Avalon Stone Gets Real About Mental Health With Rock Anthem “Drag Me”

And now, some hard-earned wisdom from Avalon Stone: Personal growth is a bitch. Sometimes, you even have to be dragged into it.

The emergent rock sensation shares that message with a forceful authenticity that belies her 20 years on her third and latest single, “Drag Me.” In a three-minute confessional that’s harrowing yet positively habit-forming, Stone struggles to escape the darkest pits of her own mind—and to admit she may need to be carried out of there on somebody’s back.

I’ve gotta get up off of my knees
Feeling so surrounded in my doubt
The ghost of pressure makes it hard to breathe
Only I could drown while in a drought
You’ll have to drag me
You’ll have to drag me
Oh God, I wish there was another way

It’s a classic case of an artist’s natural eloquence as a writer being hoisted even further aloft by her innate talent as a performer. When that imploring chorus hits, Stone’s world-class, Fiona-Apple-on-steroids voice leans on the melody’s dramatic minor thirds like a car horn warning of an impending crash, playing against a descending guitar-and-bass riff, thanks to Caleb Bourgeois and Donovan McKinley, that tumbles downward through the blues scale with the literal gravity of a million dreams hurtling straight toward the floor.

As profoundly listenable as it is emotionally raw, “Drag Me” is destined to be taken to heart by anyone who knows the realities of mental exhaustion and the other pitfalls on the long and arduous road to emotional wellness. It just might be the new national anthem for a legion of listeners who feel pushed to their limits and realize they need to get help, loathe though they may be to accept it.

And Stone knows whereof she sings. Already a veteran of the band scene in her native Kitchener-Waterloo by her late teens, she made the daring decision to forgo a university education to pursue a full-time career as a solo artist. Combined with many other challenges brought on by the pandemic, what resulted was a bout of deep uncertainty and stagnation, compounded by intense social anxiety and imposter syndrome. It all left her feeling creatively paralyzed and unable to move forward.

The turning point came when her mother and manager told her daughter she couldn’t and wouldn’t “drag” her, that following her dreams would only begin when she was ready. She wrote “Drag Me”, and her next single “Shaking Me Up”, that night. Reflecting on the inspiration behind the song, Avalon shares, “Writing ‘Drag Me’ was a turning point for me. It came from a place of real frustration and despair, feeling chained by my own fears. But it also marked the moment I decided to get help and take control of my journey, no matter how hard it seemed.”

Following Stone’s lived-in blueprint, each track she has released so far for her upcoming album describes an in-between state, or a feeling of being “Chained” within a moment of personal tribulation. She previewed the motif on two previous singles: “Forget You,” a deceptively defiant-sounding portrait of someone hamstrung by a toxic relationship; and “Harder,” a mournful acknowledgment of the crippling effect depression can have while coming of age. Taken together, these three singles will combine with the other songs on Chained to form a compelling, emotionally resonant narrative arc that cycles through pain, resilience, and the pursuit of true freedom. A bracingly mature, profoundly introspective piece of rock songcraft, the record doesn’t flinch an inch in exploring the underlying themes of inner darkness and hoped-for liberation its creator knows all too well.

The blood, sweat and tears Stone put into the project are already paying off in spades. “Forget You,” her recorded debut, is an international hit that’s logged more than 90,000 streams. What’s more, writing the full album (and part of the next one) has been great for her personal development. Writing “Drag Me” not only helped her breakthrough her creative block, but also led her to enroll in a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program to focus intensely on her mental health and build a foundation for the challenging road of following musical dreams. Now she’s using her experiences as both inspiration and a grounding force in her career, presenting herself as a kind of creative avatar for the resilience a person needs to pursue their passions despite all the obstacles the world throws in their way.

And in a true sign that she’s going to be an industry force to be reckoned with, Stone has already shown a communal mindedness some artists take decades to develop. While she was still in the process of

getting her own act together, she founded the nonprofit Music For Mental Health Canada, which raises awareness, fosters community support, and generates funds for mental-health causes. To date, MFMHC has raised over $7000 for related charities. This year, the organization will put on two live shows in four markets: Rock-Her Road Fest, a festival of female- and female-presenting musicians; and the 2024 edition of Rock The Halls, an annual platform for local musicians to perform originals and custom arrangements of holiday songs.

Have your calendar and a big red pen ready for when those dates drop. You’re going to want to be there—even if you have to drag yourself.
“Drag Me” is now available across all streaming platforms, highlighting her unique ability to blend intense emotion with powerful rock dynamics. With it, Avalon continues to build her reputation as a formidable force in the alt-rock world. Fans and new listeners alike can expect a year of compelling music and deep, resonant stories from Avalon Stone, as she prepares to release more from her highly anticipated album.