Musicians and Depression
This morning I was perusing my usual music pages, when I stumbled across an interesting article. It was an article about how musicians are three times more likely to suffer from some form of depression. Now, as a musician, I always knew depression in the music scene was there, but I had no idea to that extent.
Now, I can completely understand, as being an artist or musician is quite hard on someone. When you are first trying to get your name out there, there are so many things working against you, which itself can become overwhelming.
First, no one knows who you are, and are less likely to come see you. Playing a show to an empty room, as you can imagine, is not fun, and a blow to your ego and self-esteem. Unfortunately, this is the way it works in the music industry until you start building more and more momentum.
Secondly, if you become involved with the drugs and alcohol side of things, that will only amplify those feelings of depression. At the time of doing the drugs or alcohol, it may give you that temporary relief or easement of those feelings, and I think that’s one of the reasons musicians become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s an easy escape, but that escape often comes at a severe price.
Now I think the biggest attribute to depression in fledgling artists and musicians is money, and the first topic above ties into this. Being an unknown artist or band, means you make very little money. You make very little, to play for no one, and you often spend more money to get to the shows than what you make. So basically, you are LOSING money. Obviously since you’re not making money, you are not able to afford decent food, and an improper diet can lead to depression also.
Also with being a touring musician, comes the strain on personal relationships. I cannot tell you how many relationships have been destroyed over this. I think a lot of women/men really like the IDEA of being with a touring musician. In theory, it does sound enticing, I suppose. But when the reality of just how much work comes into sustaining that relationship becomes apparent, it often almost immediately dissolves. It is a lot of time away and trust plays a HUGE factor. Most pro bands are out on the road for a year, sometimes even a year and a half, or even two years at a time.
Most people think that musicians write sad songs just to sell albums, when in all reality, they are truly writing from the heart. I don’t think a lot of people truly understand what it really takes to be an artist or musician. It takes a special kind of person to do it for a living. But, as long as you keep your head up, it’s totally worth it, not to mention fun.
Davey Jones, Guitar player for Crowfly
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