Music, Fame And Depression

A staggering percentage of artists have experienced anxiety and depression in their music careers, in retrospect to this reality it is difficult for artists to thrive with a super-star lifestyle.  What’s more sad is that there is a myopic view on how much pressure artists experience in their daily lives. Unfortunately, we cannot shy away from the fact that there is so much talent and competition in the industry but a strong mind could be your best asset in separating you from the rest of the pack.

The industry is highly competitive, in the public’s eyes the glitz and glamour looks appealing but the working conditions of forging a musical career are much more traumatic and hard, therefore the risk of depression can loom. There needs to be a more opened dialogue on mental health in the music industry, because more often artists are not ready for the fame and that tends to become an impediment. The South African music industry is highly competitive, and self-confidence can make good musicians great and the lack thereof can make great musicians mediocre. Many artists find consolation and healing in the creative process and when those creative juices are no longer flowing and are unable to stay relevant, most of them plunge into a dark hole of depression where often than not alcohol and substance abuse become part of the package.

Stress, depression and anxiety come in many forms, for instance not being able to meet a record label’s expectations or making enough money to be able to pay the bills can really hamper the mental health of an artist. It is no secret that musicians have anti-social working hours – bumper-to-bumper gigs, and that tends to become detrimental to their sanity.

There are no tools to equip an artist when they’ve experienced a bad gig or musical situation that will later on linger in their minds as post-traumatic stress. Fame can be a tad bit overwhelming even though a handful of artists prance around onstage smiling all day; there are unique pressures that they face.  A lack of self-confidence can exacerbate stress and anxiety.

Learning how to handle rejection in this business is the best armour that an artist can equip themselves with, further more if you leverage that with self-confidence it will transfer towards your attitude and music.  The freelance nature of a music career gives an uncertainty to the future and an artist is always relying on their next “big hit” in order to calm down the storm. 

Truth be told, raw talent alone does not ensure a successful music career, you also have to understand that music is not a “get rich quick scheme”. It is a long game so you must keep at it, pay your dues and keep improving; people are bound to be drawn to your vibe and doors will eventually open up for you.

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