In this “On Purpose” episode, Jay Shetty welcomes rising music starlet Nessa Barrett.
Earning accolades as one of Billboard’s “21 under 21” twice and being featured on the watchlist of 25 breakthrough artists in 2022, Barrett has accumulated 1.4 billion global streams. Her new EP, Hell is a teenage girl, embodies her challenging and transformative journey from a small town in New Jersey to international stardom.
“Hell Is a Teenage Girl”
Barrett discusses with Jay Shetty her upcoming 21st birthday and the emotional transition from her tumultuous teenage years. While she is slowly healing from past trauma, the process is long and often daunting. She opens up about the trials of adolescence, including the struggle of identity formation and the pressures from society and family, resulting in an often misunderstood period of life.
Echoing Barrett’s sentiments, Jay Shetty opens up about his rebellious adolescence. During that time, he fought societal pressures to fit in and be ‘cool,’ often leading to self-disrespecting actions.
At 17, Barrett dared to run away from home, driven by her unwavering ambition to be a singer in California. She describes her departure as a risky leap of faith, marking it as an uncharacteristic decision influenced by a higher power.
Despite her severe anxiety and the fear of the unknown, Barrett boldly embarked on her journey with only the limited funds she earned from her unexpected social media popularity. Social media, for her, became a lucky launching pad that would help propel her to the fame she had dreamed of.
Barrett opened up to Jay Shetty about her childhood, filled with bullying, a lack of genuine friendships, and familial difficulties. These struggles fueled her desire for a better life. Her intense ambition drove her to challenge societal norms, leading her to rebel against the expectation of attending college and pursuing a traditional 9-to-5 job.
Her teenage experience, represented in the form of her EP Hell is a teenage girl, encapsulates the raw and unfiltered struggles of young adulthood.
Reconnecting With Family
Nessa Barrett shared with Jay Shetty more insights into family connections, the weight of fame, and the power of therapy. The singer openly discussed her complex relationship with her family and her decision to run away at 17. She moved to California to kickstart her music career, leaving her family behind in New Jersey.
Barrett revealed, “I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my parents. But my mom, she’s always my mom. And I loved her dearly, and I always will.” Despite the differences, her relationship with her parents has improved, thanks to hypnotherapy. This form of therapy helped her unlock and address traumatic experiences from her past, and it was instrumental in restoring her relationship with her father.
Being in the limelight has also brought challenges. Barrett admitted to Jay Shetty that despite the adoration of her fans, she often feels isolated. She described how she’d perform for thousands of fans and then return to an empty hotel room. This stark contrast often made her feel lonely.
Jay Shetty noted that many musicians struggle with the loneliness of being on the road. He suggested that these struggles are part of the package, not a personal weakness. Yet Barrett believes dealing with these difficulties is worthwhile if she can continue to do what she loves and help others through her music.
Living With Anorexia
Jay Shetty asked Barrett about her living with anorexia, particularly within a high-pressure career. The singer emphasizes the relationship between career stress and personal mental health, stating, “It’s hard. But I feel like I’d rather deal with this, and the struggles that come with this, than having to do something that I don’t love and be unhappy with my life.”
Barrett shared with Jay Shetty the difficulties faced by individuals with eating disorders. Her relapse during her tour was a wake-up call. It showed her how the eating disorder could hinder her passion for music. The pressures of performance, body image insecurities, and societal expectations are all part of her ongoing battle.
Moreover, Barrett raises awareness about the diverse presentations of anorexia, underlining that it manifests differently for everyone. She urges the listeners to approach individuals with eating disorders with love, support, and patience rather than rushing to give advice or assuming they know what would help.
The singer underscores the importance of having difficult conversations about mental health. She advocates for increased understanding and empathy towards those struggling with disorders like anorexia, reminding listeners that “recovery is not linear” but rather a long process that demands patience and love.
8 Stages of Breakups
Nessa Barrett opened up to Jay Shetty about breaking up, the different stages, and how public breakups differ from private ones. She describes public breakups as significantly harder due to media and public opinion involvement.
“I’m dealing with the grief of a relationship and losing someone that I love so dearly…on top of that, having to do with hundreds of 1000s of people talking about it as well, saying things that aren’t true, saying things that are hurtful, putting their two cents in it being very insensitive towards the whole thing, not really understanding,” Barrett told Jay Shetty.
The singer came up with the idea of eight stages of a breakup. The concept surfaced after she completed her EP. When listening through the tracks, she realized that they seemed to represent the different stages of a breakup. This idea added a new level of depth to her music and resonated with her audience.
The ‘desperate stage’ of a breakup is what Barrett finds to be the hardest, describing it as the stage where you’re willing to do anything to keep the person in your life, often hurting yourself more in the process. “You just want them in your life that you’re willing to do whatever it is to keep them in your life somehow, even though it hurts you,” she shared with Jay Shetty.
Re-Learning About Yourself
Jay Shetty and Nessa Barrett discuss the difficulties of recovering from the end of a relationship, particularly codependency, and how to overcome the ensuing heartbreak.
Barrett shares her experience dealing with the loss of a person she relied on emotionally. She states, “Every time I dealt with something that was hard for me…I couldn’t help but want and crave that person because I was used to having them during those times.” This feeling, she explains to Jay Shetty, resulted in a prolonged struggle to overcome her codependency and embrace her own company.
Barrett credits therapy as a significant help in her healing process. She decided to take time for herself to heal before going back out into the world. This focus on self and personal interests allowed Barrett to understand her identity and priorities better, lessening the blow of her breakup.
Jay Shetty emphasizes the difficulty many face in maintaining hope and self-esteem following a breakup. Barrett also admits to having struggled with feelings of worthlessness and fear of never finding love again. However, she eventually reached a point where she no longer cared about being in a relationship. Instead, she decided to prioritize her self-love.
Therefore, Barrett encourages listeners to look internally and cultivate self-love, as it helps in being alone and moving on from the desire for a relationship. She believes this mindset ultimately leads to healing from heartbreak.
Jay Shetty and Nessa Barrett touched on the concept of self-love and the importance of self-healing. The singer believes that understanding her younger self has helped her discover attributes to love and be proud of. She emphasizes that self-love needs to be deep-rooted because we know ourselves more profoundly than anyone else.
Nessa Barrett developed an innovative ‘burn box’ concept she uses at her concerts. She invites fans to write down their struggles and watch them be burned on stage, symbolizing a release of their pain. This resonated deeply with her fans, creating emotional and memorable experiences. She desires to further involve her fans in her shows by letting them share their stories.
Barrett explains how her honesty with those around her about her struggles has helped create a robust support system. As advice to aspiring artists, she encourages them to stay true to themselves and not to lose sight of who they are amidst outside influences.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Nessa Barrett ON How to Overcome Loneliness & 8 Ways to Heal From A Breakup” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.