Coming off the success of breakout singles, independent pop artists Caleb Hearn and Jillian Rossi teamed up to craft Under The Weather, an honest anthem alluding to the difficulties of mental health in isolation.
The pair told American Songwriter their inspiration for the track came from both personal experience and observation of the world around them. While pursuing solo careers has always been a goal for both songwriters, it wasn’t until the past year when their individual stories and songs gained viral traction via the social media platform, TikTok, that Rossi and Hearn found themselves with a massive audience bringing into fruition the dreams they had only previously idealized.
Written over two zoom sessions, Hearn said the day Under The Weather came about had a gloomy and rainy atmosphere, with inspiration already leaning in a heavy emotional direction because of their current circumstances.
Hearn explained while his solo single “Always Be” was going viral, there was accompanying heartache when the original beat was purchased without his knowledge. He then re-recorded the song, asking viewers for support on the new track, which thankfully generated an even greater response.
“Always Be” was written out of a very vulnerable state, Hearn noted, after a close friend passed away in a hiking accident. Combining the effort and commitment it took to release that piece of art into the world with the issues he was forced to navigate on the logistics side, the general theme of his artist path was becoming one of high-stress.
Rossi noted much of her inspiration for Under The Weather came from a desire to spread awareness about the many different challenges people face in the area of mental health on account of the global, COVID-19 pandemic that may not be as publicly talked about. One such experience was within her own family.
“My brother actually has autism and if you think about how hard the pandemic is…having such a routine change…autistic people thrive on having their routine and doing a lot of the same and a lot of times that comes with OCD, and that was stripped away from my younger brother who’s 17 and in highschool,” Rossi said. “It’s been a struggle in my house and we were dealing with a lot of ups and downs. It was like a peak of that going on when we wrote this song. That’s really where it stems from for me. [My brother’s] life has changed, and he can’t even fully understand what’s going on and why.”
Would you see me and notice that I’m unwell? / I’m all out of focus / My mental health’s walking on thin ice, the song cries. Rossi and Hearn both emphasized they wanted to craft lyrics that gave the tired attitude the last year has brought some room to be at peace, connecting listeners over a mutual struggle.
“It’s relatable during these times – no matter what you’re going through, whether it’s some sort of industry catastrophe like what happened to Caleb or something at home,” Rossi said. “It’s a song about knowing that there’s an end. You don’t have to be 100 percent all the time, but things do get better. We’re all in a time of gloom, under the weather, and one day we’ll be out of it.”
There’s an idea circling modern culture and habits that pushes perfection at all times, Hearn added. “But that’s really not the case. Being under the weather is not a bad thing…and there is positivity even in being under the weather because you know that you’ll be okay one day. Having a day here and there that you feel under the weather, it makes those days that are good that much better.”
You will see better days, Hearn and Rossi noted, an attitude the two emerging songwriters said they feel is vital right now and for future circumstances.
While the collaboration was separate from their solo work, both artists said they hope to continue writing together and support each other’s work in the independent pop field, with a desire to continue bringing awareness specifically to mental health struggles and the validity that is found in common experience.