Artist Bryson Cole was in a dark place. Fresh off the release of his song “Stay Alive,” Cole felt lost, depressed, and alone. Yearning for an end to his desperation, he sat down and started writing letters to himself. At first, he just wanted to get all of his emotions out of his heart and onto paper. Then the letters started to morph into songs, and he was writing about more than himself. He was writing about his relationship to a higher power, about struggle, and about striving for peace amid pain. He realized the letters weren’t just about him; they were about all of us. Given recent events, his new work is even more resonant.
Cole’s new 12-song album Letters to Myself, out now, is the result of these searing writing sessions. The artist has a knack for thoughtful lyricism, acting as both poet and empath. He doesn’t stray away from discussing mental health, something he alludes to in “Lonely,” “Alone” and “The Other Side.” His collaborators gravitate to him and his ability to share the complexity of the human condition in simple terms.
Watch the trailer for “Elevate”
“Bryson has lyricism that transcends the medium that you find him in,” says rapper Kolton Pierce. “His music is made to be an experience that you apply to your life.”
The album allows listeners to embody Cole’s journey as their own. In particular, the single “Elevate” offers a glimpse at the album’s unique, uplifting power. Cole crafted the lyrics while he was, in his words, “at rock bottom.” The song isn’t just lyrically profound; it’s an anthem for hope that, like the album, conveys a much- needed message that you, too, can rise victorious.
“Letters to Myself provides a soundtrack for people’s lives,” Cole says. “The album can be helpful to people who are in a dark place and wanting to rise victorious. Its a hip-hop album about the journey from pain to peace. It is not a project that offers a solution to depression, but rather a testimony, and one written to provide hope for others.”
Cole’s new work is especially meaningful in the wake of COVID-19 and more violence from police. Before the pandemic, the rapper had five shows lined up across Texas, and was working on a soundtrack and animation for a new Netflix series. Now, all that is on hold, and he’s throwing all of the support he can behind justice for George Floyd. All of the Letters to Myself pre-sale proceeds will directly benefit George Floyd’s family’s GoFundMe and The Bail Project. “Letters to Myself couldn’t have come at a better time,” he says. “This album exemplifies the peace I found, and the peace I want for others.”