Behind the Song

McKenna Michels


'"Survivor" was originally written as a song about perseverance and tenacity and reflected feelings I had about struggles with mental health following an abusive childhood environment. However, the meaning of the song changed when my manager, John "Moose" Dismukes, had an idea about turning the song into a comic book. Originally we were going to just continue with a 17th-century theme of the "Enlightenment" LP. But, during the finishing of the album, Halsey came out with her video that pretty much used the same idea we were working with - call it zeitgeist. We had the idea to take my love of comics and cosplay and put a twist on it. Our good friend Michelle, who has dealt with epilepsy her entire life, spends a lot of time drawing anime and loves cosplay. We thought of a comic theme where a character based on Michelle would create her own character of me set back in the 17th century and this gave us a lot of room creatively to direct where the comic would lead. I was a big fan of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers growing up and wanted to do something similar where we mix entertainment and teaching a lesson together. When I approached Michelle with the idea she insisted that we use her to represent the Michelle character in the book and that we dispel some myths about epilepsy. Together with Vo Nguyen and Donna Joseph of Big Deal Publications we created the "Survivor" comic which tells the story while utilizing the lyrics. We are also working with Green Glow Films and Nick Peterson to create a video based on the song and comic, and aiming to release that in September. The meaning of the song is still about perseverance and tenacity and applies generally to anyone out there who are survivors, whether it be trauma, abuse, neglect, disease, etc. This song is about rising above it all and to keep on moving on." - McKenna Michels

To keep up with McKenna and to stream her new album Enlightenment on your favorite platform, use the link Here!

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