Behind the Song: ‘Marley’ by Gouda

A tune about anxiety, depression, and a very special feline friend…

Joey Heins is a music industry student from Philadelphia and solo artist under the name ‘gouda’. His debut single “Marley’ is the story of his friendship with his cat of the same name.

Marley is my cat. My only friend. The only living being that I don’t get any form of anxiousness being around; well, at least anymore.

When I first got Marley, she hid from me and didn’t eat any food, as cats do.

The cat in question.

Going through a breakup and being the anxious person I am, I went crazy, thinking I would end up hurting this beautiful living being that had blessed me with its presence.

This went on for three seemingly-endless days. 

That’s where the song’s instrumental came from. I tend to do that- take control of an anxious moment through writing.

Creating and combining sounds, phrases, and tones allows me to see the moment through a different lens. It feels like another world.

The song’s instrumental came together inspiringly quickly, making me feel like those moments of anxiety, sadness, and panic are reflectively peaceful.

I’m oddly thankful for feeling the way that I feel sometimes, I guess that’s because it’s what I’m comfortable with- it’s all I know.

“Marley”, to me, captures that comfort of living inside of a miserable world that takes no mental progress- and thus no effort- to get out of.

Lyrics come to me either as I’m singing, or doing something totally random, but something must be on my mind for them to arrive.

Unfortunately, particularly jarring moments from my past come to my mind quite often.

One thing I’m working on now is to not beat myself up for letting those pro-longed, anxious moments come up, and dealing with them in a positive, progressive manner, rather than living inside of them.

Joey Heins is Gouda

It takes no effort to live inside a memory that consumes me. I must consume those memories; those that hinder the forward motion my mind desperately craves.

Writing about those moments offers me a way to progressively live inside of them and make my way out.

While there is no worth in living inside of the sorrows of such moments, these powerful, emotional instances are valuable tools to learn and grow from.

I feel as if I have aged eighty years just by processing certain parts of my life, and I’m grateful for that.

I tend to move past songs after I release them and am done with them, but “pass the time” is a phrase in “Marley” that still sticks with me. Perhaps, even with my savior, Marley,  I haven’t moved past the part of me that feels as if I exist to pass the time.

Marley the muse

On a surface level, I put the phrase in there because most days, especially with the pandemic going on, are redundant and flat-out boring. I have gotten myself into an anxious pattern of forcing myself to record and write constantly.

Pressure to produce something magnificent every day, all day, has been unwarrantedly been placed onto my shoulders because of this. I wrote “Marley” at the peak of this time.

Though I’m still working on this aspect of my mentality, I have come to learn that passing the time doesn’t have to be so complicated.

I used to, and still do sometimes, get anxious just knowing that there will be blocks of time where I have no obligation; nothing scheduled.

Thoughts like “How am I going to stop myself from thinking about xyz with nothing to do?” come up with the pressure to record and write despite my mental fatigue, and it becomes a total shit show. 

On the bass

Passing the time does not have to be so complicated. I’ve found that the key is that I must be comfortable with my headspace; then, the time will pass itself.

I don’t need to go insane over scheduling social media posts, a transition in a song that isn’t seeming to work; simply anything that I do love, but am in a position to stress myself out over.

If I have the “I must pass the time” mindset, everything automatically becomes a storm of depression and anxiousness.

I’ve found that being outdoors, with no phone, music, computer; ‘no nothing’ is the best way for me to practice being alone with my thoughts.

I can think about the people I see at the park and write stories and character arcs for these people.

I can think about the grass that I’m sitting on, and try to guess when it was last cut. I can think about how grateful I am to not be angrily honking my horn in bumper-to-bumper city traffic.

When I seize the gift of time, I can think about anything. I can do anything. My mind is my oyster. 

Want to write about your favorite artist, song, album, or a playlist you really want others to hear? Email us at to submit your work. 🙂

Author: gouda

musician & cook. check out my music on Spotify, & recipes on Insta!

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