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J Molley is back and focusing on the positives after near brush with death

J Molley. Picture: Supplied

J Molley. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 30, 2022

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J Molley’s been navigating depression and suicidal thoughts since he was a teenager, so when he explains the mental breakdown that culminated in him being admitted to a psychiatric ward, his tone is frank and calm.

It's late March when we speak, only about four weeks since his friend and mentor Riky Rick succumbed to his own depression and allegedly committed suicide at his home in Midrand.

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A day before his death, Riky called him to check up on him and the two spoke about Riky's own struggle with depression.

The following day, when he heard that Riky had died, he says he wishes he could've somehow intervened and said something to him.

The 23-year-old's own near brush with death came after suicidal thoughts had become a daily thing over a few months.

"There came a day where I think I'd lost my phone and everything on it.

"I lost access to my Instagram, so I thought my career was over and it just set me off the rails, and I basically tweeted that I was going to kill myself and I was ready do it that night," he says.

A few people in his inner circle arrived at his place shortly afterwards, to find him intoxicated with his hand bleeding, and rushed him to the hospital.

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He then received treatment and got booked into a psychiatric ward.

At first, he recalls being nervous to go, but in the few weeks he spent there, he made friends, received the treatment he needed and began the healing process.

J Molley acknowledges how the music industry and the pressures that come with it have negatively affected his mental health.

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"It's a toxic industry and especially for my mental health and the way that my mind operates.

“I honestly feel like the career path I picked was one of the worst. But I'm here now, I'm inspiring so many people and I have to go through with it.

“The culture is all about being famous, being rich and looking happy.

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“And you're just constantly comparing each other to each other, looking at other people and saying why don't I have that or why am I not that big or why am I not that happy. And comparison is the thief of joy," he says.

One thing that he revels in is his fans drawing inspiration from his journey.

"It keeps me motivated.

“I like the fact that I get messages from people telling me that I help them through their depression, through their anxiety, through their suicidal thoughts. It keeps me going, for sure," he says.

It's been two weeks since J Molley released his latest project, "Almost Dead" a triumphant and reflective mixtape that sees him sharing his experiences through this entire ordeal over the past year or so.

The overwhelmingly positive response to the project has caught him by surprise.

"I didn't expect it, to be honest. I made this project for a very small group of my fans who would understand.

“I made it just for them to understand where I'd been and what happened and why I'd been gone for so long.

“So it was just an explanatory project but it ended up being one of my biggest projects to date without any features.

“I came back and now I have like 51 000 monthly listeners on Spotify so it's really crazy," he says.

It's rare for an artist of J Molley's calibre to release a project with no guest appearances, but it made sense for him to tell his story alone.

I ask him about the backstory of the song "Rumours", which is one of the standouts on the project.

"It's a very factual song, so I can't even really explain what I was saying in it because the stuff I was saying in it really happened.

“I wanted to sort of bring back the ’Dreams Money Can Buy’ vibe, which was my first mixtape that I ever put out.

“People were always commenting on my pictures and on Twitter saying, 'We want the old J Molley' so I wanted to bring that back and bring that sound back," he says.

Prior to working on "Almost Dead", J Molley had been working on a separate project, his debut album, for a while.

Last year he set that aside and decided to record and put out "Almost Dead" in the interim, because he and his team want to drop an album and go tour around the continent with it.

"We were going to do an album last year but my whole breakdown sort of happened so we couldn't do it, so we just decided to drop this mixtape to explain to everyone where I've been and what's going on.

“And now we're going to be focusing on the album this year… I'm trying to go to different countries in Africa because I've got a lot of fans in Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, so my goal is to go on an African tour this year, to get the album out and just be on some more positive vibes," he says.

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