After Logic’s VMA Performance of “1-800-273-8255,” Calls to Suicide Prevention Hotlines Rose 50 Percent

The inspirational track is an emotional plea for survival that encourages listeners to fight for their lives, stay alive and overcome feelings of suicide.

Beyond his incredible performance, Logic defiantly took the stage to offer a few powerful words of his own (beginning at 3:49 in the video above):

“I just want to take a moment right now and thank you for giving me a platform to talk about something that mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about: mental health, anxiety, suicide, depression, and so much more that I talk about on this album. I don’t give a damn if you are black, white, or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight, I am here to fight for your equality. Because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally and that is why we must fight. We must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation.”

The song, which features rap newcomer Khalid and singer Alessia Cara, was released in April and appears on Logic’s third studio album, Everybody, that debuted in May. “1-800-273-8255,” which is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, has quickly become a huge driver of awareness for not only mental illnesses, but also other issues like domestic violence and discrimination. Since his VMA performance last weekend, the hotline has received some of the highest call volumes in its history.

Following his VMA performance, Newsweek had the chance to chat with the 27-year-old on Wednesday about his multifaceted raps and how he’s empowering people through his music:

What was the inspiration behind 1-800-273-8255?
I think it was the same thing that was the inspiration behind the entire Everybody album, because I take pride in creating albums. I’m not a single artist. But when I created this song I never thought anybody in the world was gonna play it on the radio; like really, you’re going to play a song about suicide on the radio? And I think it was one of those things where I’ve just been blessed enough to have an undeniable song that people needed and wanted, and [they] wanted to spread awareness so much that it became hopefully what it’s still becoming. I like to always do my best to make music catchy, so I think a very catchy melody is cool. But the fact that it does spread awareness is also something that’s really special. I think there’s a lot of people who may have never necessarily heard my name, but I think there are people that kinda more fuck with rap and hip hop and they’re like, “Oh yea Logic, cool cool cool yea cool.” But this song and whatever’s happening with it right now is really opening people’s eyes to then go and listen to the album as a whole and realize that there’s so much more than this. I have an entire song called “Anxiety.” I got a song about racism from every end. I got songs about being broke, being on welfare, being poor, Section 8. It literally goes on and on and I’m really excited and happy to know that a single, if you will, from [the album] is really shedding light on who I am and the message I spread as a whole.

When you first released the song in April the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline had its second highest daily call volume in its history, and after your performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday the hotline had about a 50% increase in calls. How does that make you feel?
That makes me feel so good, just because to know there are people out there that could be hurting or uneducated or not knowing of a place or people that they can talk to…it really makes me feel so happy to know that I’m using my platform to make an impact. And I hope that doesn’t sound extra, because it’s not about me. It’s about the message and it’s about the people. But just being a human, it really makes me feel special and makes me smile and get excited to know that there are people out there who are being helped or at least being given the opportunity to be helped and to help themselves because of a song that I made that was initially inspired by those people to begin with.

You don’t rap a lot about the party life and drug culture that seems to be really popular in hip hop these days. What’s the driving force behind that difference?
I think there’s a time and place. I have a mixtape called Bobby Tarantino and that is totally some turn-up shit, but the funny thing is that there’s still always an underlining message to it. I’m not trippin, like if you wanna smoke weed and you wanna drink and have a good time and have fun, that’s fine. We’re human. Enjoy yourself. You work hard every day, you deserve to turn up on the weekends with your friends. What I’m trying to establish is being the artist that when you wake up with that hangover after you were at the club and you’re looking for something to play, you’ll play real music like myself, from someone who’s gonna make you think about your life and your problems instead of trying to drown them away with drugs and alcohol. So for me, when I do trap music, it’s a fun release. It’s a fun outlet because I’m not serious all the time. I’m not the dude with the message. I’m a human being with different sides, different shades and different emotions, different feelings. One day I wanna tell the whole world I want them to be alive and continue to fight for themselves and whatever their dreams and ambitions are. And then another day I’m gonna be like, “Yo, let’s fucking turn up over this trap beat on some 2 Chainz shit because this is fun.” So I think the biggest thing is that my whole career they’ve tried to put me in a box, especially in hip hop. And I’m just gonna use my platform to spread a positive message but make whatever music however I want whenever I want. That’s the kind of goal for me.

What’s next for you?
I think what’s next for me is a celebration to all of this. My first few albums I did a lot of talking about myself. This album I’m talking about the people and everybody else. And I think whenever it comes—because I’ve been so overworked I haven’t even had a chance to begin working on new music—I think it’s going to be a celebration. I’m excited. I love to rap, but I do wanna make pop music. And when I say that I mean, like Michael Jackson and Adele and all those great culture artists. Sometimes I think there’s a misconception like pop music is bad music. That’s not what I mean. I wanna sing. I wanna play the piano. I wanna learn to do all these different things, transcend myself as best as I can. So I think what’s next is a lot of learning as a musician and a man and a lot of integrating that into the music. And at the end of the day, just having a good time, because, after an album like this that will live and be there, I think I should also give something to the people to lift their spirits as well and make them think but also have a good time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
ImAlive – Online Crisis Network
International Association For Suicide Prevention – Resources
The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
American Psychiatric Association – Finding Help
National Institute Of Mental Health
American Psychological Association – Psychologist locator