New Zealand’s acclaimed singer-songwriter BENEE joined forces with local mental health charity Youthline and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to present an innovative musical experience. On May 24, 2023, she unveiled a new song titled “BAGELS”, designed meticulously to induce relaxation and alleviate anxiety.
“BAGELS” uses musical elements identified through research as having the power to ease anxiety by calming the nervous system and altering brain activity. Through neurological testing conducted on young adults and teenagers, it was found that the track significantly diminished levels of “state anxiety,” a form of anxiety experienced in stressful situations. Interestingly, the song was observed to pacify brain activity in the frontal and parietal lobes, regions commonly associated with emotion regulation and stress response.
Written by Stella Rose Bennett and Josh Fountain, with the latter also serving as the producer, “BAGELS” offers a unique creative process for the duo. BENEE acknowledged the therapeutic nature of music and expressed her admiration for Youthline’s work. She emphasized the importance of talking about mental health and provided a personal touch to the song, drawing inspiration from her own stress-relieving activities like swimming at the beach and enjoying a bagel.
As part of this special collaboration, all proceeds from the song’s streaming will be donated to Youthline. This significant initiative is a testament to the transformative power of music and its potential in mental health advocacy. As Associate Professor Shepherd pointed out, this unique study into “BAGELS” shows how music can regulate anxiety, and it will undoubtedly help many young people manage their mental well-being in challenging situations.