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The Verse Chorus

Apr 8, 2021

The Verse Chorus Podcast-Episode 12 Mental Health & Truth in Songwriting

Welcome to The Verse Chorus Podcast. Thank you for your support and for coming back to listen. We hope you enjoy this episode.

-with guest Amy Corey

I remember when I was in college, back when they had music and bookstores together at one location. I would go to Borders and buy myself a quadruple expresso and listen to records at the listening stations. I would listen to something that inspired me and that, along with my excessive caffeine, would inspire me to write my own music. Listening to music and feeling good helped me write. There are other times though, when the inspiration to write comes from a place of sorrow or sadness, and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

How Feelings and Emotions Can Inspire Great Songs

Our guest Amy Corey is someone who I thought of specifically for this episode. We met at Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville and had some good soulful talks. Amy has had an amazingly unique journey. She was born in Vietnam with the birth name Dang Thi Minh Hanh, which means “bright and “of good morale”, which is the embodiment of who Amy is as a person. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and really embraces the struggles that we go through when we’re looking for something positive. 

When Amy was young, she would write her music from a brutally honest place. It was like her diary, expressing both the good and bad of what was going on and how she was coping.  She would write a lot of poetry as well, which became lyrical, and she was able to apply that to her music. For Amy, the songs she writes are about telling a story. Being honest about your story is important because there is always someone who needs to hear it. But at the end of the day, the music you write is for your healing.

Writing music and poetry has always been a healing process for Amy but doing it as a career has been really amazing for her. She has developed as an artist over time and gives herself freedom to fully express her emotions. She knows she’s not the only person experiencing the struggles she does. She wants you to listen to her songs and feel seen and understood, which is the point of her music. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Struggles

During the Covid-19 pandemic of the last year, Amy traveled quite a bit, both domestically and internationally, and noticed that everyone was experiencing the same hardships and stress in regard to the Corona virus and the isolating effects of it. She herself is in her 8th year of recovering from mental health struggles and recognized quickly what others were going through because she was feeling the effects of it too. She noticed that everyone was having the same experience, but it affected each of them differently. This was hard for Amy to see but it really inspired her to speak more on mental health.

In late 2019 Amy returned to Viet Nam for the first time since she was adopted as a small child. This was a very personal but amazing time for her. She was able to meet local artists, be on the radio, and took on an ambassador role with HCMC Peace and Development Association. Amy is very proud of her Vietnamese roots and considers it to be the source of her strength, power, and resilience (she is also proud to be one of the very few Vietnamese country artists in Nashville.) When Amy writes a song, it has to be genuine and specifically Amy, and being Vietnamese is part of who she is. but she also can write a song that others can relate to. In everything that Amy does, whether it be through her music, her speaking on mental health, or her work as an ambassador, it is to connect with others through empathy, and showing that she understands. 

“You are not your mental health trauma.”

As an artist, Amy is known to her fans for being raw and authentic when it comes to her mental health and how she expresses herself through her music. She is not afraid to be herself and show you her scars. Scars are here to show you that you may have lost the battle, but you have won the war. Over the years, there have been some opportunities in music that Amy missed out on due to her honesty around mental health. But then, that honesty got her some other opportunities that were good too. Regardless, Amy will always stay true and authentic because this is how she finds fulfillment, through helping others. Nothing makes Amy happier than when someone lets her know how her story helped them, which happens quite a bit.

Discovering her passion and finding success

Right now, Amy isn’t as focused on music as she has been in the past. She is working more on her entrepreneurship and public speaking on mental health. When she first moved to Nashville at age 18, it was to become a singer and songwriter. Over time though, she began to feel confined to keeping her thoughts and feelings within the limits of a 3-minute song. She took a year to study the field of mental health and public speaking, which shifted into her current work and other kinds of writing. She was able to plant seeds in all areas of the entertainment industry using her passion for mental health awareness. This may not be what she originally set out to do but she’s been successful because of the foundation she built with music. 

How Amy copes with performance anxiety

Over the course of Amy’s entire career, she has put pressure on herself to be a good performer and not let others down. She wants to be seen as a strong ambassador, sincere musician, and good speaker, but she also wants you to see her for who she truly is. It’s not a bad thing to be a different person on and off the stage-it’s just who you are. Don’t worry that you will mess up the good that you have created for someone else through their experience with you. Music can be both positive and negative for you and the listener, and that’s okay.

Thank you to Amy for being on the show today, speaking about your journey as a musician, struggles with mental health, and how you are now changing lives through your important work. To our listeners, please remember to rate, subscribe, and share our podcast with your friends!


Connect with Amy

-on her website

-on Instagram

-on Facebook

-on Twitter


Links and Resources

-HCMC Peace and Development website

-Holt International Adoption Agency website


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