20-years-old singer/songwriter Briana Cigna shares her story of prospering through trauma with her music. Originally published May 2021.
Throughout our lifetime, we all experience transitional periods of growth. Whether advancing another grade in school or working hard to achieve a goal, experiences that we face on our journey build character.
In the animal kingdom, no animal represents that better than frogs. Along with symbolizing personal growth, frogs are also omens for wisdom, prosperity, cleansing, and beauty from within.
When I first met Briana Cigna, better known as BRIMUSIC, the first thing that I noticed was the matching frog earrings that she was wearing. After having time to chat with the 20-year-old from Waldwick, New Jersey, it was clear that her earrings were more than a fashion statement but symbolic of her journey.
"I wanted to talk about the reality of mental health and my struggles," said Cigna. "Talking about those voices in my head and understanding that those voices will always be there. I don't have to give in to them."
Releasing her song, “Voices,” this past March, Cigna wanted to make a track detailing her struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a condition that affects over 3 million people in the US every year and affects relationships due to the instability of emotions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, BPD is characterized as “an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.”
Also coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Cigna also includes affirmations and tips on dealing with mental health in the song’s lyrics.
The cover art, designed by her boyfriend, Matthew Schorling, features Cigna, donning a “third eye” in a cartoon form meditating on a cloud. On her cloud, there are healing crystals, a box of Tarot cards, and incense smoke coming out of a purple pyramid.
Cigna is donating 15% of merchandise revenue to the National Suicide Prevention hotline. Her merchandise includes shirts, masks, hats, and phone cases. Cigna also started a fundraiser in the bio of her Instagram page for Mental Health America to help fight against the stigma of mental disorders.
"If I’m going to make any money from the song, I want it to be going to a cause that helps fight against what I’m talking about in my songs,” Cigna explained. "I wished I had someone fighting for me, so I think it's important to fight for other people."
Growing up in what she described as a “toxic environment,” Cigna found her escape in performing in school talent shows, drama club, and taking guitar lessons. As a result of her childhood trauma, Cigna struggled with interacting with other kids in school. That struggle would ultimately result in Cigna dropping out of high school in her senior year.
“I was toxic and abusive to other people growing up unintentionally because of the environment that I grew up in,” Cigna said. "I blamed a lot of my trauma on the way I acted towards people instead of taking a step back and finding better ways to cope with it that are healthier than damaging other people.”
Besides meditating (preferably outdoors), and wearing crystals, writing and recording “Voices” was therapeutic for Cigna. After going through a period of developing an eating disorder and feeling suicidal a year ago, Cigna remains optimistic about treating her mental health.
"It is probably the most healing process of my life. It opened up a lot of trauma that I thought I faced but didn't. The song helped me find more of an understanding of what I was going through. I got to understand myself better."
Soon, Cigna plans on expanding her growing music career. With one follow single, “Better,” released this May and another single in development, Cigna hopes to continue bringing her true emotions to her artistry.
"Music is a connection that brings people together. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've been through: everybody can relate."
Connect with Briana Cigna on Instagram @briimusic_. Listen to her music on Apple Music and Spotify.
Photo credit Phillip Hammond