belgian singer Stromae recently caused a sensation on the prime-time newscast in France, by openly evoking his severe depression and thoughts of suicide that recently plagued him.
Anxiety and depression are the most common pathologies now
the sick (Hell) was Stromae’s song in an hour of prime time in France. A cry to draw attention to the mental problems that the pandemic has generated or the pressure of popularity through the social networks of numerous stars.
“I’ve had suicidal thoughts/and I’m not proud of it”sang the mulatto artist, downcast by a long illness complicated by the arrival of covid-19.
Mental problems are not new in pop music. They are the ones who took the blues star Janis Joplin to a deadly drug overdose in 1970, to the suicide of Kurt Cobain of the group Nirvana, in 1994, or the long struggle with schizophrenia of brian wilsonthe creator of the Beach Boys.
In the early days of rock and roll, and for decades, musicians more or less happily hid under the image of “tortured artists.”but the new generations, In a world constantly controlled by social networks, they preferred to address those problems directly.
It is the case of Lady Gaga and his difficult beginnings as an artist, from billie eilish and their adolescent angst, Adele and his problems with alcohol.
Adele suffered from postpartum depression
Between 2017 and 2019 there were several suicides that caused the desolation of fans and the music sector: electronic music star Avicii, Keith Flint of The Prodigy, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Chester Bennington of the group Linkin Park.
“All of them died in less than three years”remember Rhian Jones, British journalist who wrote a book to help musicians, Sound Advice.
“The industry can no longer ignore its responsibility for the health of its artists, or deny the existence of specific pressures that accompany a musical career,” Add.
Several studies have shown the level of depression or mental problems suffered by professional musicians, above the average of many other sectors.
INSAART, a French body that provides psychological help to artists and technicians, claims that 72% of those surveyed in one such study showed signs of depression, compared to an average of 12% for the general population.
Another study carried out in Australia ensures that a full musical career can cut life expectancy by 20 years.
The temperament of the artists plays a not insignificant role when launching into the world of music and facing those risks. But beyond stardomprofessional musicians behind the scenes suffer from job insecurity, incessant tours, out-of-date schedules…
“Music has the reputation of being an exciting job, so there is this idea that they have to be grateful and not complain”, explains the psychologist and former manager sophie belletwho helped organize the INSAART survey.
Irma, a singer from Cameroon settled in France, assures that the worst moment is when a tour is over.
“It is an unusual life, a bubble. And coming home is complicated. explained to the AFP this artist in 2019.
“When the tour is over you ask yourself ‘why am I here?’ You feel lost in the middle of the instruments. It’s not real life,” she adds.
‘Pressure, attention, criticism’
Social networks are the megaphone of these anguishes, but they can also be their origin.
“Being in the industry, especially if you are lucky enough to be successful, comes with a lot of attention, pressure, criticism,” summarizes Frank Turner, British singer, who frankly addresses his problems in his recent song Haven’t Been Doing So Well.
“At a certain moment, after the release of my album No Man’s Land In 2019, the pressure from social media was so intense that I seriously considered throwing in the towel.” Explain.
Little by little, support groups are emerging, self-help organizations, such as Help Musicians in Great Britain, or Backline in the United States.
“It can be tempting for managers and agents to put on lots of gigs to make up for losses” caused by the covid-19 pandemic, explains Jones.
“But now we know that an excessively busy schedule (…) is a potential disaster from a health point of view”alert. (I)