One of the saddest days in music history was hearing the story behind artist Avicii’s death in 2018. Avicii talks about the first years of performing as his best, mainly due to the fact that he didn’t drink and looked after himself because he didn’t want to screw his sets up. Avicii was performing at smaller clubs and his music was starting to saturate the globe, fast forward a few years and the toxic environment lead to his death. Why? Why do we let this happen? I believe we need to make mental health and prevention the priority and save more lives in the music industry.

As a passionate artist coach and mentor, I have become increasingly concerned about the health of artists in the music business. How far they are being pushed, and why we are not making their mental health a priority. At least 73% of independent musicians struggle with mental illness, according to a new study. Specifically within the 18-25 age range, the percentage climbed to a staggering 80%.

So rather than sit back, surely we need to create more proactive prevention strategies for artists that devote their lives to performing around the world, and filling up our music libraries.

Here are 4 strategies I would integrate:

  • As a manager, schedule two hours a week with your artisto talk about where they are at emotionally. If you find it hard to open up and help them be vulnerable, then find someone that can and keep them on the team. Being comfortable with being vulnerable is crucial for progression and mental health.
  • Get super savvy with schedules and clear on what’s overkill. Discuss coping strategies straight off the bat before a tour. Plan out a self care routine and make it a habit. Sleep deprivation is a killer, causing depression, anxiety and builds up over time so when touring and playing in front of thousands of people, none of it feels good, and the tendency is to lean towards drugs and alcohol.
  • If you know an artist is prone to excess drinking – eliminate excess alcohol from the rider. Alcohol is a depressant, remember that. Longevity in any career, keeping up with momentum and staying focused means sticking to a healthy self care plan and overindulging in moderation.

Overindulge in Moderation.

  • Make a plan to tackle loneliness and feelings of homesick. Long periods of travel away from family and friends plus exhaustion is a recipe for depression and over thinking. Schedule time for FaceTime, self care including meditation and connecting with the people in your life that you love. All of the support is medicine and keeps you connected.

After years of working in the industry both behind the scenes and performing, I can relate to the needs of an artist and how a few tweaks can change their life. Now I am on a mission to prevent and facilitate positive mental health in the industry.

Have any questions? Whats your strategy? I would love to hear feedback on what you are doing that’s making a positive difference. This is a topic that we need to focus on and make sure we have solid plans in place to support talent around the globe.

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Nancy Lipman has a career spanning over 20 years in the music, media and corporate industries identifying, developing, coaching and mentoring high-calibre talent both locally and internationally.

A DJ, personal development and business guru, Nancy has run her own successful artist agency since 2011. Strategically and intuitively understanding her clients, with laser like focus on wellbeing, Nancy is on a mission to create positive, successful careers for artists in the music industry. 

Nancy is the founder of WingWoman, a coaching and mentoring company supporting the business and personal life of an artist in the music industry.