We’re going to hit it off with a taste of something that will be a regular item: an Industry Professional writing a short piece on whatever they feel worth sharing, a.k.a ‘Voice (from the Industry)’. Anna Oosterling kicks off with a short Voice on Mental Health issues within the Music Industry.

‘In the 5-6 years that I have been touring and giving lectures on touring, one fundamental part of the job has always presented the most input for debate. Most will argue the Tour Manager is there first and foremost for the artist, putting the artist first to ensure a great show. Sure, you’re balancing the interests of all parties involved, but most importantly you are there to keep the artist happy and healthy. Because in the end: no artist = no show = no job.

Having worked with various artists in different stages of their career, dealing with their personal lives on a day-to-day basis, I started wondering whether we are looking at the job the wrong way. Of course, as a Tour Manager, you have to be a great communicator, organized and resourceful when it comes to scheduling, making equipment deals, handling flight delays, etc. But truth be told, when it comes to dealing with situations like manic episodes and drug addictions, we tend to walk away cursing: ‘I didn’t sign up for this shit’.

So what did we sign up for exactly?

Mental illness, alongside physical illness, has always been and will always be part of the music industry. Artist and tour managers will straight up answer questions about mental health issues they have to deal with and acknowledge mental health issues amongst their artists. You learn about this over time and then regard these illnesses as a given. But what is causing – or worsening – these mental illnesses? Is the industry too ignorant about the issues, unaware or just uninformed? Should we be looking at new ways of approaching mental health? Do you need a touring therapist just as much as you need a sound engineer?

Are we too focused on teaching young industry managers how to get the best money deals, while failing to provide them the knowledge and tools to keep their artists healthy and safe?

Music Industry Professional student Sherelle de Koning is researching mental illnesses within the music industry. Being the research client on the project, Get Your Act Together founder Anna Oosterling shares her view and motive for supporting her research. Sherelle is currently conducting interviews with music industry professionals. If you like to contribute and/or have something to share, send us a message.

Have a Voice of your own? Let us know!

Photo credits: Rona Lane Photography