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Milwaukee musician Brett Newski continues to explore his creativity alongside his mental health journey

Brett Newski
By Aliza Baran for Milwaukee Magazine
Brett Newski

Milwaukee musician Brett Newski is known for being honest and transparent — both in his music and how he fills his time off stage. From his latest album Friend Rock to his book, It’s Hard to Be a Person, Newski has always shared his struggles with things like anxiety and depression.

In addition to music and being an author, Newski has added illustrator, painter and podcaster to his titles — constantly feeding a creative drive that he says he’s dedicated to.

Newski was featured in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine and reflects on his journey and career.

Newski never shied from addressing his mental health experiences in his music but began speaking openly about it in his book. "It was unexpected as to the feedback that I [got] from it," he says. "At the end of the day, that's way cooler than probably people liking your songs. Songs are therapy too and whatnot. But this is a more, serious, tangible mode of therapy."

One of the most tangible ways that Newski continues to explore his extensive creative outlets is by intentionally putting himself outside his comfort zone, like putting on a couple of sweatshirts and biking in the summer before jumping in a cold lake. "I don't want to do them. But then I get on the bike, and it feels amazing ... getting out the door is the toughest part," he notes.

For Newski, all the forms of art that he pursues are ultimately about connecting with people in an impactful way. "I think the the whole point of art is that it's like a human language," he says. "It's like you're trying to, you're speaking a code that kind of only humans understand."


Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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