Through A Cappella Group, UF Student Overcomes Depression


University of Florida student John Nyren struggled with depression before joining the university’s a cappella group Tone Def, but through it, he said he was able to find confidence and community.

“I’ve never had a good self esteem — like I’ve always thought really lowly of myself,” he said.

Nyren said that in 2015, before he joined Tone Def, he was depressed and had low self-confidence. But the members of the group gave him positive influences on how he viewed himself.

“I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s just like given me a pep-talk like, ‘Hey, what are you thinking? You can totally do this,'” he said.

Nyren has since won an award for his performance of the song Lay Me Down by Sam Smith and inspired other group members with his personal growth.

Tone Def member Abigail Kneal said Nyren used to be nervous about performing in front of others, but now he is more outgoing.

“It was so cool to see him evolve from the beginning of the year,” she said.

About Alexis Cruz

Alexis is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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