Custom artwork (L) by artist Adam Back for the song “Letter to Dad” written by Fort Langley resident Brendan Kwiatkowski (R), an unplanned result of his PhD study into how boys deal with feeling in today’s world. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Custom artwork (L) by artist Adam Back for the song “Letter to Dad” written by Fort Langley resident Brendan Kwiatkowski (R), an unplanned result of his PhD study into how boys deal with feeling in today’s world. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Study of masculine emotions by Fort Langley researcher inspires music album

Research for a PhD led to nine songs about men and masculinity

Brendan Kwiatkowski wasn’t planning to create a concept album, but after researching how young men are dealing with emotion in today’s world, the Fort Langley resident was inspired.

“Often I am moved to tears when I am reading the interviews,” Kwiatkowski said.

For his PhD, Kwiatkowski carried out a survey of 170 Langley Grade 12 students, to see how adolescent boys who are on the verge of becoming young men deal with emotions.

Out of the 170, he interviewed 20, 10 of the most emotionally expressive young men and 10 of the least.

READ ALSO: Langley teacher aims to help education system better understand boys

Many of those who were less expressive became that way for straightforward reasons.

“In their stories, there’s events in their lives that make it harder to trust people,” Kwiatkowski told the Langley Advance Times.

He expected most would say they adopted a stiff upper lip because they didn’t want to appear weak, but that, surprisingly, was down the list of reasons, in third spot.

“Number one was, they don’t want to burden other people. Number two was fear of judgment.”

Boys who kept their feeling to themselves were, nevertheless, self-aware.

“They all, without exception, are conscious of that restriction.” Kwiatkowski summarized.

“They boys were all quite knowledgeable about what was happening inside themselves.”

On the other hand, those who were open about their feelings usually had people in their lives who acted as what Kwiatkowski describes as “emotional safe havens,” who let them express feelings without judgment.

Often those haven are female, usually their mothers.

One encouraging finding was that the trend among all surveyed was toward more open expression

“They’re noticing a shift in media and in their own lives.”

Kwiatkowski’s own feelings needed expression after hearing so many moving stories.

“I need to process it for myself,” is how he explains the genesis of his concept album.

Music has always been important for Kwiatkowski, a songwriter in his youth with an album to his credit.

He wrote nine songs that follow the life of a man from boyhood to old age, each song connecting with a major theme about masculinity.

Kwiatkowski calls it a “passion project” that isn’t part of his doctoral dissertation.

The album will feature a number of vocalists and each will only sing one or two songs on the album.

He’s already found a few artists willing to work for free .

One completed song “Letter to dad” performed by Gray, is a message from a son to his father, both struggling with feelings in different ways.

”What did you have to shut down? What dreams did you hide? What would the boy inside you, Given the chance, want to try?” the singer asks.

Kwiatkowski describes the genre of the songs as “influenced by each of the musicians I work with but overall the album is best described as alternative, acoustic and/or indie.”

He has given himself till Nov. 30 to raise the necessary funds with a Kickstarter campaign for “songs of masculinity.”

He calls it an “all-or-nothing” approach.

“Even though the lyrics are written, if I don’t raise enough funds to record and produce all of the remaining seven songs on the concept album, then this project won’t continue.”

As of Tuesday, Nov. 18, he’d raised just under $2,500 toward his $8,400 goal, the projected cost of hiring singers and studio time, along with artwork for each song.

If all goes well, the album will be ready for release in 2022.

READ ALSO: Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

His goal in producing it is to “help increase empathy and understanding towards men, as well as challenge men to healthily connect to their emotions.”

“Where we’re doing a disservice to boys, is that they don’t feel safe to open up, or don’t know how to do it,” he summed up.

Kwiatkowski also discusses issues of masculinity on his website remasculate.com.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

LangleyMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eleven bags of litter along 200th Street was collected by seven volunteers on the weekend. (Jocelyn Titus/Special to The Star)
Seven volunteers pick eleven bags worth of trash along 200th Street in Langley

Jocelyn Titus, founder of Earth Ninjas and Clean Up Aldergrove group held a pick on Sunday

The lease on Hangar 17 at Langley Regional Airport is being disputed in court, as the Township tries to end it and the tenant tries to hold on. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Battle over Langley Airport hangar goes to Court of Appeal

A judge has frozen any eviction until the case is decided

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Walnut Grove Secondary School

Police asked public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read