Mckenna Grace on New Song 'do all my friends hate me?' and the 'Work in Progress' of Her Life
While 15-year-old Mckenna Grace is best known as an actress, appearing in films including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Gifted and Captain Marvel, she's also a talented singer-songwriter with a story that demands to be told.
Her latest release, "do all my friends hate me?" is an ode to anxiety, overthinking and catching yourself in a self-destructive cycle—as well as a reminder that none of us who might experience those troubling feelings are alone. For this song, Mckenna also teamed up with the nonprofit The Jed Foundation, which helps teens and young adults deal with their emotional health by helping them foster the skills and support they need to thrive.
We had the chance to talk to Mckenna about the song and its therapeutic writing process, as well as the importance of The Jed Foundation and their work. Keep reading to find out what she had to say.
Sweety High: What was the songwriting process for "do all my friends hate me"? Was the song based on a real experience where you thought that was true?
Mckenna Grace: Yes, the song was based off of how I was feeling while stuck in quarantine. I felt like I had no one to talk to, and that everyone around me just thought of me as annoying. I felt like a nuisance, and I didn't want to message my friends in fear of annoying them, but when they didn't message me, I just assumed that everyone hated me. I wanted to put those emotions into something creative that could hopefully help me get out what I was feeling and maybe help others, too.
SH: Did the process of writing the song help you work through those emotions and realize the truth about the situation?
MG: It really did! It's so therapeutic writing music. After I released my first teaser of the song, a lot of my friends started messaging me to let me know that they cared about me. It meant a lot to me and was also a reminder that sometimes what I'm feeling is just that—just a feeling. I know that isn't always the case, but I can be a pretty emotional person and I feel like music is a healthy way for me to understand my feelings and process them.
SH: What advice do you have for anyone who starts spiraling into a thought process of thinking their friends hate them?
MG: Take a step back. Breathe. Assess the situation. It's really hard to step back and realize when you may spiral, but if you can just try to think it over. Talk to your friends. Ask them, and tell them how you feel. Reach out to people around you, and if your friends aren't very good for you and always make you feel excluded, sometimes it's good to reach out to new people, too. (I'm giving myself this advice too—it's a work in progress!).
SH: Why was it so important for you to use this song to spotlight The Jed Foundation and its work? How has the foundation been helpful to you and the people you care about, and why do you encourage fans who relate to the song to check them out?
MG: The Jed Foundation does a lot of incredible work surrounding mental health. I wish I knew about them when I was going through everything. I feel it's important to keep the conversation about our mental health open. It does feel like lately there has been so much talk about depression and anxiety, but so many people are experiencing it. The pandemic has been a lot. The Jed Foundation has a lot of really good resources, tips and information on their website. I felt since I was making a song about how my mental health was in a low place, I wanted to give people who are relating to my song some good resources and help.
SH: Most people know you best as an actress. How would you say the creative process of being a singer-songwriter is different from acting on screen?
MG: In songwriting, I make things a lot more personal, and with acting, I'm someone else on screen. With acting, I'm telling someone else's story and playing a character they wrote. But with songwriting, I get to make my own character and tell a story I am writing. It's been amazing to be able to express myself like that. I love them both equally, though.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
MG: Remember that even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes, you are an important part of this world. Please don't ever give up on yourself. You are loved.
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