just needed to get in touch with my own feelings and give myself permission to be sad or scared.”
‘That’s what this story is about: trying to control the stuff that goes on your head, and telling yourself this is normal, this is ok. However you feel, there is always a way out.’
Meanwhile D’Andrea hopes it will open people’s minds to classical music. He says:
‘I would love to reach a whole bunch of people who would never put on anything classical. And the same with dance. That’s my mission. I’m hoping that we’ve tapped into something so universal that it can show people that the arts are accessible.’
And Tovey adds: ‘I love classical music, and I love this piece of music. I want people to find Fabio’s work and look at the rest of his back catalogue, and if we can give exposure to cultural quality in the world then that’d be brilliant. I’d love that.’
LGBT+ mental health help
LGBT+ people are more likely to struggle with poor mental health. But there is help if you just reach out. You can find a list of LGBT+ resources and helplines all around the world here. Please note, some of the helplines may have different operating hours during the pandemic.