Many know what it’s like to be in an unhealthy relationship. Many have dealt with family issues. Many have had suicidal thoughts, even if they never planned to act on them.
Rachael Nemiroff, a singer/songwriter in Nashville, knows those feelings and decided to be open and honest about her experience when she co-wrote “Secrets.”
When co-writers Beni Cowart and Nick Schwartz met with Nemiroff and heard what she had gone through, the subject of the new song was obvious.
“When I was processing a lot of what had happened, I just remember one night not wanting to really live anymore,” Nemiroff recalled. “It was the first time I had suicidal thoughts.
“Literally, I remember looking online, needing to get some help [and thinking] maybe I need to check myself into some kind of treatment center.
“I consider myself a pretty optimistic, joyful person,” Nemiroff said. “I don’t deal with depression or anxiety on a day-to-day basis.”
It was only during the years of the pandemic in 2020–21 that “pretty traumatic things” happened in Nemiroff’s life.
The night she was so low emotionally, she ended up texting a friend who helped her talk through what happened in the failed relationship.
Though her friend supported her through that crisis, the depression lingered.
Friends and family helped, and she went to therapy, eventually processing the difficult time.
However, the experience fueled her passion to help others, Nemiroff said. By the time she got to that co-writing session, she was ready to share what happened.
“It was such a beautiful moment to be able to come together with them and write an honest song,” she recalled.
“I feel like sometimes in Christian music it’s very easy to just glaze over things. It’s really beautiful seeing God use this song, getting on some pretty big playlists. … My other co-writer said that’s what happens when you write an honest song.”
“It’s not always done in my genre,” Nemiroff acknowledged, “because I think it can be scary wondering how other people might receive it.
“I get it. It’s scary to put yourself out there. It is very scary to be vulnerable and be like, ‘Hey, I didn’t want to live anymore,’ because sometimes that can bring a type of attention you don’t want.”
Pursuing a dream
Nemiroff has loved singing since she was young. Her mother encouraged her to pursue her dream, and when times were hard, her mom was her cheerleader.
Nemiroff moved to Nashville when she was 18 but wasn’t sure where it would lead.
“If I could go back and tell myself something, I would say to keep going,” she said.
“There’s probably gonna be a lot of doors that might close on you. But don’t let that discourage you from listening to that still, small voice that says, ‘You’ve got this.’ Try to be as authentically ‘you’ as you can and just be careful of who and what you’re letting speak into your life, especially at pivotal points.”
Before Nemiroff was offered a contract that led to writing “Secrets,” she planned to enroll in a graduate program to become a licensed therapist.
She asked God to give her a sign this was what He wanted. Feeling a peace about signing the contract, she dropped out of the graduate program the day before it started.
That same desire to help others by becoming a therapist assisted her in getting past her fear and vulnerability to write “Secrets.” She said she loves connecting with fans, hearing the stories of those who listen to her music and knowing its impact. The hope-filled accounts she hears validate her decision to sign the music contract.
‘He hasn’t left us’
Nemiroff’s main goal for her music is to encourage those “battling silently.”
“I got through this. We need to talk about these things because it takes the power away from it the more we open up and share,” she noted.
“Also, God is literally there with us in these moments. He hasn’t left us. He’s not ashamed of us dealing with these things.
“It’s OK to reach out and ask for help and to acknowledge that, ‘Hey, this is what I’m feeling right now,’” Nemiroff said, “and starting, at least for me, to lift that shame. I remind myself that I am human. It’s okay because the more that I try to hide things and keep them secret, it piles up.
“My hope is that people can hear [‘Secrets’] and know that they are seen and they’re not alone and we really are in this together,” Nemiroff affirmed.
“This isn’t going to last forever. We all have our stuff — whether [it’s] things that we’ve done in the past that we’re not proud of [or] things that have happened in the past to us that were traumatic that were never our fault.”
Nemiroff released an alternate version of the song in May supporting Mental Health Month.