Mental Health In The Music Industry

We can all agree that music is a powerful tool that has the ability to influence our feelings. We admire the people that make the music and often forget that they too are human and have feelings and they too are also capable of feeling unhappy like we do at times. Struggling with mental health isn’t a new thing, however, the misconception is that celebrities are beyond that because they appear to be happy at all times as they are so successful but in reality, it’s far from true. The most common mental illness is depression which affects about 1 in 3 people in the world. People have the belief that depression is just sadness and to fix depression you just need to be happier. Depression has many effects. It can stop you from getting up in the morning, hanging out with friends or even eating. It’s a serious issue that every human celebrity or not can experience.

Former Wham! Manager Simon Napier-Bell recently released a film called ’27 Gone Too Soon’ based on the fact that most of our beloved music stars coincidentally passed away at 27. Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse all died at the age of 27. The documentary looks at why these stars died when they did and what was the contributing factor to their causes of deaths. This documentary has propelled further debate as it offers further insight into the world of popular music and its many pitfalls

 You may also have seen Matty Carter and Ariel’s documentary ‘Creating With Depression’ which we premiered on Demur. In this piece, we see how one half of the duo, Matty has taken his depression and turned it into creative energy. In the film, Matty speaks about not caring whether he saw the next day or not and ‘just letting the bad times take him.’ Seeing such films offers an insight into the real lives of the stars and how they battle with their own issues. Matty shows us how he has used his depression for the positive. This leaves the question can music help with mental health and should the healing of depression be encouraged in the music industry?

If you ask people what they do when they feel sad or want to feel good the majority will say they listen to their music playlist which is full of various songs for different moods. It’s to be assumed that if just listening to a song can lift your mood imagine how you’d feel to be the one to write that song and actually know you’re helping other people that may be going through similar things. In addition, being able to turn all that negative and destructive energy into something productive and creative to make something beautiful is inspiring in itself.

However, the problem is no one decided to talk up about these things until now. Amy Winehouse, Van Gogh, Basquiat, Bukowski, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Mark Rothko, Ian Curtis, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Donny Hathaway and the list continues. These people gave the world some of the most beautiful and pure pieces of art, ever, and they were all depressed extremely creative minds.’ Depression is not a new thing in the world we live in and neither is a celebrity suffering from depression. In fact, it’s extremely common for most creatives to have or develop depression in their careers because either they are born with it or all the stress that comes with their profession takes over.

Even though its great if you can turn those dark thoughts into a creative beautiful piece of music, but the time comes when you can’t be creative anymore or as Matty puts it ‘if you stop and you think about it too much, you might realize that you may never be ok, and I think in those moments your mind can be really dangerous. ‘Depression’ is highly unpredictable and left unchecked can turn into something serious and devastating.

The music industry is well known for being a cruel and an unforgiving place, but if we could turn it into a place where more people of all kinds can produce music and help people, mental health, in general, would be so much better for everyone. With all the hate in the world music should be the escape for people and for that we need stability.

Mental health is a super serious issue that affects most of the population at some point in their lives. However, even though it can be scary it’s important for us to speak out and do things like Matty which can help someone else in that situation.

Lydia Redpath