David Byrne has been more than a “musician.” For years as the Talking Heads‘ focal point and dynamic lead vocalist, he and his band pushed the envelope of what a musical group can be, and what being an “entertainer” can fully encompass.
This has continued well into his solo career and, lately, his American Utopia tour — a richly innovative visual experience that extends to a Broadway run this fall.
Byrne’s latest endeavor? An online publication titled Reasons to Be Cheerful, which was announced over the weekend and aims to be just that: a means of coming together to discuss and, hopefully, solve some of the world’s biggest questions and concerns of the time.
Per the news release, Byrne’s site “will publish stories detailing real changes with measurable impact that are meant to inspire and uplift, written and edited by professional writers and experts in their fields.”
Here’s a bit more insight and some words from Byrne himself about the project:
Originally started as a sort of therapy project for himself, this relaunch sees RTBC reinvented as a publication covering health, culture, science and technology, climate and energy, economics, urban issues and civic engagement. Reported, evidence-driven stories will be complemented by personal essays detailing real-life experiences. New stories will be published regularly, with a plan to expand into other mediums including video, podcasts, live events and more.
Byrne says of Reasons to be Cheerful’s origin and evolution:
It often seems as if the world is going straight to Hell. I wake up in the morning, I look at the paper, and I say to myself, “Oh no!” Often I’m depressed for half the day. I imagine some of you feel the same.
Recently, I realized this isn’t helping. Nothing changes when you’re numb. So, as a kind of remedy, and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news. Not schmaltzy, feel-good news, but stuff that reminded me, “Hey, there’s positive stuff going on! People are solving problems and it’s making a difference!”
I began telling others about what I’d found.
Their responses were encouraging, so I created a website called Reasons to be Cheerful and started writing. Later on, I realized I wanted to make the endeavor a bit more formal. So we got a team together and began commissioning stories from other writers and redesigned the website. Today, we’re relaunching Reasons to be Cheerful as an ongoing editorial project.
We’re telling stories that reveal that there are, in fact, a surprising number of reasons to feel cheerful — that provide a more optimistic and, we believe, more accurate depiction of the world. We hope to balance out some of the amplified negativity and show that things might not be as bad as we think. Stop by whenever you need a reminder.