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Breathe In, Hold, Breathe Out: The Minds Behind Calm, The Mindfulness App

by Arifa Rana

Matthew McConaughey gave out the Calm mindfulness app to some of the kids who had been stressed out by severe storms and natural calamities of all types at his philanthropic organization in Texas. And now you can hear him on the app telling a bedtime story, “Wonder,” or meditating (“Living with Intention”), and recommending that we should “float away” with him to “peaceful dreams” and not “fear the dark.”  He has a calming and reassuring tone to his speech. Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew, the co-founders of Calm, do, too, I discovered, albeit with a decidedly English accent.

LeBron James, in addition to being a great basketball player, also has a loud and deep voice. On the app, he’s also talking about his mental moves as well. Fans of Harry Styles may be interested to know that in the app’s “Dream with Me,” users can “fall asleep and fall in love with Harry Styles’ dreamy voice.” In case you were wondering, Acton Smith and Tew did not send any of these A-listers a check or convince them to sign an endorsement. Nothing could be more cynical.

“It was critical that their support be genuine,” Acton Smith adds. “We heard through the grapevine that they liked Calm. In an article, LeBron James discussed it. That was the situation. Then they were appointed as ambassadors.” On The Graham Norton Show, Michael Bublé, for example, shouted Calm’s praises absolutely unprompted. The 100 million or so movie stars, rock stars, and simple mortals who have downloaded Calm to restore peace of mind amid all the mayhem include McConaughey, James, and Styles.

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