Last week The Guardian published an article from Fiona McGugan, general manager of the Music Manager’s Forum, about the mental health of musicians. The article is about the role of managers in noticing and addressing mental health problems of their artists.
“Maintaining an artist’s health is in the best interest of everyone – the label and the management as well as the artist themselves.” (Rumer Shirakbari)
Still, short-term financial interests of the manager can be in conflict with the long-term interest in the mental health of an artist. The musician has only his/her lawyer to address for really independent advise. All the other business people in the team of a musician are financial depending on the income of the musician. Who gives independent advise when it’s more personal and not about legal terms?
Becoming successful and famous gives a huge boost to the ego. It doesn’t matter much if it’s in music, politics or business. Though in (pop)music, most people still think that all problems musicians can have, will dissolve once they are famous. It’s part of the image of famous musicians. And this myths is kept alive, by musicians, press and everyone else in the music business. It’s what the business seems to thrive on.
I’m not surprised that the mental health of musicians is still a taboo. If you talk about mental health issues caused by fame, you destroy the myth. The ego-boost caused by fame, brings the personality of musicians in imbalance. The ego becomes huge while other aspects of the personality, such as intellect, emotions, body, are neglected. The imbalance encourages musicians to behave more narcissistic and look for relief in alcohol or drugs.
Many mental health issues of musicians could be prevented by spending attention to a more balanced personality. That’s what I do in coaching. But addressing the mental heath of musicians in public would destroy the myth around musicians.
What’s more important, the myth or the mental health of musicians?