Music is food for the soul, and in the same way, medicine for the mind.
When 18-year-old musical artist, Anthony Denny was down to his lowest and on the verge of giving up on life, music became his saving grace. Denny is a fast-rising metal/hard rock artist, singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist, and producer from San Bruno, California. Popularly known for his hit single “Mema”, a song dedicated to his ailing grandmother, the young star has often said that music was his way out of a really dark hole. He was bullied at school from the second grade up until his sophomore year in high school when he had to switch to homeschooling.
Denny was always misunderstood because he chose to express himself through his different choices of music and unusual mode of dressing. Wearing his hair long didn’t help matters either. All these earned him a lot of harassment and torture, so much that he was later diagnosed with a severe form of the Tics disorder.
Denny said: “My life was pretty much eating itself away. For a long time — longer than I am happy to admit — my pain was all about me. I didn’t realize what it was doing to other people. Other people like my father. He was at this wits end too.”
As an adolescent in the 7th grade, things got so bad for Denny that he became suicidal. The authorities at school weren’t much help to his plight, and his parents had to involve the police in his case.
At this point, his father, Ray Denny, was fully determined to help his son find true peace. As a way to help him channel out the negative energy and sort through his emotions, Ray bought his son a guitar in 2014 and signed him up for lessons with Ned Aswell, a renowned bass and guitar teacher. The young Denny quickly picked up a strong interest in metal and hard rock and eventually realized that these genres of music are highly misunderstood. The stereotypes describe them as loud and noisy but as Denny discovered, they were full of powerful feelings that gave him just the right vibes to cope with his pain.
Music was so therapeutic to his mind that the nervous tics eventually disappeared. He was still dealing with issues at school but he’d found more confidence than that he’d ever had. Following a gig with his band, “The Lucky Boys” in 2015, Denny played at a show in San Francisco to raise awareness for Rett Syndrome, and the long-awaited epiphany hit him on that stage at DNA Lounge. This was who he was meant to be. Right there, at that moment, he was fulfilling his purpose to make magic with music, and he was going to spend the rest of his life doing it. He’d finally found his calling.
A relapse but never a beat-down
Denny started getting steady shows and gigs and his career was soaring together with his confidence. He had a growing fan base on social media, and despite it being dotted with a lot of trolls who wanted to pull him down before he even began, Denny continued to thrive in the space he’d carved out for himself.
A stroke of bad luck hit again when he had to leave high school because fellow students kept recognizing him. The attention wasn’t good for his academic career and home school became the next option. This new change derailed him so terribly that he became unable to push his career forward and was later diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
At some point, Denny saw his options boiling down to “being a nobody who works a 9-5 or someone who made a living from playing music”. He wanted the latter very badly, but somehow, the motivation to move forward was no longer there.
Music came to his rescue once again when he was inspired to write a song for his sick grandmother in 2019. Titled “Mema”, he hadn’t intended to release the song to the world but somehow, it felt right. It also turned out to be a great decision.
“I didn’t expect much from the release but it blew up and hit everywhere,” Denny said. “I had received so much love from it and so many people told me how it helped them through such a rough time and there’s no feeling better than that.”
Denny has continued to thrive and move forward in the industry since Mema’s release. With a fan base of over 62,000 on Instagram, he plans to use his music to inspire and help people who are stuck in the same position as he was. Music is the ultimate gift for the soul and sometimes, all you have to do is open yourself up to the healing power of the tunes.