Robb Nash: Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) recipient


[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “Canadian Honours, Robb Nash, Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division).” There is a viceregal lion above the text. "Governor General Mary Simon" is written to the right of the viceregal lion.]

[Screen Description: Several words characterizing honours recipients move across a black screen. The screen reads, “Canadian honours presented by the Governor General”.]

[Screen Description: Robb Nash is sitting in a theatre, speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Robb Nash, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division).”]

[Robb Nash:] My favourite moments of every show, is when I get to see the audience, tears falling down their faces.

And at the beginning I didn’t like it.

I thought I was watching the tears of somebody that was breaking down.

Now I realize that those are tears of somebody breaking through.

When I was 17 years old, I was in a massive car accident where I woke up from a coma, I didn’t know who I was, my parents, and had to rebuild my head with titanium.

I went through a very bitter time.

Two years of my life where I didn’t want to be alive and I made it through that dark time but I wondered how many other young people like me having those same dark thoughts, suicidal thoughts. 

They’re not talking about it, so I decided I wanted to tell my story to as many people as I could.

So I knew that music would be a good way to share that story.

I was offered a chance to do a tour through youth prisons, reserves up North, and schools, listening to stories and sharing my story with young people.

And I ripped up my record deal to do that tour and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

You know guys, I realized something.

You guys can go up to any adult that you know and ask them:

 “What do you do?”

Everyone knows what they do.

Ask them: “Why do you do it?”

And very few people have a good answer to that, and that’s a sad thing.

I started writing songs together with people that we were meeting... Songs about addiction, songs about suicide.

We’ve seen some people have some massive breakthroughs.

In fact, we’ve actually had 883 students have actually handed us their suicide notes after these shows.

And then we started seeing pictures and videos of them tattooing our lyrics on their arms where they used to hurt themselves.

And so I took all the signatures off the suicide notes that we were given and I tattooed them on my arms.

And I did this because I know what it feels like to feel like you're all alone with those thoughts.

These are all people that had those thoughts once too, but they are still here.

People seem to only talk about mental illness when there’s a suicide.

People seem to only talk about addiction when there’s an overdose.

And what we try to do in our shows is tell the stories of the people that are still here, the ones that made it, to make examples out of those people.

Show that there are survivors, there are people that are victorious…

[Screen Description: Jonny Holliday is sitting in front of a drum set on a stage, speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Jonny Holliday, The Robb Nash Project, Musician/Artistic Director.” Short video clips of him performing play as he speaks.]

[Screen Description: Throughout the video, the screen alternates between Robb Nash, Jonny Holliday and a series of scenes featuring The Robb Nash Project performing at concerts; schoolchildren entering concert halls; and Robb Nash talking to audiences from a stage.]

[Jonny Holliday:] I think Robb represents a whole new face of mental health.

Putting a cool, edgy look on it, making kids realize that it’s okay to talk about some of their struggles.

[Robb Nash:] People look at me, and they think “Why would we trust this guy with our youth?

He doesn’t seem like somebody that’s qualified to speak about things like mental illness”.

But by receiving awards like this, it helps us grow and helps us reach more people.

That’s why I was so honoured to receive it.

It was great having songs on the radio and playing big crowds, but this is, this isn’t just success, now, this is significance.

This actually feels fulfilling - that your music can be a part of somebody’s life.

[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “The Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) recognize remarkable individuals who bring honour to our country through their exceptional deeds in many different fields.” There is a Meritorious Service Medal and Cross above the text.]

[Screen Description: A viceregal lion on a grey background.]