Blending Humor with Pure Depression: A Brett Newski Book Review


Over the last decade, Brett Newski has travelled the world as a touring musician. He’s been featured on NPR and Rolling Stone, supported acts such as Pixies and Violent Femmes, and his music has seen rotation on radio stations across the Midwest. His latest endeavor, however, involves a bit more than a few new songs.

It’s Hard To Be A Person: Defeating Anxiety, Surviving the World and Having More Fun was inspired by drawings Newski posted to social media several years ago as a humorous way to tackle his own anxiety and depression. He didn’t expect his audience to respond in a positive way, but the more they requested new drawings, the more he realized he was on to something bigger.

Seeing that positive feedback was the push he needed to try something new creatively, as he had been feeling the effects of long-term touring and pressure to be constantly releasing new music.

“Burnout had set in and I needed to do something other than music for a bit,” he said. “Touring and songwriting can be incredibly exciting missions, but after doing it awhile, I needed a new creative project that would challenge me and kick my ass in a new way.”

Despite the initial excitement of finding a new way to be creative, Newski found the process of creating a book to be incredibly taxing.

“Making the book was a long battle within my own brain,” he said. “It wasn't actually that much fun to make because it was so challenging. Unlike a music album, I made the book for others, not for me. Now I'm entering the fun part of the process where the book is done and I get to show it to people and tour it around the country.”

The Milwaukee native says that the city he calls home is a tremendous basecamp for a working artist. Between its affordability and proximity to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Milwaukee has been the perfect place to stay creative and stay relevant.

“If I would've moved to NYC or LA for the arts, I likely would've derailed my career by going broke and falling into the traps of comparison,” he said. “There are too many people and too much talent in those places, so it's easy to feel disposable and irrelevant.”

It’s Hard To Be A Person is Newski’s way of exploring how humor has been a form of therapy for him and hopefully can be to others. He shares this book with the world as a way to encourage readers to keep the conversation going.

His advice? Just stay in the game. Keep creating. Make good decisions and move on. Don't get hung up on any one thing for very long.