Songs from beyond the grave

August 15, 2015 5:23 am 1 comment Views: 4
Labour of love ... Szymon’s family and friends have completed his debut album Tigersapp a

Labour of love … Szymon’s family and friends have completed his debut album Tigersapp after the young musician lost his life to depression. Pictures: Supplied
Source: Supplied

SOME days it is tough for the Borzestowski family to listen to Szymon’s music. Other times they play the songs on his debut album Tigersapp and feel joyous that his musical gifts are finally being shared with the world.

Szymon was 19 and on the verge of signing a record deal with EMI and releasing his songs when his struggle with depression prompted him to shelve the project.

He couldn’t face the prospect of finishing an album, having to promote it, let alone tour.

The preternaturally gifted musician focused on treating his illness and occasionally worked on his music but at 23, he took his life.

Szymon, Golden

His family, father Andrej, mother Anna, brothers Kubush and Dom and sister Eva, along with Mark Holland and Craig Hawker, the two men who found his demo tape and encouraged the singer to follow his musical dream, have finally finished the stunningly beautiful pop record which will be released on August 21.

Holland remembers the day they plucked his unsolicited demo tape of four songs sent in by Szymon’s father from a huge stack in the office. Record labels get hundreds of them a week and probably have the time to listen to only a handful.

The teenager, who had studied saxophone and clarinet, taught himself guitar and piano and then found his voice and talent for composition, had painstakingly crafted every note in his bedroom using rudimentary software and gear.

“I freaked out when I heard it in 2008. I rang straight away and found out he was 18 and at that time, travelling in Europe,” Holland said.

“We helped him get some better equipment with a development deal and across the next two years he would send us the songs as he finished them.”

Gifted musician ... Szymon taught himself to play most instruments and write his own song

Gifted musician … Szymon taught himself to play most instruments and write his own songs in his Newcastle bedroom. Pictures: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Szymon was meticulous about crafting his songs, bunkering down in his bedroom and feverishly labouring over every instrument, lyric and note he recorded.

His older brother Kubush and young brother Dom remember he started getting serious about music in his final year at high school and then devoted all his energies to writing and recording throughout the next year.

“He really discovered the passion for it the year after he left school. Mum told us the story that one day he came out of his room and said ‘I think I can write, I think it’s something I am gifted at’,” Kubush said.

His older brother said he had almost finished all the songs for the album when his mental health began failing.

“Music was something he loved so much and enjoyed and we have a lot of fantastic memories of him playing and creating music,” Kubush said.

“When he became unwell, it was harder for him to concentrate and focus on it. His battle with his health, the medicine and treatment as well, made it hard for him.”

Both brothers pause as they recall the pain of watching him struggle with depression.

“It’s a tricky illness, trying to know how people are thinking, how you can be a support,” Dom said.

“For me, it was some of the hardest times I have ever had to deal with. It’s incredibly tough to go through that and watch someone trying to deal with it. It’s heartbreaking.”

Young Newcastle singer songwriter ... Szymon lost his life to depression at the age of 23

Young Newcastle singer songwriter … Szymon lost his life to depression at the age of 23 and now his family have completed his debut album Tigersapp to share with the world. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

When Szymon died in late 2012, EMI had an album’s worth of songs ready to be finished. The family searched for other works in progress but they couldn’t unearth his hard drive.

With Holland and Hawker, they agreed there was enough of Szymon’s carefully crafted electronic folk-driven music which could be mixed and completed.

What the family want people to hear now is the beauty of his music, songs they say are full of “light and hope and love”.

“Hearing the music is difficult sometimes because we miss him so much. We hope it encourages other people, listening to the love and hope in it. Despite the battles and struggles we all face, music was a release for Szymon and out of this tragedy, hopefully it can inspire someone else,” Kubush said.

Szymon, Medusa

Holland believes Tigersapp has the potential to capture people’s hearts in the same way the posthumous albums of American singer songwriter Eva Cassidy swept the world four years after her death from melanoma in 1996.

“Szymon was just one of those artists who was so insanely talented we were floored by it. His music is so timeless,” he said.

“It would have been criminal for people not to be able to hear this music and it’s been heartwarming the songs are already finding their way out there through word of mouth.”

Tigersapp is released on August 21.

Please seek help if you are feeling depressed.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Lifeline 13 11 14

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