78-year-old man turns to producing synth-pop to cure depression: "I hope what I'm doing inspires other people in their '70s"

brian hug
(Image credit: Brian Hug)

A 78-year-old British man has taken steps to recover from clinical depression by entering the recording studio and writing and producing his own songs, ITV News reports.

Brian Hug, who is the brother of Manfred Mann's Mike Hugg, was once a member of the band Cherry Smash, which toured Europe in his youth. He then gave up music to take over the family jewellery business in Gosport. Decades later, the pandemic forced the shop to close, a blow which coincided with Brian's divorce and caused the 78-year-old to fall into depression. 

"Everyone gets depressed, but clinical depression is different," Brian tells ITV News. "It's hard to describe to anyone who's not been through it. You want to just try to solve it or if it gets really bad, you end up wanting to do away with yourself. I had to do something about it."

Brian's recovery began when he walked into Gosport's Quaywest Studios and began writing and recording his own music once more. "It was a transformational moment", he says. "The endorphins started flowing and I could feel my mood changing. I thought, yes, I can actually do this! It's sounding good."

Brian has since explored a variety of different styles in his musical output, tackling topical issues such as climate change and mental health through his lyrics. Stop Messin With Me is a recently released song, embedded below, that explores the growing threat to our environment over a synth-driven techno beat. "I don't think there's many other 78-year-old people making modern dance tracks," Brian says.

Brian's brother, Mike, contributed drums and keyboards to Stop Messin With Me. Mike was a founding member of '60s rock band Manfred Mann, and has been supportive of Brian during his recovery. "He's played drums on quite a few of the tracks and and I often run things past him and he's very supportive. But really, these songs are my own work."

Speaking about the potential that music-making has for helping people with mental health issues, Brian says that it's hugely important to find creative outlets. "You need something creative to do, whether that's growing vegetables in your garden or painting or writing. You have to find something that gives you joy. When you get that back in your life you start feeling better."

"I still feel 25," he continues. "One thing I hope to do is inspire anyone who feels lost or has given up [...] It is possible to change, it is possible to beat it. I've done it, and I'm the living proof of it. If I can do it, you can do."

Brian has channelled this message into a new song called Reach To Me, which implores men to reach out and talk about their mental health with those closest to them. 

Listen to Reach To Me below or subscribe to Brian's YouTube channel.

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