DH Lawrence, the prolific writer and poet wrote: “Once a book is searched, once it is known and its meaning fixed or established, it is dead. The pressure on artists to create something that has the power to move us and move us differently each time is a huge achievement.
Add to that complex relationships, chronic anxiety, financial instability, lack of sleep, and uncertainty about their ability to sustain their creative passion and business, it’s no wonder our artists are stifled, exhausted and jaded.
I saw musicians have several panic attacks before a tour that continued, and a manager who suffered a fit to come back to the festival circuit two weeks later because the show has to go on.
I’ve heard stories of artists calling hotlines between interviews and public appearances at the height of their careers, and I’ve seen other people talk about sexual abuse and ask their team to do it. treat as a “personal problem”.
What message are we sending to each other?
When did we lose our humanity?
Where does the responsibility of a team of artists lie in the wake of an inevitable crisis?
Artists are at the epicenter of the music industry ecosystem. Their ability to create quality art freely and easily is directly related to their mental, emotional, physical and creative health. I believe changing the way we support and nurture our artists is a key step towards the positive change and evolution we need in this industry.
While working as a Music Director, I saw an obvious missing link in an artist’s team. Where was the person who supported the artist through the personal breakup? Inability to write? To help them make big career decisions without trying to earn a% of their income? To educate them to navigate the intensely personal work of social media as a constant daily aspect of their careers? And who was it on to support them with chronic anxiety, bouts of depression and creative blockages, not to mention their basic health needs through grueling tour schedules and unrealistic creative deadlines?
There is a lack of clear and defined responsibilities and duties of care for the well-being of an artist in the music business. The strategic and organizational role of a manager is already beyond his capabilities and providing the appropriate support necessary for these challenges can be a complex role for him to take on, especially when trying to create professional boundaries.
So how can we think more creatively about supporting artists?
There is a new and evolving landscape of practitioners and advisers who understand the complexities of a creative’s career, offering the skills, therapies and knowledge necessary to transform your artist’s experience. Outsourcing this type of niche support relieves existing teams, while meeting a critical need.
What might change in the path of collective mental health for this industry, if we start managing the holistic well-being of an artist in the same way we would for other critical functions such as finances, public relations, style, etc. and integrate this external resource to feed our artists?
My work as a creative advisor was developed to meet this essential need. I am inspired to change the perspective of how we support our artists, to move from a complex and misunderstood environment to an environment of co-creation, empowerment and trust for artists in themselves and in collaboration with their teams.
Other creative practitioners who work in this space range from more well-known therapies like psychology and counseling, to kinesiology, meditation, breathing, somatic healing and holistic body therapies. Each has their own unique approach to meeting specific client needs.
Many artists live from their internal epicenter of emotions and sensations. They are not crazy. They have a visionary spirit and an internal perception of the world adapted to be able to create great art. Staying connected to these emotions, while navigating the commercialization of their art, requires conscious commitment and persistence.
An artist not connected to this center is a blocked, sick and unhappy creative being. When an artist feels connected to their creativity, understands their values, has the skills to take root and feels secure and trusts their team… it creates a harmonious system for all.
For managers curious about how to start making this change within their own teams, the first step is to strike up a conversation about holistic wellness with your artists. It’s like setting up a face-to-face or virtual date (note, no drinks) and asking the questions: How could you feel more supported in your career right now? What are your mental, physical, emotional AND creative challenges? What are you struggling with? What might the support look like for you?
The more we ask these kinds of questions and respond sensitively to their answers, the more independent and inspired your artist will feel and the more pleasant they will be to deal with.
As an artist it takes a ton of courage lay bare your soul, your private moments and your life experience with the world, knowing that they will be judged, scrutinized, ignored or God forbid not to be taken care of by triple j. When this extraordinary courage is understood, nurtured, and actively supported, you can weather storms together.
We cannot change the erratic demands and nature of the music business overnight, nor change the nonlinear, complex and sensitive phenomenon that is the creative process, but a good place to start is to change the way we work. see this delicate resource. and the people we rely on to create the life energy that sustains this vital industry.