William Fitzsimmons tells me his new song “Beautiful Girl” is an encouragement to those who suffer anorexia. It’s hits close to home, considering he’s “one of the few and the unproud” 5-10% of males who suffer from the eating disorder. “Psychasthenia” also touches on “one of my other personal diagnosis,” obsessive compulsive disorder. “I love going as deep as I possibly can,” Fitzsimmons says.
Exclusive premiere: William Fitzsimmons 'goes deep' on 'Beautiful Girl' music video
Our extensive interview with the songwriter on new album 'Gold in the Shadow'
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The 30-something singer-songwriter’s 2006 album “Goodnight” is a painful recount of his parents’ divorce, and 2008’s “The Sparrow & the Crow” turned its focus on his own.
William Fitzsimmons is kind of a chronic over-sharer. But that’s his charm, what draws people in, in addition to music being a his own healing force. His latest set is described thusly: “’Gold in the Shadow’” is based on a specific set of psychopathological disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV).” Heady stuff, but keep in mind that before Fitzsimmons was writing songs, he was a licensed psychotherapist; he agrees partially that people who work to heal others are trying to heal themselves.
“[‘Gold in the Shadow’] is trying to web the two of them, the counseling and the songwriting,” he says. “But these songs are more of a result of getting help –therapy -- than it was just writing and singing about my problems.”
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He explains that his “divorce records” were cathartic at first, but over the course of a couple of years, “You don’t give yourself the chance to stop thinking about it. My ex told me at one point, ‘Be careful, you’re gonna get to the point where you feel like sh*t. And she was right.”
“I wanted to scare people a little bit with ‘The Sparrow & the Crow,'” he says matter-of-factly.
The album isn’t scary in any traditionally dissonant, noise-muck sense; but Fitzsimmons’ eerily serene whisper is like keen phantom to those who have endured heartache, the rolling strains of acoustic guitar working in tandem with the lyrics of a broken man.
But don’t feel too bad for William. He’s found love again, and this new collection of songs expands on the healing process, rather than the hurt.
“I needed to be depressed. But that’s what I think I needed… I have very bold reminders of what happens when you leave the path of trying to be a good person and I’m thankful for it,” he says. “I’ve asked myself, If I get mended and if I deal, am I gonna be able to write songs that hit people as hard? That’s the most ridiculous thing. If I don’t write about my successes, that’s not being honest. Honesty is a better muse than sadness. I think joy can be a great muse too. But God help me if I start writing songs about puppy dogs and rainbows.”