Reflecting on the tragic loss of her longtime love and the last time she saw him, Sweetlove has released “Did You Even Know.” The affecting song was written in the aftermath of a tragic loss to suicide, and is part of Sweetlove’s forthcoming Goodnight Lover EP, which finds the singer-songwriter coping with three deaths due to complications from mental illness during the span of one year, and will be out on March 26th, 2021. Listen to “Did You Even Know” HERE.
“‘Did You Even Know’ is about wishing that someone could see in themselves what you see in them. It’s about being blindsided by something ending that you thought would last forever, and what you wouldn’t give to go back and have even just a little more time. It’s about the beautiful moments that make up how you love someone, and how much you miss them when it’s over. And it’s about how sometimes when we are in the dark, we can’t see the light even though it’s there,” Sweetlove explains. “We need to do better. We need to find better ways to feel connected, to lift each other up. We need to make mental health care something that isn’t luxury, or a stigma for those who need it most.”
Born out of a tsunami of grief and pain, Goodnight, Lover is a portrait of an artist coming into her own. In late 2017, Sweetlove was beginning to work on new original material when she was faced with three devastating losses – her oldest friend, Matt, her long-time love, David, and her cousin, Teddy, all passed away within one year of each other. She funneled her grief into collaborations with writers such as Jay Stolar (Selena Gomez, Trevor Daniel, Aloe Blacc, G-Eazy, Demi Lovato), Evangelina, Zach Berkman/The Heart Of (Ron Pope), Garen Gueyikian, and Adam Tressler, resulting in a collection of songs about “grappling with loss, coming to terms with it, missing someone, wishing you had known you weren’t going to have more time, and how to find joy again,” she states. Produced by Justin Glasco (The Lone Bellow), Goodnight, Lover puts Sweetlove’s twin devotions to her earthy pop and the people she loves on magnificent display.
Sweetlove has found her own refuge in songwriting after years of helping others showcase theirs. She sang backup vocals for Grammy-nominated and Tony award-winning artists, paying dues on huge stages. The daughter of a preacher and a teacher, she grew up in California’s Simi Valley and experienced music as a natural part of life––not as a pursuit or a practice, but an extension of just being. Childhood Pentecostal religious services began with songs often sung by David’s bearded, raspy-voiced father. “I grew up with his voice,” Sweetlove says, before noting that many of his children––David’s siblings––became professional musicians.
“Losing David really made me think about mental illness and mental anguish, things I’m not a stranger to myself,” Sweetlove continues. “One of the worst things about mental illness is it lies to you and tells you that you’re alone, or that people would be better off without you. David was a vet, and we lost him to suicide. It’s my understanding this happens about twenty-two times a day. That’s shameful. Matt had a hard time getting the help he needed. And Teddy had a whole family around him that loved him, but it wasn’t enough to save him. The system isn’t really set up to help people so they can live lives free of torment and with joy. It seems harder for men to ask for or get help. I don’t know if that’s true. But it seems harder.”
Listening to Goodnight, Lover, a truth emerges: Sweetlove isn’t merely working through her own hurt. She is singing these songs to the ones she still misses, addressing them with tenderness and love. She is interested in the potential of music therapy to assist others––from veterans with PTSD to those dealing with loss––and she hopes these songs can be a balm to anyone who hears them.
“I think David would be really happy to hear that I took this terrible thing and made something beautiful out of it––something that can touch others,” Sweetlove says, quietly. “I hope listeners take what they need from it to comfort themselves or maybe feel less alone.”