There are not many people these days who can say they don’t feel some degree of stress in their life, and many can also check off “anxiety” in that same questionnaire of life. I can count myself in this category, I have been suffering from anxiety for most of my adult life. I chose to tell my story as an owner of an online music magazine and how I face stress, anxiety, and depression head daily.
First off, big thanks to Angela Mastrogiacomo and Infectious Magazine for publishing this series on mental health awareness in the music industry. It’s a brave thing to step forward and tell your own story, and to have a host of stories in one place is an amazing thing. I’m proud and honored to be part of it. If it helps one person not feel alone, then that is all that matters.
As a rule, I often describe myself as shy, which many people who know me will disagree with wholeheartedly. Once I am in a comfortable place, like most people, my guard comes down and I can be the life of the party if need be. But, daily, I face a lot of anxiety and stress. It starts with my email inbox. No really, it’s daunting. As someone who covers the music and design space, I receive upwards of 300 emails a day, sometimes rapid fire minute after minute. Don’t get me wrong, I chose this. I love doing what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for a moment, but that number of unread emails gives me anxiety.
Luckily, I have learned to deal with that inbox a little, but one aspect of communicating with people in the music industry is rejection. This is the part where my anxiety ramps up to a high-zone. Not only do I have to read all these emails (this is the easy part), but if I’m “taking a pass” on something that is sent to me, whether it is from a publicist, a manager, or even the band or musician themselves, the polite thing for me to do is respond to them to let them know that I am passing on covering them on my website. Whether it is because I’m not interested in what they’ve sent me, it’s not up to par, or due to the sheer lack of time (it’s virtually impossible to cover everything that comes across my desk), I am expected to let the sender know. The last thing I want to do is let someone down, reject them, or make them feel like their music sucks. Many publicists showcase their frustration with publications not responding to them, taking to social media to air their grievances. Not naming names, but just venting to the world that it’s impolite and quite frankly…rude. This just makes the anxiety level ratchet up even more. When it comes to this, I am a work in progress. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, and I’m working on it.
On the flip side, when I find myself reaching out to someone in the music industry about covering an event, I often feel the rejection. We cover a lot of shows for my publication, but for every yes that we receive, there are lots of no’s. Each rejection is felt, and waiting for the response, anticipating the answer, makes my anxiety level increase. Most times I can let it roll off my back, knowing that it’s not a personal rejection, just that there is probably no room for us on the guest list. There are times, though, when we are told that we are just “not big enough” of a publication for their artist, and that comes nicely packaged with a rejection. That said, they’re doing their job, and they’re doing what I’ve been struggling to do – answer those emails in their (likely) jam-packed inbox.
There is room for improvement in this industry when it comes to interacting with each other, and how we treat each other, and I hope that through the help of articles like this and the rest of the series on Infectious Magazine, we can take steps in the right direction. If all sides of the industry come together to make it a safer environment in terms of recognizing mental health, then people won’t have to suffer in silence.
Boston-based writer and music lover, Kelly Murphy, is the owner of the online music and design magazine, Indie Minded, which covers artists and musicians on a global scale. In addition to this, Kelly also owns her own media firm called Black Lion Media, which focuses on music publicity and social media management. In her spare time, Kelly is working towards her Masters in Communication, volunteering at her local Humane Society, and running her own independent clothing line, saucewear. Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @IndieMurphy to keep up with all her music related tweets and cute cat photos!
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