WARNING: THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT SUICIDE AND MAY BE DISTRESSING AND/OR TRIGGERING FOR SOME. A LIST OF HELPLINE NUMBERS IS AT THE END.
He has one of the most recognisable voices in New Zealand music and now Kiwi hip-hop artist Savage is using it in the battle against youth suicide.
The South Auckland-raised chart-topper, real name Demetrius Savelio, has opened up about the recent and heartbreaking suspected suicide of his young niece - and revealed that at the same age he too tried to take his own life.
For Savage, and his close-knit family, the death of his 15-year-old niece Theresa Matautia in August last year was devastating.
The girl with a wide smile and big personality, a popular Year 11 student at Alfriston College in South Auckland, died just before her 16th birthday.
Her family, including loving parents, four older siblings who doted on her, and her Swing hitmaker uncle, have no idea why.
Savage sought the blessing of his first cousin, Theresa's father Joe, before speaking about her death but said it was something he felt compelled to do.
"Theresa was such a bubbly and charismatic young girl, she had a close family," Savage told the Herald on Sunday .
"She was the last person I would have thought this would happen to. It has been devastating for my family."
Savage had spent two weeks with Theresa, her brothers Geoffrey, Giovanni and Nathaniel and sister Sieni at a family reunion in Samoa last April.
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"It was awesome, we spent two weeks in each other's company, dancing, and singing. I have a younger daughter and Theresa was awesome with her.
"The cousins ran free with each other."
Four months later at a beach barbecue, Savage was delivered the heartbreaking news.
"Having to relay it to the younger teenagers and watching them break down was tough," he said.
"We had to hold off telling my younger one for a while, I knew she was going to take it pretty bad. Me and my wife sat her down. We were all in tears."
Losing his niece was the push the rapper needed to join the conversation of youth suicide in New Zealand.
Along with his own thoughts of suicide as a troubled teen, Savage lost five friends to suicide in one year.
This country has the highest rate of youth suicide in the developed world and statistics are especially high for Māori youth.
Police visiting Theresa's Manurewa home after her death told her father there had been two other girls take their lives in the same suburb that week.
Another two are understood to have taken their lives in Mangere.
"That is five souls gone in just a week. We have to do something about that," Savage said.
His yet to be released song Reach Out - Love Don't Live Here Anymore is about his real-life experience and his own suicide attempt when he was just 15.
The melody through the song is from the 1978 song, Love Don't Live Here Anymore , by American soul band Rose Royce.
When the song was released it would be added to #fortheresa.
Savage said life was tough on him growing up. His dad was never involved and he was heavily involved in street gangs in his early teens.
"The song is about me and my testimony and about me being at the age of 15 and thinking that suicide was the best option," he said.
"I actually went into the process of actually taking my own life."
Savage said his faith helped him out of despair.
So did music.
He has gone on to make chart-toppers such as Swing , Freaks and Stop , Drop and Roll . He is also the loving dad to his children aged 21, 19 and 9.
He performed his new song to the crowd at a recent Huawei Summer Jam concert in South Auckland and dedicated it to Theresa.
He said the concert was the "right time" to share the song despite it being only 70 per cent complete.
"I wanted to let youth in my home town know I identify and connect with them in many ways.
"It's my community and I want them to persevere and push through - one foot in front of the other - just keep going."
Last week Savage got news the No 1 hit performed with Australian Timmy Trumpet had tipped over half a billion sales.
"I want to collect as many accolades as I can and bring them back to our community to show these kids what can be achieved - it all starts with changing their mindset."
His message to people doing it tough was to "hold on, fight through it".
"Imagine all of the things you are going to miss out on, all of the opportunities."
He also urged parents to check their children's devices - even if their kids hated them for it.
"As parents and adults we can pick out little things that can trigger something big."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• KIDSLINE : 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (24/7)
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (24/7)
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (24/7)
• WHATSUP : 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• YOUTHLINE : 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.