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Mental Health Matters: Self-Loathing

I found music in a very typical way: I was searching for something, anything, to hold onto for dear life. A traumatic early childhood left me silenced by fear and unable to find any words to communicate what happened to me even if I had wanted to tell someone. I cried the first time I listened to Seether’s “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” at 11 years old. Shaun Morgan’s lyrics hit me in a place that I had buried so deeply I didn’t expect anything ever to find it. I…

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Mental Health Matters: Stage Fright (and Facing Your Fears)

Six years ago I was huddled backstage with a prominent world musician at an iconic Sydney music venue, gripped by a familiar sense of dread. My stomach churned and a thought passed through my mind. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I was about to walk on stage and stand in front of a group of absolute strangers who would sit quietly, between the photographs of musical greats that lined the walls, staring at me while I sang. What a weird thing to do! I thought, I could…

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Mental Health Matters: ” I was dying, and I was still trying to keep up with everyone else.”

First, I want to say that I am so grateful that more and more people are becoming more open to sharing their own personal struggles with mental health. I have learned that, unfortunately, there is a negative stigma attached to talking about these issues- especially in the music industry. There is so much pressure to be constantly busy, productive, and always ‘on our game’. We are in a world where everything everyone does appears in our social media feed, and whether we are aware of it or not, we are…

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Mental Health Matters: Bullying

I have always been an over the top music fan, and as a result of that I’ve been severely bullied from the 7th to 12th grade. I found my solitude within music, however, the more I surrounded myself with it, the more it caused me to drown. If I learned anything over my four years of high school, it is that kids are mean, and will do anything to prevent themselves from being the next target. So, as a result, I was the forever target because of my commitment and…

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Mental Health Matters: “You Are Not Your Pain”

There’s a notion at open mics, DIY spaces, and the backstage areas of larger venues: that the only difference between eccentric and insane is your talent. That there’s a fine line between madness and genius. That great inspiration can only come from great pain. Whatever made Van Gogh cut his ear off is also what let him make beautiful paintings. Suffer for art. We romanticize it. The 27 Club is a higher honor than living to Leonard Cohen’s age. The true rockstar: desperate and angst-ridden, smashing TVs in hotel rooms,…

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Mental Health Matters: ADHD

Twirling my pencil around involuntarily, staring up at the ceiling daydreaming, my brain replaying a song I heard the night before, my grades going down by the day due to all of this happening while I was at school. I was lost. I was dwindling so deeply into “la la land” that I could not focus on the material. This wasn’t just a one-time occurrence; this was me almost every year in school from childhood to adolescence.  Something had to be done. After numerous doctor visits, I was officially diagnosed…

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Get It Together

“My drummer forgot his snare, can he use yours”? Seriously, this happens. A lot. And I don’t mean to take a dig at drummers here with this. You can interchange any member and any piece of equipment in that statement and it would be just as relevant. I’ve been touring for the better part of the last decade, and in that time I won’t say that I’ve seen it all. But I’ve seen my damn fair share. At the end of the day it boils down to how you approach…

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Mental Health Matters: Using Your Given Voice To Battle That Pesky Inner Voice Of Doubt

It’s difficult enough to explain depression & anxiety to someone who doesn’t suffer from it. Add in the element of having an artist’s mind, and that explanation gets even blurrier. With the, seemingly unnatural, marriage of business & creativity, the triggers that can set off an episode can be odd & infinitely varied. However, the tools that an anxious songwriter, like me, have at their disposal are powerful & unique. For instance, in October of 2016, with the soundtrack of Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore’s voice in the background, I…

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Mental Health Matters: On Music, the Light, and the Darkness

  Maintaining the public semi-fictions we present to the world can be exhausting.  There is pressure to become the most digestible and uncomplicated versions of who we think we should be for others to see and acknowledge.  But this picture we present usually lacks what I would call ‘personal substance’ – that private world where our depth of feeling, tangible rawness and vulnerability resides.  This under-the-skin honesty is too heavy to be shared out loud in person, and something we are expected to tuck away deep within ourselves and not…

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Mental Health Matters: “I Call The Shots.” Staying Healthy & Managing Your Limits

Music and Mental Health go hand in hand.  Music is therapeutic.  It can make you laugh, cry or feel like you’re on top of the world.  Learning to read and play music can help build self-esteem and confidence. For me, music was an escape.  I grew up with a mentally ill parent, but we didn’t talk about mental illness in my house.  It was this giant elephant in the room.  I used to think that if I could ignore the elephant that it would just go away. I started playing…

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