Licy Be released her new single Be the Change on Suicide Prevention Day last year. Inspired by her own struggle, it’s a powerful message about the importance of reaching out to people who are in pain. She told Alex about the people who reached out to her, and the miraculous ways God changed her life as a result.
‘I went through stuff when I was younger,’ she said, ‘particularly in high school. And I got to the point when I was 17 where I didn’t really want to be here anymore, and attempted to take my life.’
‘I’d been kicked out of school. I was working at a shop called the Warehouse, which is kind of like the Kiwi version of Target, except maybe a lot cheaper.’
‘This random dude came up to me, in the toys aisle, of all places, and he just started talking to me about his life. He was like, man, I used to be real depressed, and then God filled this gap in my life. I didn’t tell him, but I was like, I’ve got that gap. I know what that’s like. He had no idea that two weeks earlier, I’d just come out of hospital, from trying to take my life.’
He invited her to church. She thought of God as some kind of space creature in the sky, but she decided to go, partly because she thought he was cute, but mostly in hope of filling the gap they’d talked about. After the service, a stranger came up to her and said God had something to tell her. ‘I was like far out; it can talk?’
We could be the change for someone who needs it
‘God knows who you are. He knows where you’ve been, and that you’ve been hurt in the past by men. She shared a bunch of stuff that was so personal to me that I knew only God could have known.’
Needless to say, Licy Be was all sold out. As she puts it, she’s been ‘kicking it with Jesus’ ever since. But that’s not the end of the story. Three years later, her life was looking very different. ‘I’d been hanging out with God for a while now. Life’s gotten a lot better. I was going to university, doing all sorts of cool stuff.’
At a friend’s house one day, a woman arrived, said hi, and walked into the kitchen. ‘I started feeling my heart race, and my spirit inside me started saying prayers.’ What could that mean? She followed the woman into the kitchen and started talking to her.
‘It turned out that she was the nurse who had found me, when I had tried to take my life. And she had prayed for me, that I would come to know God. Literally two weeks later, I’d gone through that, come out of hospital, and met God.’
That nurse’s prayers, and the people who reached out to her at that crucial moment changed Licy Be’s life completely. She’s now dedicated to encouraging others to reach out and offer God’s love and hope to the people around us. We could be the change for someone who needs it.
As a teenager, Cass struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. Now, at 23, she has two acclaimed albums under her belt, and she’s been tapped by some of her favourite artists for collabs.
Most recently, she teamed up with Licy Be to release Be the Change in time for World Suicide Prevention Day. She caught up with Alex to talk about the song, and how God has changed her life.
Cass was in Australia on a school tour, talking to teenagers about mental health. Determined to help people like her, she is telling the story of her struggle, and encouraging kids to speak up when they’re hurting. ‘It’s ok not to have it all together,’ she said, ‘but as long as you talk to someone about it.’
She encouraged us to try to be aware of peoples’ feelings, and to take action when things don’t seem right, even if someone isn’t openly upset. ‘I remember in school, I was really good at hiding it,’ she said. ‘I would do things to try and get attention. Sometimes, when you look back, you can be, like man, there was something weird going on with this person.’
At her lowest point, Cass could never have believed the highs God would take her to. But for her, it’s not just about being famous and having people come to her shows. ‘That’s all good, and that’s fun. But it’s more about being, like man, if He did it for me, He can do it for you.’
In Be the Change, Cass and Licy Be draw on their shared experience to send a powerful message of hope. ‘She brought the idea to me of writing a song about it, mostly to do with not glamorising suicide, but talking in terms of what you can do about it, if you’re dealing with it. Because it’s a real thing, that teenagers, and even young adults are facing and dealing with.’
if He did it for me, He can do it for you
Alex asked her about her other recent collaboration, on Light Work with the 116 Clique. She said that living in New Zealand feels like being isolated from the rest of the music world. So when they asked her for a verse, she didn’t believe it at first. ‘I was like wait, is this a joke? Surely this can’t be 116. How do you know who I am? How did you find me?’
She could never have imagined as a child that she’d one day get to work with the rappers who comforted her and inspired her own career. ‘To even have their numbers, and just that relationship now, it’s crazy to me.’
But Cass is careful not to let her fame get in the way of what’s important. Her recent single, White Noise, is a warning to herself not to lose perspective. ‘Especially with what I do now, it almost seems like other peoples’ opinions and their voices can be louder than God sometimes.’
‘Do you mind if I sit right here?’ she sings, ‘cos when I’m with you there’s one thing that’s clear. All this white noise in my head dies down, cos your love drives out all fear.’
‘It’s comical,’ she said, ‘but it’s just like, sometimes I’ve got to turn my phone off. Sometimes I’ve got to stop talking to certain people, just to be, like, I’ve got to spend more time with God to get more clarity in the situation that I’m going through. That was the heart behind it.’
Licy Be and Cass’s Be the Change is out now. It’s a powerful anthem of hope, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you need to check it out. We’re also loving Cass’s new album, Not for Sale, which dropped last month.
If you’ve been affected by issues discussed in this article, you can call Lifeline, 24/7, on 13 11 14, or get in touch with Vision’s prayer team, on 1800 772 936.