"Music says it's okay to be human, okay to ask questions, okay to feel things deeply."
To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is doing something very special this year: for the first time their annual HEAVY AND LIGHT event will embark on a national tour featuring musicians, speakers, and a poet. Lucky for Michigan the tour will be stopping at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit on Feb. 9. For tickets visit www.TWLOHA.com.
The tour will feature intimate performances from *Jon Foreman of Switchfoot/Fiction Family, Christina Perri, *Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer, Will Anderson of Parachute, *Aaron Gillespie of The Almost, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, *Noah Gundersen, The Lone Below, Satellite, and *Now, Now.
Also along with the music will be an appearance by the award-winning poet *Anis Mojgani.
*The starred artists are those will be performing in Detroit.
Check out photos and videos from last year's annual HEAVY AND LIGHT event at www.TWLOHA.com.
Since its inception in 2006 TWLOHA has helped many struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, acting as a safe haven for people to come to for help.
TWLOHA’s founder Jamie Tworkowski believes in the power of music and hope and is very excited to be taking HEAVY AND LIGHT national. I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about TWLOHA and the tour.
Amber: What inspired you to create To Write Love On Her Arms?
Jamie: It began in 2006 as an attempt to help a friend who was struggling with depression, addiction and self-injury. I wrote a story called "To Write Love on Her Arms" and posted it as a blog on MySpace. We started selling shirts as a way to raise money for her treatment. Some friends in bands started to wear the shirts and so it spread quickly. We instantly started hearing from people who could relate to the story we were telling - people asking for help, how to help a loved one, etc.
A: Did you think it would come as far as it has?
J: No. It wasn't intended to be a charity or a brand. We just set out to tell a story and to help our friend. It seems most "big" things start small. That's definitely true in our case. So many people struggle with the issues we speak to, and so many of those people feel alone. The TWLOHA story seemed to give people permission to be honest about their pain, to know that's okay, and to get the help they need and deserve.
A: Tell me about some of the successes that TWLOHA has had.
S: There have been awards and surprising open doors - the biggest would be a year ago when we won $1,000,000 in the first-ever American Giving Awards presented by Chase Bank. But in my mind, the "success" is getting to meet people who say they're still alive because of the work we're doing.
A: The HEAVY AND LIGHT tour involves music and conversation. Take me through a night at a HEAVY AND LIGHT show.
J: We like to keep a lot of it a surprise, so that folks don't know what to expect. But I can tell you it's a night of great music - mostly stripped-down, acoustic. Beyond the music, there are a couple different speakers and an amazing spoken word poet named Anis Mojgani. He tends to steal the show, in my opinion. The entire night is meant to exist at the intersection of pain and hope, and the entire night is meant to be an encouragement to someone who might be struggling. Our hope is to move people to be honest about their questions and struggles, and to get whatever help they need. On the note of help, everyone in the room leaves with a list of local resources - places they can get help in their community.
A: How do you think music inspires and helps those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and/or suicide?
J: Music has the unique ability to be honest, and I think it invites us to do the same. There are words we sing in songs that we would have trouble saying in conversation. Music says it's okay to be human, okay to ask questions, okay to feel things deeply.
A: What has been one of the best or most rewarding moments for you, as the organization’s founder?
J: I mentioned it before but the moments when I meet someone who says they're still alive because of TWLOHA - whether it's something they read in a blog or something they heard at an event - that's the heart of the matter. That's the goal and the dream. This HEAVY AND LIGHT Tour is the biggest thing we've ever done. It really is a dream come true, and the goal is the same, to see people stay alive and to see people get the help they need and deserve.
This collaboration of music, conversation, and hope along with an amazing organization like To Write Love On Her Arms will make for a great and inspiring night. For dates and tickets please visit www.TWLOHA.com. See you there!
Visit TWLOHA on facebook at www.facebook.com/towriteloveonherarms.