A month ago I found myself meeting the artists behind some of my favourite music that I’ve written about over the past couple of years. When I was writing about their music it never really registered that my words might actually make a difference. Even when writing about music that you love and feel a deep connection to there’s still a real disconnect at work. So to have artists tell you in person how much your comments mean to them, and even quote them back to you word for word, was such a moving and gratifying encounter. It’s one of the many reasons that night was the highlight of my year. However, to then sink back into the daily grind, I found myself dwelling on the ordinary, everyday struggles.
A lot of the music sent to bloggers is a ‘send to all’ type affair, often lacking much of any discernible human touch, which does get a bit demoralising when it fills up your inbox. Thankfully there are still plenty of lovely actual people who get in touch (At least, I assume they’re people, not cutting edge AI or hyper intelligent marmosets). When receiving a note of thanks from an artist/label/pr etc regarding a particular post, it is certainly appreciated, and is often enough to make my day. However that the person sending me music is relatively speaking a complete stranger that lives hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away and odds are that I will likely never meet them. I’ve made some dear friends from all over the world through the magic of the internet, but there are days that loneliness hits you when just staring at names on a screen.
I feel like the music industry isn’t nearly as glamorous as people like to make out, and loneliness is something that pervades through to all corners of the industry. Not just for other folks sat at computers for much of the day in various different job roles, but also for artists themselves. Just going from a great night at a gig chatting with artists back to everyday life felt like coming down to Earth, so I can only imagine what it must feel like going from having a crowd of people showing their appreciation for you and your work to then come crashing down into the suffocating monotony of normal life. To live a life of such extremes must be such a draining experience. Perhaps another contributing factor as to why the music industry seems so susceptible to mental health struggles.
Another major issue lies in comparing yourself to others. Maybe it’s the fact that maintaining a blog means you never really switch off, or the fact that social media plays such a key role in our work, that you end up looking at others as a milestone for success. You begin questioning yourself: “why haven’t I had the same opportunities and achievements?”, “why don’t I have as many likes/followers?”, “why can’t my content be as good as theirs?”. As much as you tell yourself that those things don’t matter, that everyone has their own unique path to follow, it doesn’t stop that little nagging voice in the back of your head.
Life is like the hour hand of a clock. If you spend all your time watching for progress then you’re not likely to see any. It’s only when you turn your attention to other things that you can come back and say “gosh, is that the time?”. Sadly when you’re ticking away at the daily grind you have more of those ‘stare at the clock’ kinda days than you’d like.
There are many legitimate complaints that come with running a music blog, but it’s my passion and I couldn’t see myself doing anything otherwise. When you’re doing something you love and are following your dreams, but still have more than a few days when you find yourself wondering whether anything you do matters, it serves to show that depression and the like strike indiscriminately. And whether it’s because the music industry is a competitive cutthroat world, or we’ve just all been lead to believe so and don’t want to open up and appear vulnerable, it’s not something that is talked about enough. There’s a person behind this site, people behind all the music featured on it, and presumably a person reading this right now. All those people have their own struggles to deal with, I just wish sometimes we had the courage to share those struggles in the hope of facing them together.