With the launch of Backline this week, this feels very poignant. In my late 20s, my depression knocked me so hard on my ass I made the choice to temporarily seek out medication to help me reset the terrible loop I was repeatedly stuck on in my head. I just COULD NOT shake my blues. Through deep introspection and time, I realized that primarily identifying as “the lead singer of a band” was a major root of the problem. When I was not performing and singing, I quite literally lost my identity. Between shows, I felt like a failure. It was a really dark time, where filling the hours of the day would physically and emotionally paralyze me. When I wasn’t touring, I wasn’t fulfilling my job. If I wasn’t fulfilling my job, then I was lazy/failing/floundering/
It was only through identifying myself outside of the work I do that I was able to slowly dig my way out of the hole I had not even known I was sinking into. It can be so easy for us to only see ourselves as the work we do. In the arts, rejection is such a daily occurrence that we need to be careful and watch out for ourselves and each other.
With the landscape of our industry changing right from under our feet, I’ve witnessed the same uncertainty from many bands and musicians who from the outside, look like they’re thriving, but are in reality really struggling financially, emotionally, and personally. In a world that desires, even demands art for consumption, we are making it harder and harder for artists to develop sustainable and supported lives.
I’m thankful as musicians we are all starting to talk about this stuff and beginning to use our social media to connect on these issues. Organizations like Backline make me feel like our reality is starting to be seen. After such a long time of feeling concerned about this stuff, I’m grateful to feel comfortable enough to share this in hopes that it might relate to some of you.