3 years after his death, this songwriter is getting rave reviews worldwide.
One family's search for closure after their son's death resulted in extraordinary art.
When he was 23, singer-songwriter Szymon Borzestowski died by suicide after years of depression.
Five years earlier, the Australian singer caught the attention of music industry professionals Mark Holland and Craig Hawker after his father mailed a demo to the record label EMI's offices. Holland and Hawker fell in love with the demo and worked to sign Szymon to a development deal.
But the following year, Szymon shelved his record-in-progress to address his mental health. Sadly, after four years of fighting depression, the gifted songwriter took his own life in late 2012.
In the two and a half years since his death, Szymon's family enlisted the help of Holland and Hawker to complete his life's work.
They were able to salvage the demos Szymon recorded for EMI before his death, fill in the gaps, and mix it into the album the family's late loved one never finished.
"Hearing the music is difficult sometimes because we miss him so much," Szymon's older brother, Kubush, told Australia's Daily Telegraph. "We hope it encourages other people, listening to the love and hope in it. Despite the battles and struggles we all face, music was a release for Szymon and out of this tragedy, hopefully it can inspire someone else."
Since its release this summer, Szymon's posthumous album, "Tigersapp," has received rave reviews.
Rolling Stone gave the record a perfect, five-star rating. Writer Darren Levin described Szymon as "a singer-songwriter with a producer's ear" and "honeyed vocals."
True to the review, the music is a lush mix of warm folk songs overlaid with electronic accents that give his songs a new and yet faintly familiar sound.
The album provides some closure for Szymon's family but also allows him to live on through his passion for music.
On the album's release date, Szymon's family posted a heartfelt message to his Facebook page.
"We are so proud of our son and brother Szymon. What an incredible legacy he has left, and we are so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to carry and share it with the world. Listening to this album brings us so much joy! We thank God for Szymon's life and the time we spent with him here on earth, and for the incredible gift He gave Szym to create. ... Our goal was to complete this album as best we could as a way to honour and remember Szymon, and to share with the world the hope, light and love that his music so evidently displays."
Depression doesn't discriminate. Sometimes it comes for the most brilliant among us.
How many artists, musicians, engineers, inventors, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, or athletes has the world lost to depression? How many Szymons of the world have we lost to this terrible illness? We'll never know.
But what we do know is that there's hope.
It comes in the form of loved ones. It comes in the form of compassionate medical care. It comes in the form of decreasing the stigma around depression. It's up to those of us left to generate hope for ourselves and those we care about in our fight to make the world a better, more compassionate place.