This week we are speaking with Anna M'Queen, front woman of Five Knives, to get her perspective on mental health in the industry. Five Knives is based out of Nashville and is known for their unique blend of electronica and rock n' roll. Make sure to check out their most recent video release "Savages". We are excited to have the opportunity to talk with this local entertainer and grateful for Anna's support in bring such topics into the spotlight. With a different format this week, we decided to pose three main questions to Anna and have included her direct responses.
What particular aspects do you think contribute mental health struggles in the entertainment industry?
"I think the music industry in particular is an emotionally creative industry. Many aspects of our “crazy natured" artist minds are what bring out such relatable and touching lyrics and melodies to songs. Musicians have an outlet to use their thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams through performance and songwriting. From my perspective, great songs and performances usually stem from some sort of mental experience that was either created or made up in the mind or from a real life experience. I hate to say that creativity is linked to mental health issues, but I was able to embrace what I was going through by focusing that energy and turning it into art. I am not a psychologist, but my guess is that mental health issues are more apparent within the music industry simply because of the restless creative mind and/or life trauma and experiences from the past or present."
"From an artist’s daily lifestyle perspective, the highs and lows of touring, the ups and downs of record sales, and having to sometimes work odd jobs while off the road to stay a float definitely pose reason as to why the music industry struggles with mental health as well."
Do you have any advice for other artists and/or music industry professionals on overcoming anxiety and depression while maintaining a career in music?
"I experienced both anxiety and depression throughout my music career and my strong advice would be to refrain from substance abuse, find a support group or trusted individual to talk to when episodes strike, and to partake in daily exercise. Everything in moderation is key. The pressures of the industry to look, talk, and act a certain way can be taxing and can feel overwhelming. It is important to remember your roots and who you are as an individual and to not get confused or caught up in what someone else is trying to make you or thinks you should be."
What do you think needs to happen to overcome the stigma of talking openly about mental health issues, particularly in the industry?
"I hate that there is even a "stigma" about it. I have always been an open book to my friends, family and fans. I'm always willing share my story of overcoming mental obstacles, especially if it can encourage another individual. The key is that I have overcome my obstacles and can talk about them freely in a positive tone. I do however feel that the proper sound advice for someone currently struggling, would be to speak to a professional and to never be embarrassed or ashamed to do so. It's amazing what talking to a third party can accomplish. We all just need to rally together within the music industry without placing judgment on one another because let’s face it… whether it’s mental health issues or other personal issues, we all have our demons."