THE MAN I WANT TO BE
Hailing from Oldham in Manchester, Stuart Wolfenden is a well-known actor and singer who has a 36 year career appearing in many shows and films such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Making Out, Clocking Off, Fat Friends, Blue Murder, Accused, Years and Years, The Virtues, Hollyoaks and the cult-award winning film Dead Mans Shoes where he played the iconic role of ‘Herbie’.
Alongside Stuart’s successful TV, Theatre and Film career, he has always had a passion for singing and DJ-ing and started singing in bands in his teens and in 1992 he released the single ‘Too Many People’. He appeared up and down the country on many radio stations and performed a live session on Dr Fox’s Capital Radio Show.
Fast forward to 2019, Stuart and his friend, the musician-songwriter Darren Reece Lamberton planned to collaborate and record an album which turned out to be an eclectic collection of 9 songs called ‘Songs FromA Common Man’. The album was recorded at Lisa Stansfield’s private studio Gracieland where it was engineered and produced by Stephen Boyce Buckley.
The first official single release from the album is ‘The Man I Want To Be’ which is about the struggles with mental health. If the ongoing pandemic has provided us with anything, other than a relentless pursuit of freedom,it has perhaps unwillingly allowed us a greater insight into our own mental health as well as others, which has finally been allowed into the forefront of discussions without becoming a taboo subject. As a grown man growing up around similar likeminded men, we just simply did not allow ourselves to become emotional. To talk about our feelings, and any issues that may arise were not matters to talk about. We brushed them under the carpet to our own detriment and overall wellbeing.
Unfortunately, most of us have experienced problems arising from mental health. Whether it be ourselves or a loved one, there are a plethora of people suffering each day and the majority of those inflicted, do so in silence with family and friends unaware of the seemingly never ending internal struggle.
Fortunately, we live amongst an age of information and creativity, with help, advice and outlets available to allow ourselves the support and treatment needed to find ourselves in a better place. Within our escapist requirements, music, since it has been from the start of times provides us with a creative outlet as an artist or as a listener to bring about some joy and pleasure from the troublesome thoughts than can easily overwhelm us.
“The Man I Want To Be’ is a sombre glimpse into a deteriorating mind and the thoughts of taking ones own life. It’s a stark reminder of the fragility of our minds, especially among men who seem to allow these potentially dangerous thoughts to manifest themselves and not seeking help or advice to cope and confront ourselves.
“Is this the day when you take my soul” is an almost heartbreakingly, intimate look into everyday understanding behind someone wishing that the day they wake up may be their last and almost wishing that it was. Stuart’s emotion and an almost mournful piano collectively allows us to feel the anguish and suffering one experiences whilst hiding this from others. A poignant thought that possibly most have experienced at some point throughout their life.
It takes a brave artist to tackle such a crucial issue and Stuart displays a determined courage in using his musical talent to bring this to the forefront of our minds,and not allowing us to forget how easy it is for someone to slip into a place where dark thoughts hound them at every corner. With dark moments there is always light and it’s easy to say ‘Be Kind’ but those two words could very much be the difference between life and death to a person someday.
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Words by JUSTIN AYLETT
Photo credits – Stuart Wolfenden