Artist Ben Zaidi Shares Personal Track About Chris Cornell; Proceeds Will Be Donated To       

May 18, 2021 BY Nettwerk


The last time I saw you perform, you told stories of being a shy 12-year-old kid, hiding up in your room listening to the Beatles. You said nothing was so transporting & reassuring as that music. I knew what you meant, because I would do that to––only for me it was your songs. As a shy, moody kid who at 13 had already contemplated suicide & struggled with depression, hearing your words made me feel like there was somebody out there who understood. Sitting on the oatmeal carpet of my childhood bedroom, hearing your voice bounce off those 4 walls, I could be assured that somebody knew the way I felt. And I wasn’t alone.

I was 23 when the news broke of your death. When they said it was suicide, I knew there was some mistake––how would that be possible? It was unthinkable, given the role you had played in my life––walking me away from that cliff. And yet, it was true.

When you were 26, your friend & bandmate died of an overdose, and you wrote a song called “Say Hello 2 Heaven.” I used to play it over & over, screaming along with your mournful wails––some of the words I wasn’t old enough to understand, some of them I was just young enough to. “And he hurt so bad like a soul breaking / but he never said nothing to me”. The words stab at us now. Was that about your friend? Or was it about you?

Certain pains never go away, and certain hurts never heal completely. The task of helping each other through the fog is never finished. And so, we light the way with small comforts such as the fact that your gift to me didn’t end with your songs. It became my whole life––making music, trying to give voice to those deepest feelings. In hopes that maybe someday, somewhere out there, I could do for someone what you did for me. Most days I’m not sure that I ever could. But what I do know is––because of you––I’ll spend my whole life trying.


Ben Zaidi is a Harvard-educated poet, songwriter, and producer known for crafting spoken-word lyrics over lush electronic beats from his New York City bedroom. He chose to release “My Friend Chris” on May 18th to honor the day of Chris’s passing and to open the conversation around depression and suicide during Mental Health Month. All song proceeds will be donated to Childhaven’s Therapeutic Music Program which gives children a creative outlet to explore and express their feelings. On May 25th at 1 pm PT Ben will be going live on Instagram with music therapist Alyssa Monas from Childhaven about the song and mental health.   

Growing up in Seattle, Zaidi was surrounded by the evergreen beauty of the Pacific Northwest. At 15 he began writing songs that caught the attention of local record labels and, ultimately, Harvard University, where he enrolled to study music and poetry. In his dorm room, he honed a unique sound that blended the confessional songwriting of Blue period Joni Mitchell with the digital minimalism of James Blake. In 2019, he worked with Seattle multi-platinum producer Budo on their collaborative album Abandonism (rated top 20 albums of 2019 by the Seattle Times), performed a KEXP in-studio session, signed with APA, and completed his debut national headlining tour, selling out shows in Seattle, New York, and San Francisco.

In 2020, he continued the momentum with monthly singles, leading to his signing with Nettwerk Music Group in the fall. Now, Ben is in the process of completing his debut studio album with legendary producer Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Bob Dylan) –– a collage of love, the loss of innocence, and social crisis rendered with heart-splitting honesty.


Since 1909, Childhaven has been a safe and caring place for young children and families in the Puget Sound. Childhaven’s healing-centered framework embeds relational health, trauma-informed care, racial equity, and social justice in all places in which children and families live, learn, and play. Childhaven’s mission is to partner with parents and the community to strengthen families, prevent childhood trauma, and prepare children for a lifetime of well-being.

Music Therapy: Childhaven’s Music Therapy Program gives children a creative outlet through which they can explore and express their sometimes-difficult feelings. The youths in the program learn emotional regulation and cognitive skills that help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships and prepare them for success in life.


*Please enter ‘Music Therapy Program’ in the donation memo line.