Jack Antonoff, lead singer and songwriter of the Bleachers, lost his sister 15 years ago. Sarah Antonoff was just 13 years old when she died from brain cancer and, like many people who have lost a loved one at an early age, Antonoff thinks of his life in two parts: before her death and after. In a new interview with People, he shared how he copes with Sarah's death and the role songwriting has played in the healing process.
“Songwriting can be this tool to connect with people and talk about what you are going through,” Antonoff says. “There’s two parts of: the part that moves forward and the part that’s frozen. It’s very much a then versus now. For me, it’s 18 and younger, when my sister was alive.”
The 33-year-old musician also shared that he's struggled with anxiety and depression in the years since his sister's death, and says he's found solace in knowing he's not alone.
“I used to write from a very lonely place, like, ‘Here’s my story, this is it,'" Antonoff explains. "Now I’m writing from a place, like: ‘Well, everybody has that! Everybody’s got a then and now, and everybody’s trying to figure out how you not let go of the then but also not compromise the now.’ That’s the whole push and pull of this album.”
It's the inspiration for the moving track titled "Everybody Lost Somebody," a song about the grief and pain that nearly everyone experiences at some point in their lives.
“I talk a lot about loss,” Antonoff says of his new album. “Most of the stories that I talk about are 12 years old. Why am I still talking about them? How does that affect me now? It’s time to figure it out; it’s time to tell my story — who I used to be, who I want to be — and move on.”
Antonoff deserves major credit for opening up about his struggles with mental health issues and he says that, in addition to songwriting, therapy has helped a great deal. Although he suffered a devastating loss that no one should experience, Antonoff's music will undoubtedly provide comfort to others who are coping with similiar tragedies.
In addition to his work with The Bleachers, Antonoff is a versatile artist who has produced and written songs for pop artists including Sara Bareilles, Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, and Lorde. He's been in a relationship with actress, writer, and director Lena Dunham since 2012.