Alicia Bognanno Of Bully Opens Up About Mental Health, Shares PJ Harvey Cover

Today Sounds of Saving (SoS) release a new installment of their “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” series. In partnership with the American Association of Suicidology, they share a Q&A with Alicia Bognanno (who records under the name Bully) as well as her take on PJ Harvey’s “Dry.” Bully shares: “A lot of musicians, like myself, are sober and dealing with mental health. I think it’s 85% of artists, or something, struggle with mental health. I have a link on my fridge for a suicide prevention hotline because you never know when people are going to need that. And people aren’t really vocal about it, so that should be readily available at all times.” 

SoS say, “we are thrilled to work with Bully on this, as Alicia is not only a great artist covering a classic PJ Harvey song but has been refreshingly candid and down to earth about her experience of living with Bipolar 2 disorder. While mental health conversations can often be vague and cliché, Alicia shares her story in such a real way that it makes us all feel more comfortable being open about our experience and how we manage it.”

For every one person that dies by suicide, 280 people think seriously about suicide but go on to live out their lives. These are untold stories that must be shared. Sounds of Saving created “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” in 2019. During the pandemic approximately 1 in 4 young adults has had suicidal thoughts. Engaging with musicians, the series reveals how a song found each artist at the right time, as well as sharing how each artist has managed to cope and even thrive in the face of difficult times and emotional crisis. Since its launch SoS has collaborated with Sharon Van Etten who recorded her version of Nine Inch Nails“Hurt.” They have also worked with lyricist/ producer/ vocalist KeiyaA who covered Jazmine Sullivan’s “Silver Lining,” Jamie Lidell who covered Sly and The Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), and Kate Davis who recorded take onDaniel Johnstons “Too Young To Die.”

About Bully: Recognizing and breaking free from the patterns impeding our forward progress can be transformative — just ask Bully’s Alicia Bognanno. Indeed, the third Bully album, SUGAREGG, may not ever have come to fruition had Bognanno not navigated every kind of upheaval imaginable and completely overhauled her working process along the way. 

A highly accomplished engineer who ran the boards herself on the first two Bully albums, Feels Like (2015) and Losing (2017), Bognanno was ready to be free “from the weight of feeling like I had to prove to the world I was capable of engineering a record, and wanted to be content knowing for myself what I can do without needing the approval of others to validate that.” 

For SUGAREGG she yielded recording and mixing responsibilities to outside collaborators for the first time, working primarily with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and later with Graham Walsh at Palace Studios in Toronto. Ultimately, SUGAREGG is a testament that profound change can yield profound results — in this case, the most expressive and powerful music of Bognanno’s career.

About Sounds of Saving: Sounds of Saving (SoS) was founded by Nick Greto and Charlie Gross. The organization successfully launched a campaign that placed free vinyl LPs throughout NYC that included mental health information. They have released 10 “Songs that Found Me” videos and interviews with artists from multiple genres. In 2019 SoS hosted its inaugural “Feedback Sessions” event, which involved musical performance and an open moderated discussion between artists, audience and a psychologist about the theme of “Inertia.” 

All donations to SoS will support the nonprofit’s creation of an easily-accessible online platform to bring stories, support, and resources to creatives and all people seeking a way through the darkness.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a trained counselor. The service is free, 24/7, confidential, and available across the United States.