In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about mental health, but even so, it still carries certain stigmas or even negative stereotypes. Although it is necessary to talk about it, when it comes down to it, it poses a challenge, especially if it’s a personal experience you want to convey through your art. Fortunately, we have artists like Elif Dame, who lays herself bare to tell us about her process of prioritising her well-being through her debut EP, Securely Detached.
Born to a jazz pianist, her connection with music began at a very young age. Based in Amsterdam, her creativity was influenced by artists like Michael Jackson and the gospel genre, although her interests have expanded to other genres, culminating in the eclectic or alternative R&B that characterises her today. Between 2020 and 2021, she released a series of singles, but during those times, she was going through a bout of depression that prompted her to slow down and take some time for self-care. And from this, Securely Detached was born, an EP that is almost a ‘documentary’ of her hiatus to reclaim her life and learn to focus on herself. Dame confesses that she speaks about reevaluating her codependent relationships and the process of learning to prioritise oneself.
The first release was the single Celexa (Buy Me Time), which is placed second on the EP but still acts as an introduction, as 113 (Skit) is simply an unanswered call where the artist can be heard hyperventilating. Thus, the song is about being completely down and considering the option of taking medication. How To Self-Care talks about the process before therapy, where you have to face reality alone. She also admits to not being able to meet her basic needs, as in Self-Care Pt. II, facing a cycle of self-sabotage that seems never-ending. This song is one of the most original musically. With the sound of certain maraces marking the beat and a chorus of female voices with the voice of Dame, a melody begins that takes shape as it progresses. It culminates in a chorus that reminds us of 2000s pop, in contrast with the raw lyrics.
Killing It was the second single to be released, a non-romantic ballad that focuses on letting go and starting to feel the effects of medication from the perspective of fearing another manic episode. We reach the interlude with Go Home (Skit), a conversation between two drugged people in the middle of a party, followed by Nature of the Beast, where the singer confesses that addiction is a family disease, a challenging song but with certain touches of trap. And we almost reach the end with Grandmothers Fault and Good Friend, both addressing toxic relationships in our lives and the struggle to learn detachment and know what's best for us. Closing Prayer (Skit) is a hopeful speech as a conclusion to end the journey with Securely Detached, the most enjoyable song, both in lyrics and rhythm. A beautiful ending in which Dame confesses that she wants to improve and accept that through personal work, some things will change, but others won't, and that's okay.