Just a few weeks before a music video and PSA on suicide awareness was set to release, its star tragically took her own life. Now more than a year later, the video is officially out and paying tribute to the late Ashley Massaro, a WWE wrestler and Babylon native.
The song, “Choose Song,” was a three-year-long project headed by 94.3 The Shark’s morning radio host Brian Orlando. It was written to help people struggling with depression.
He told GreaterBabylon that he wrote the song back in 2017 to cope with the loss of Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog frontman Chris Cornell.
“Temple of the Dog’s music saved my life so many times,” he said. “I just couldn’t understand how someone who helped save my life on so many occasions was unable to face his own demons.”
With the help of Orlando’s friend — Vinnie Dombroski of the band Sponge, Wheatus lead singer Brendon B. Brown, Kevin Martin from Candlebox, and One Direction touring drummer Josh Devine — the rockers recorded the tune to let people know that music can heal.
“It was a cool project because although Sponge and Candlebox are contemporaries, this is the first time they sang on a song together,” Orlando said.
After the song was recorded, a video was shot at 1940s Brewery in Holbrook in January 2019. Orlando asked his colleague, and friend, Massaro to star in it.
Massaro, who grew up in Babylon, rose to fame after winning WWE’s Diva Search in 2005. In 2007, she was a contestant on “Survivor: China” and posed for Playboy.
about her own struggle with depression, Massaro was one of several former
wrestlers who sued the WWE in 2016, alleging they sustained head injuries that
were not properly cared for.
“When I asked her to be in the video, she said to me, ‘I’ve had my own problems with this and I want to be able to help people,’” Orlando said. In recent years, the two worked together at The Shark.
A few weeks before the finished video was set to release, she lost her own battle to depression. “After we lost Ashley, no one thought it was the right time,” said Orlando.
Last week, with her family’s blessing, the video made its way online.
“During the pandemic, traffic to the suicide hotline was up 1,000 percent,” Orlando said. “And at first, I was adamantly against releasing it, because I felt it was too soon… but her family gave me permission with no problem.”
Song” shows the 39-year-old star driving where eventually she meets with
Orlando at the brewery. The musicians also make appearances in their own cars,
using GoPro cameras. It was shot in four different cities in three states.
“I want to remind people that with music you’re never alone,” Orlando said.
A link to donate to the Long Island Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Awareness is in the description of the video, posted to YouTube, The Shark’s Facebook page and Sponge’s official Facebook page.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.