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“Hi Ren” Brings the Inner Demons out in the Open

Photo credit: static dive

Our sanctuary blog is often a place where you’ll find light, comfort, and tales of perseverance in the face of immense challenges. Today is no exception—but a warning: all of those familiar qualities are accompanied by one of the more vivid portraits of suffering we’ve shared with you.

“Hi Ren,” a 2022 masterpiece by Welsh musician Ren Gill, was an instant underground hit, racking up 7 million views in the first two months after its release in the United Kingdom. The song portrays the artist’s encounter — very nearly a fight – with his own dark side, in a back-and-forth duel of words and emotions. Ren, who has spoken publicly about his lifelong struggle with mental health and autoimmune disease, remarks that writing and performing “Hi Ren” was “not easy.”

That’s surely a huge understatement. As you’ll hear, the lyrics are brilliant and rapid fire. When Ren gives voice to that dark side, moreover, they become self-accusing, even lacerating. The roleplaying here is something to witness. You can’t doubt the wounded look that Good Ren shows when Bad Ren scores a hit.

But it’s Good Ren who has the last word. And it’s that hard-won faith in himself and willingness to be share his journey that make this song perfect for our community. Brace yourself and have a listen:

P.S. almost as moving as the song itself are the innumerable reaction videos of first-time listeners. Youtube will provide you as many as you could wish for.

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