Anyone who chooses to follow their heart into the music industry may end up with doing harm to their heads. Mental health is something that often gets short shrift. That cannon continue.
Mike Raine of Canadian Musician magazine looks at the situation.
The life of a professional touring musician is a recipe for mental illness.
Money is tight while they work long and weird hours, travel incessantly, are isolated from their friends and family at home, and have ample access to drinks and drugs. They write, record, release, and promote, and then repeat the cycle over and over again. And now, more than ever, the industry demands constant content, lest they be forgotten in the ocean of songs hitting Spotify every Friday. But then they get in the van and, especially in Canada, drive absurd distances between low-paying gigs for a tour they likely had to book themselves.
There are a million other tasks, big and small, that today’s independent and even label-signed artists need to take care of each week. It can feel like the hamster wheel never stops and you have to keep it going just to survive. So yeah, little wonder musicians are reporting alarming levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
It’s long overdue that we start talking about and facing these issues head-on, and thankfully, there are things musicians can do for themselves and each other, along with resources and professionals being increasingly more available to help.
Keep reading. It’s important.