Jonah Kagen Explains the Meaning Behind His Emotional Debut Song "Broken"

Photo By: Kathy Tran

"Hope..." The feeling that singer-songwriter Jonah Kagen wishes to instill in the listeners of his debut song "Broken." If the song and title sound familiar to you, it's probably because you heard it going viral on Tik Tok. With almost 300,000 followers on the platform, Kagen's heartfelt performances have drawn enough attention for Andy Grammer and Atlantic Records' Charlotte Cardin to do Duets with his music. Although Kagen has gained quite the following for his short compositions on social media, "Broken" marks his first official song release.

Somewhat of a renaissance man, Kagen is also the captain of the Cornell University Varsity Men's Soccer team, where he studies Psychology. But at the end of the day, when he puts down the cleats and picks up the guitar, it's his songwriting ability that is next to shine. On "Broken," he's seemingly unafraid to explore the darker side of his emotions. Mental health is clearly an important cause for him, and his honest declaration of needing support helps to normalize asking for assistance from others when the going gets tough. We can all use a pick me up from time to time...

Reminiscent of Dean Lewis, the subtle acoustic guitar, piano, and percussion on "Broken" provides Kagen the chance to highlight his charming voice and descriptive songwriting. Sure to hit you straight in the feels, his lyrics have a way of painting a picture in the mind of the listener, and throughout the song, as Kagen's emotion begins to build, so does the instrumentation behind him.

Here's what Jonah had to say regarding the meaning behind his viral song:

I wrote “Broken” to give a voice to the person at their lowest. It is for the person that has chosen to fight their demons on their own, but they’ve reached their breaking point. It is a cry for a help - a desperate begging for that one person (or people, or thing) to come and pull them out of their own fire.

In such a difficult time, our mental health is severely challenged. It is something that I care deeply about, and it is why I study psychology in school. I wanted to combine my own experiences and those of individuals all around me with my knowledge of the psychological side of mental health struggles to create a song that represents the emotion that affects us most deeply - pain.

I hope that “Broken” will not only resonate with listeners but also empower them, give them hope, and make them feel and understand the truth that they are never alone, no matter what they may be going through. I hope that, in illustrating the rawest form of emotion, this song ultimately brings a light to the end of a long, dark tunnel and marks the start of a much better time for many.

Listen to "Broken" below: