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Melbourne Rapper Boler Mani Talks 'Miss Anxiety,' Creating Bangers, His Mental Health Journey + More

In January 2019, Loughlin sat down with Melbourne rapper Boler Mani. Listen for the stories behind Boler’s four biggest tracks, how he overcame his past on his mental health journey, and the four tips Boler has to keep physically and mentally healthy that work for him when he’s “in a slump.”

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Minds in Tune is an Australian radio program about the latest in mental health and music, featuring interviews with leading experts and rising artists. Every week, we cover some of the biggest stories in mental health and music from Australia and the world. Plus, the team dives deep into mental health topics to learn more, and interviews great guests. All this happens while we listen to Australia's favourite tracks and introduce you to new, undiscovered gems you'll want to put on heavy rotation.

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In 2021, we're cracking open our vault of amazing interviews! Hear the full conversations we had with our guests on the show so far, plus even more interviews that never went to air...

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Melbourne Rapper Boler Mani Talks 'Miss Anxiety,' Creating Bangers, His Mental Health Journey + More

In January 2019, Loughlin sat down with Melbourne rapper Boler Mani after the release of his breakout hit Miss Anxiety. The track went global, featuring in the soundtrack to the ABC TV soap The Heights in 2020 — also broadcast in the UK — along with other tracks from the producer.

Listen for the stories behind Boler’s four biggest tracks, how he overcame his past on his mental health journey, and the four tips Boler has to keep physically and mentally healthy that work for him when he’s “in a slump.”

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Transcript: The Boler Mani Interview

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

LOUGHLIN PATRICK: Welcome to Minds in Tune; it’s been a very long week since our last episode. The show is back in 2021 to revisit our interviews from our first series, sharing with you the best bits that had to be cut for time, and some conversations that never went to air. For the first interview in our series of real conversations, let’s go back to my chat with Melbourne-based rapper and producer, Boler Mani. Boler’s had a whirlwind two years since we caught up, with people streaming seven and a half thousand hours worth of the multitude of singles he released in 2019 and 2020. One of those singles was even featured in the soundtrack of the ABC TV soap series, ‘The Heights,’ a show which went international. That same single, Miss Anxiety, is what Boler skyped in to the Minds in Tune studio to talk about for our very first episode. That’s right, we were video calling before it was even cool, so let’s listen in on our conversation now. [Previous recording] Hey guys, welcome back. I'm Loughlin and you're listening to Minds in Tune, and today I’m here with...

BOLER MANI: Boler Mani.



LP: How would you describe yourself, Boler?



BM: I'd say I’m a pretty relaxed, happy person who's just here to- Just here to party, just here to dance, just here to have some fun.



LP: Pretty chill, yeah?



BM: Yeah.



LP: You've got a new song out at the moment, though, that I guess some people wouldn't describe as... as chill, called ‘Miss Anxiety.’ It's got a bit of a focus on mental health. How did it feel to kind of write about, you know, mental health and make a song about mental health?



BM: It's definitely a good way for myself to help cope with, you know, certain emotions that I would be feeling. Yeah, I don't know. Like turning like a negative emotion into a banger seems like my, personally, best way to cope with it. Especially because obviously I love making music, and getting my thoughts onto paper really helps with that as well. Yeah, just like, vibing out to something that you generally perceive as negative is kind of what I go for.



LP: Yeah. What made you think that this was the song where you were going to talk about mental health, though? Like, what made you kind of make that choice?



BM: I'm not sure. It was just kind of in the moment how I was feeling, you know? I think around when I started writing, I was just kind of, “You know, I'm just gonna write whatever I'm feeling right now.” So, it just started going on that. And then I decided I might as well turn the feeling into... just kind of like a being. So, it gave me more creative space to write, and I think it just kind of worked really well, with turning, you know, anxiety into an entity in terms of how I wrote; I think it just kind of worked, yeah.



LP: Okay, that's really cool. So, for those who are listening who are kind of struggling with mental illness, what would you want them to take away from the song?



BM: There wouldn’t be anything that I’d like them to take away. It's kind of a song that I think- You know, I would be happy if it helps people feeling like that, you know, cope. Help them cope with it, you know — vibe out to the feeling as well.



LP: So, you said that music is really good with expressing yourself, and writing down your thoughts and stuff. So, when you were kind of first getting into music, was that the thing that made you get into that?



BM: Not really, actually; that was a pretty recent thing. When I went into music, it was literally just because it was a lot of fun. And yeah, the way I felt while making music. And like, after making the songs, and then knowing that I did that, and being really proud of that. And sharing it with other people, and then they liking it. Like, it's kind of a mix of that.



LP: Was it kind of difficult to balance all the schoolwork and assignments with making all these bangers?



BM: Well, I've never really struggled with school too much; it's never really been a huge issue. And with making music it's- Making music is kind of my wind down time as well, just because it's a good way to relax after, you know, say doing three hours of homework or something.



LP: Yeah.



BM: I think that's kind of how I found the balance. Like having that as a video games replacement so I have to get all this homework done first before I can, you know, work on songs and stuff.



LP: Definitely for me it was a bit more like, “Oh great, I've got this homework done,” and then on to Netflix, but it's good to know that you're actually productive with your time. So, while all this music and stuff is going on, you kind of have a bit of a story with mental health.



BM: In high school, it’s generally been pretty good, and before high school I'm pretty sure I only felt happiness and anger. But year 7, you know, that was kind of rough, but I'm not gonna go into too much depth, but basically-



LP: Yeah, sure.



BM: I had pretty bad anxiety, but I didn't even know what I was feeling back then, you know? It was only a couple years ago when I realised what I was going through in Year 7, and, yeah, that was- that was kind of rough. But yeah, besides that it's been pretty good, especially recently.



LP: So, I guess, you didn't really understand what you were going through then, but now you're kind of coming full circle with this ‘Miss Anxiety.’



BM: In the second verse I kind of address, Year 7.



LP: Oh, okay.



BM: And, I think it was just me, kind of like, reflecting on Year 7 and what happened, and really just putting it into the past.



[MUSIC: MISS ANXIETY] you were scary in year 7 when we met / introduced by a friend / had to cope with the sweat / and i didn’t even know who you were back then / been confused by my head / pairing up with mr. dread / got my heart real low / had it beneath the floor / and with each new day had you ringing some more / now i’m banging hard to you / wrote a whole song bout you / just to hope that you go / or least let me grow



BM: Some of my closest friends are dealing with a lot of stuff at the moment, and our school has this wellbeing program, where people can just come in and talk about how they feel and stuff. I've never personally been to it, but from what I've heard it seems pretty good. So, yeah, our school definitely tries to have measures in place, yeah.



LP: I guess — even though you didn't understand what was going on with the anxiety — do you think that your friends and family were supportive?



BM: Well because of what was causing it, I couldn't actually talk to anybody about it, which was definitely the hardest thing for me, because I knew I had to do something about it. But I wanted to understand what I was feeling first. I couldn't talk to anybody about it, unfortunately, back then, so I just kind of had to like powerhouse through it. But I definitely recommend, you know, anybody, if you can just speak up about it, because it's really helpful to get it off your chest, for sure.



LP: If you were able to have talked to someone about it, do you think that would have helped?



BM: Oh, hundred per cent, yeah, definitely. Because they would have been able to give advice, guidance and all that. Definitely, for sure, yeah.



LP: Well, we've talked a lot about mental health, so let's go back to your music. Quite recently, you got this really big break with your songs being played on the radio, and being added to some Spotify playlists. So, how did it feel to reach those milestones after so many years?



BM: Feels great. Especially since the start of 2018 was when I was really like “I'm putting my mind to my music.” Because before that it was just me messing around — it was really just like a side hobby thing. Now it's like a really big focus. Yeah, it feels really good coming this far, starting at basically nothing. It feels great, yeah.



LP: So, one of those songs that's being played on the radio a lot at the moment is called ‘Dam I Got a Cold,’ but it's not your most recent song, so why do you think it's getting so many plays right now?



BM: It's just something different. There’s the qualities of, you know, mainstream stuff that you're used to hearing — those elements are still present. But you can tell, too, it’s really kind of a different song, and I think that's kind of what captures a lot of people. It's also just kind of a banger.



LP: After ‘Dam I Got a Cold,’ you put out ‘Madness,’ which also has not just you, but some other people on the track.



BM: I've made like a bunch of songs before with other people but none of the ones that are kind of like public on my name are those. But yeah. So I worked with them before and I just- I really liked their sound, I liked what they brought to the song, so I thought it would just be really fun to have them back on for another song. But actually, I sent them a completely separate, different beat for them to rap over, but I didn't feel that beat anymore. So I just- I didn't want to waste their vocals, so I put it on to ‘Madness.’



LP: Another of your songs that you were collaborating with other artists on was called ‘Coffee Break.’ Do you want to, kind of, take us through that?



BM: It was just like one day after school, I just picked up some chords and I was messing around with some autotune — freestyling melodies and stuff — and then I came up with the hook of ‘Coffee Break.’ I don't know, it just really resonated with me, so I kept going with that. And ‘o2 hit me up and wanted to do another song together, so I was like “Yeah, sure.” So I was working on this at the time, so I sent them over the beat, and they were also working on lyrics, so they laid down their verses. And the girl who sings the second hook, she also goes to my music class, and you know, of course she's like amazingly talented so I was like, “You have to get on this,” like, “Do anything!” And we actually recorded that in class during break time on my laptop.



LP: Oh, wow.



BM: Yeah, she brought her mic in and stuff and I just put it all together, structured it out a bit, and like just had a beat — had a vibe.



LP: Well definitely it all came together; I've listened to it — we're going to listen to it on the show — and it's an absolute banger. We also want to talk about ‘Super,’ which is also one of your most, kind of, popular songs, even though it was the first one that you properly released.



BM: My favorite line out of the song is probably “too busy hitting on the mirror.” It's a pretty accurate statement because like... kind of always looking at the mirror! But now, the beat was heavily inspired — and the hook — by Denzel Curry’s ‘Sumo,’ because when he dropped that, I was like, “This is like one of the hardest things I've ever heard in my life.” So I kind of wore his influence on my sleeve a bit on that song. But like, kind of the inspiration for that song, ‘Sumo,’ yeah.



LP: You play like a couple of gigs; a couple days after we're recording this interview you're gonna do another one. Is that one of the songs that you'll be playing at that gig?



BM: For sure, yeah, definitely.



LP: What's it like to kind of, play those kind of live gigs, where there's all those people in the room who are there for you?



BM: Oh it's... it's crazy. Because it's like, you know, it's pretty corny, but I agree with when people say that you get transported to a different world when you're up there. The energy that's bouncing off you and the audience is like- It's crazy, it's so much fun. And especially performing your own music, as well. Yeah, it’s- It’s crazy, it's such good energy, I love it.



LP: So you're planning to kind of, do some more this year?



BM: Yeah, definitely. I'm trying to do as many shows and gigs as possible this year, for sure.



LP: Yeah, well I'm sure definitely a lot of people will be looking forward to that. We've spent kind of, a lot of this interview talking about like, your past mental health experiences, your past songs, all that, but we do want to talk about your future as well. So now that you've put out ‘Miss Anxiety,’ what do you think's next?



BM: Just honestly- Just like, keep making my sound better. Keep evolving my, you know, songs — making sure I'm always getting better at stuff. Even just like, life in general — trying to stay healthy. Good- good body, good mind.



LP: Thank you so much for coming on the show, it's been great talking to you.



BM: I just want to say, you know, for anybody who is kind of stuck right now, my biggest three things is to drink plenty of water, exercise a lot, meditate, and eat good. Those are the main things that I stick to, and it's serving me well so far.



LP: Well, that's good, we'll definitely need to stick to that advice. Thank you for coming out and talking to us; we'll leave things there.



BM: No worries, thank you so much!



LP: That concludes my conversation with Boler Mani, you can stream or buy his tracks wherever you get your music, and his new single ‘Unsatiated’ will be released on the 17th of February. You can follow him on Instagram @bolermani. I’m Loughlin Patrick for Minds in Tune, keep up with the program by subscribing on your preferred podcasting platform. New interviews with rising music stars and mental health experts will be released weekly.