Everclear's Art Alexakis Recruits His Daughter to Play a Pivotal Part in 'Sing Away' Video (Exclusive)

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Stories of teen bullying and suicide led the frontman to write the powerful song, now getting a second life on Everclear's new album 'Live at The Whisky a Go Go'

It was four years ago when a 10-year-old broke the heart of Everclear frontman Art Alexakis.

"I had heard about this little boy who had a colostomy bag because of issues that he had been born with, and he had gotten bullied so bad that he went home and killed himself,” Alexakis tells PEOPLE quietly. “I mean, he was 10 years old."

The legendary singer, 61, goes on to repeat the number aloud again, as if the mere age of the little boy from Kentucky still rips him emotionally apart.

“As a parent, I don't see how you go on living,” says the founder, vocalist and guitarist of the alternative rock band best known for hits such as “Father of Mine,” “Santa Monica” and “Wonderful.” “I really don't know how you go on.”

And it was this story along with far too many other stories of teen suicide and bullying that led the California native to write the powerful song “Sing Away” back in 2019 for his first solo album Sun Songs. And it was on that album that the song lived until recently.

“When it came time to put out this live record, I wanted to record ‘Sing Away’ with Everclear, because it has always felt like an Everclear song,” says Alexakis of the bonus track studio version of the song that now includes the iconic sounds of his Everclear bandmates Davey French, Freddy Herrera, and Brian Nolan on their new live album Live at The Whisky a Go Go. “I wanted to do it really heavy. And so, we did, and I just love the way it came out. I was really stoked.”

<p>Ashley Osborn</p> Everclear

Ashley Osborn


Related: Everclear's Art Alexakis Reveals Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis: 'I Am Learning How to Be the New Me'

Hearing this new version of the song that speaks of the importance of allowing music to put a salve on the pain is something that certainly hits home for Alexakis, as he too have been open about the various demons that have followed him throughout his life.

“When I was a kid, I was raped and abused and beaten badly,” says Alexakis, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) following a car accident in 2016.  “And my brother died when I was 12 of an overdose. I learned to internalize and compartmentalize through the years, through all my drug abuse and my alcoholism until I finally got sober when I was 27.”

And while Alexakis says that sobriety gave him a new lease on life, the truth was that he "still acted like an addict and an alcoholic" until he became a father.

“I started seeing them grow up and I didn't want them to become like me,” says Alexakis of his now 31-year-old daughter Annabella and 15-year-old daughter Arizona. “So, the best way to do that is to not be like that. It's really that simple.”

<p>Ashley Osborn</p> Everclear

Ashley Osborn


And while Alexakis says he has always been very open with his daughters about his recovery, his drug abuse, and "just everything that's gone on in the past," he hasn’t always been able to protect his daughters from the pain that this world can inflict.

“My youngest daughter has experienced bullyism and went through a hard time during COVID,” he says. “She experienced anxiety, depression, all that stuff. It was just a rough time.”

But just like her father, she found a way out through music.

"[Arizona] just got into really heavy music, and instead of that taking her down a dark wormhole, it's like catharsis for her,” says Alexakis, who is currently on the road with his Everclear bandmates as part of a 30-date fall headlining tour featuring special guests The Ataris and The Pink Spiders. “She'll put on Rage Against the Machine or Lamb of God or something like that. And I get it. When I was younger, that made me feel better. Crank it up. It's loud and it's noisy, and if it pissed off people, even better.”

<p>everclear/YouTube</p> Arizona Alexakis in the "Sing Away" music video


Arizona Alexakis in the "Sing Away" music video

Coincidentally, Alexakis’ daughter Arizona now finds herself not only in a better place, but also in the music video for “Sing Away,” premiering exclusively on PEOPLE.

“[Video producer Brian Cox] didn't have a girl to play the role of the girlfriend,” Alexakis says of his daughter’s role in the heartbreaking and raw music video in which she plays the partner of the bullied teenage boy. “So, I said, what about my daughter? And I think she did an amazing job."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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Read the original article on People.