Op-Ed: Liza Anne on Self-Discovery, Dysphoria, and “Internet Depression”

In their new single “Internet Depression,” released today (September 29), innovative singer/songwriter Liza Anne questions the reality we present on social media. The New York-based artist has recently gone through a chapter of intensive personal and creative transformation, which included publicly coming out as a lesbian and non-binary.

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Since the release of their debut album, The Colder Months, in 2014, Anne has evolved their sound from sparse, acoustic-driven instrumentation to a bold, colorful mix of rock and pop. Although their sonic evolution has been dramatic, the talented songsmith still offers gut-punching lyrics that tap into the vastly complicated layers of the human experience.

[RELATED: Liza Anne Is Poised to Keep Growing]

Their fifth studio album, Utopian, finds Anne at their strongest creatively, adding to their expansive sound with elements from the edges of indie-rock, funk, and beyond. The record’s lead single, “Cheerleader,” is an upbeat, infectious celebration of queer joy, offering the flip side to the confusion and weariness weaved through each reflective line of “Internet Depression.”

Below, Liza Anne shares the experiences that inspired their stunning new single in their own words:

“There is such a heaviness to this song in retrospect, especially now that I am experiencing love that makes sense to me in a life that I feel at home inside of. With this song, I was voicing the frustration and disbelief I had in believing that the people around me were actually experiencing feelings of being in love because, within my experience of “being in love,” I was always only halfway there – slightly floating above my experiencing hoping that one day I would slip into my body and have the feelings I saw happening around me.

I spent so much emotional energy projecting love onto my relationships as I had seen it and not love as I had felt it. When I would see happy couples, there was a nihilism to my view that kept saying, “That cannot be totally true; one of them is being abused, one of them is fully disassociated, neither is happy, that woman is disassociating during sex and picturing her life with women and not him, etc.”. I just thought, for years, that the experience of love was one of projection – saying something enough so that hopefully you really meant it eventually.

It is so relieving to understand that isn’t the case – to know that I’m not broken, and my capacity for love – as a feeling, as a movement, as a sacred happening – is there, and it was never meant to be with a cis man because I’m a lesbian.

Now that I am out, I realize the sadness around that – there is love to be felt, swallowed in, moved by, and understood within. I had never felt that, and, of course, I hadn’t. I am gay and was dating cis men – that was never going to feel like home.

There’s such a strange pain to the internet when you’re feeling disillusioned with your own life and swallowed in the discomfort and pain of grief. It’s like being constantly confronted with everyone’s best side while you’re grieving – of course, it’s not something to take personally, but it feels impossible to not compare the worst feeling inside of you to the projection of “everything is great” that you’d come across on social media.

It is so strange to be feeling so disassociated from yourself as I was seeing it projected on the internet – we have such a direct line of sight to everyone at all times. To have that view while experiencing dysphoria in your own experience is especially heavy – it’s hard to find a home in yourself already and to have that constant reminder of everyone’s everything all the time – that’s a lot for a subconscious to hold onto.”

Listen to Liza Anne’s new single “Internet Depression” below:

Photo courtesy of Big Feat PR

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