Bill Ryder-Jones: ‘Fans tell me personal things’

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Bill Ryder-Jones’s football team Everton have just lost to arch rivals Liverpool in injury time at Anfield ahead of our phone interview.

The Wirral singer-songwriter and former Coral guitarist, however, is determined not to let that fact ruin his week.

“I have a rule that I’ve lived by for a few years,” he explains. “If we play at three o’clock, I have to stop [worrying] at five past five – that’s it.

“I don’t get so intense like a lot of my friends do, just for my own mental well-being.”

For many football fans that might be a throwaway line but for Bill it’s a literal work in progress.

For years he’s been open about his struggles with stress, anxiety and depression, as well as acute psychological conditions such as dissociative identity disorder, agoraphobia and monophobia.

He’s been an ambassador for mental health charities too, but it’s through his music – like on new fourth solo album, Yawn; a soaring soundscape of deeply personal vignettes – that the 35-year-old feels he can be of most help to people, not least himself.

“People who listen to my music have already got an insight into me as they’ve been listening to me talk and sing,” says Bill, who left his old band in 2008 on health grounds.

“They can approach me and tell me very personal things after the show because they already think we’ve had a bit of a conversation, which is fine.

“But sometimes it’s awkward because I don’t know how to react to that. My job is not sitting down and helping people with their problems at all; you have to be skilled and committed to do that.

“I just bang on about my problems and hope that it will… Actually,” he corrects himself, “I do it solely because it makes me feel better, and secondly it’s nice that it appears to help people.”

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