Derek Hough released his first original single on Wednesday, November 1, with quite the message. Partnering with the Movember Foundation, he dropped “Hold On,” a song and music video about suicide prevention.
“When I was thinking about releasing the song, it was important for me to partner up with an organization that has guidance and programs for suicide prevention, which is why I’m working really closely with Movember,” Hough told Us Weekly in an exclusive interview. “Initially, I thought they worked with men’s cancer and the mustache campaign. What I learned, what was fantastic, was that they really focus on this area, year round, globally, so it was a wonderful partnership.”
Watch Hough’s music video above and read the full Q&A below:
Us Weekly: You wrote this five years ago?
Derek Hough: I kept it to myself. It came on my car playlist not too long ago. I felt inspired to re-record it and make a video so that I could talk about this issue since it’s close to my heart. There’s people dealing with mental health. There’s a stigma surrounding that and the more we talk about it, the less of a stigma it becomes. We can encourage people to talk about it, especially men. Three out of four suicides are men. It’s surprising to learn, but that correlation with how high that number is with the mindset of keeping things to yourself, and carrying this burden. I just wanted to talk about it.
Us: Suicide has directly impacted your family in the past. How was their reaction to the song and video?
DH: It happened a long time ago in my life, but with recent events with public suicides — Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington — it kind of resurfaced everything. Those are the ones you hear about, but there is one happening every minute. It’s devastating. My family is very supportive and encouraging. I wanted to do something in a positive way and try to get something out there. Being a part of the Invictus games and seeing what they go through, like PTSD, not all wounds are visible. It really struck a cord with me. We keep a lot of things hidden, and it’s important to talk about. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. We need to be there for each other more than ever.
Us: What was doing the video with Kayla Ewell like?
DH: She was incredible. When I asked her, she immediately said “Yes” because she lost somebody in her family just in December. It was an amazing process. It was very emotional. At the end of the day, one of our set designers came up to me with tears in his eyes and just said, “Thank you so much for this project. I tried to take my life a month ago. I’m so glad that I’m here.” I hugged the guy. It’s just more common that we think.
Us: Are you working on an album now?
DH: There will be future music for sure but for me it’s about doing whatever is current in my life, and what’s important to me and what’s authentic … and for different reasons. This one is a more meaningful reason, sometimes as a performer, it’s just for fun. There’s a dance concept video coming out for this coming out November 11. It’s around this boy who lost his father when he was 11 years old. He’s now 21 years old. He’s a beautiful dancer and his story is absolutely heartbreaking. His father told him, “You’re gonna go to school and I’m not gonna be here when you get back.” That story devastated me.
Us: Your overall theme seems to be moving people.
DH: I’m here to serve — whether it’s fun entertainment or more meaningful, that’s my purpose. Motion equals emotion. That’s a motto I live by. When you move your body in a physical way, it moves you emotionally. We’re so still in our bodies. We’re driving a car, or traveling, or sitting down watching TV. We’re very still in our bodies, but we’re very busy in our minds. If we reversed that, if we were physically staying active, then our minds can become still. That’s the formula I believe in. I just now thought: we were meant to move, that’s why they call it movement! There you go! I just came up with that!
Us: What is it that moves you daily?
DH: Music for me is one of the quickest ways to get myself in a positive, good place. I think it’s also, about being conscious about it. I am like, “I want to have a great day.” I don’t want to leave it to chance or think “I hope today is a good day.” I don’t want to hope, I want to make sure of it. That’s just part of the things I do. One of them is listening to something positive — a talk or a song or a speech I was inspired by, something that gets me to my place. You have to stand guard of your mind. There’s so much information out there and if you’re not careful, you’re gonna be hijacked by these stories. It kind of takes over, so you’ve got to be careful. For me, I just want to make sure that what I put in there is going to serve me and not do a disservice.
Us: Your album has to be called The Movement.
DH: The Movement: Meant to Move. If I said that to my buddies, they’d be like you’re so cheesy and I would say, “Yes I am! I’m proud of it. I love it!”
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