Mental health has always been a sensitive issue – especially in Asia, where a culture of “saving face” and “don’t ask, don’t tell” prevails when dealing with difficult subjects. But Filipino singer Coeli San Luis is not deterred by stifling old conventions.

The 26-year-old from Antipolo, a city just to the east of Metro Manila, who goes by the stage name Coeli, uses her folk-pop tunes to address mental health – and to reach out to people who might feel the same way. Her bright, experimental style lends itself well to her subject matter, bringing some levity to a serious subject.

Before Coeli was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression in 2018, she had struggled with her feelings throughout her teenage years, finding solace through songwriting.

“I thought I was overdramatising everything in my head,” she says. “With the stigma surrounding mental health, I thought that what I was feeling was invalid. But my songs – as I played them to myself – would tell me otherwise. My inner voice would somehow find its way through the music I created.”

Read More…