ISPP 2015

Career Opportunities in Pharmacy

[RUSSEL] Hip-Hop has lost a number of it’s
youngest voices, from Lil Peep in 2017 to Xxxtentacion and Mac Miller in 2018 Juice
WRLD in 2019 and most recently Pop Smoke in 2020. Many of these acts talked about their mental
health issues in their music. And a lot of people are talking about whether
record labels should foot the bill for musicians’ emotional health. Denzel Curry: Labels should pretty much give
mental health a real serious look because look at how many people died because they
have mental health issues. [RUSSEL]
Genius News sat down with Florida’s Denzel Curry to find out why he believes labels should
make artists’ mental health a priority. Denzel Curry: They don’t provide like therapists
or, you know, somebody to talk to or a way to get through it. We talk about stuff we writing about, but
nobody’s really paying attention because, you know, at the end of the day it’s about
money. [RUSSEL]
And he’s far from the only rapper noting the lack of support from the labels that rely
on them as artists. Wale: Artists generate so much revenue and
I think that might be the least they can do… analyzing what the artist is going through
because a lot of us are open books. [RUSSEL]
Denzel told us how therapy helped him through one of the most difficult times in his career. Denzel Curry: “Clout Cobain” and the majority
of ‘Taboo’… around that time I was really going through a lot with my life, you know,
things I couldn’t deal with myself. Denzel Curry:
I tried to the best of my abilities to, you know, put it on record. And even then, that still didn’t help cause
I really wasn’t giving time to really sit down with myself… Then, I had a nervous breakdown. I had to go to therapy. Therapy helped a lot… Writing helps, music does help, but is it
enough? It’s not enough… That’s why you go to therapy, for an escape. [RUSSEL] And Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a
clinical psychologist at Northwestern University, agrees. DR. ZEIGLER: There is some substantial research
that demonstrates that creatives are more likely to suffer from depression and bipolar
disorder. [RUSSEL]
A 2019 study by digital music distribution platform Record Union found that an astounding
73% of independent musicians suffer from symptoms of mental illness. Another 2019 survey by ASCAP found that music
creators are 31% more likely than the general population to say that their health and wellness
have a major impact on their careers. Denzel Curry: We be going through a lot of
stuff, especially artists like myself. We have months on the road without seeing
our families, without seeing our friends. And we gotta worry about the pressures of
the next album, we gotta worry if we’re gonna recoup our money back in time, we gotta
worry if people are gonna like our stuff or not. And then we have more stuff at home on top
of that. [RUSSEL]
But despite needing these kinds of resources, musicians generally work as independent contractors
for record labels – meaning they don’t get the health insurance of full-time employees. And starting out, most artists aren’t making
enough money to pay for it themselves. MENNO: Everyone who works at the label 9-5,
goes into their office, they have healthcare. But the hundreds of artists that they have
out on the road touring, who are out there earning the money that pay all these people’s
salaries, don’t have health benefits. And I find that kind of backwards. [RUSSEL]
That’s Menno Versteeg, founder of Toronto’s Royal Mountain Records. His label has made mental health a priority. Home to indie rock acts like Mac DeMarco and
U.S. Girls, Royal Mountain gives every artist on its roster a yearly stipend of $1,500 to
pay for mental health-related expenses. MENNO: You know, I’ve had multiple friends
die from either addiction or suicide, depression on the road. I’m just a person who saw a problem because
I lived it for 20 years and wanted to try and help that problem. [RUSSEL]
Menno Versteeg founded Royal Mountain Records in 2009 and made headlines when he started
the mental wellness program in 2019. He says his artists typically use the money
towards resources like therapy or addiction counseling. There was one artist that came to me and said,
“You helped me save my life.” And it just… makes me think. [RUSSEL]
Canadians do get free healthcare, although it doesn’t cover mental health. That means the money is coming out of Menno’s
bottom line. Still, he chooses to finance his artists’
well-being because he feels it’s the right thing to do. The goal was like, treat every band the way
I would want to be treated. That was kind of the mantra. [RUSSEL]
Royal Mountain is one of, if not the, first music labels in the industry helping artists
tackle mental health in this way, making Menno’s model a first of its kind. In the rap world, there’s still some stigma
around therapy and mental wellness. But those in the game addressing the topic
are making a difference. DR. ZEIGLER: A lot of folks in the black community
don’t trust mental health providers. I think, you know, Charlamagne speaking out
is really important. When people speak up and out about these issues,
it makes more and more people comfortable. [RUSSEL]
In December 2019, the performance rights organization ASCAP launched a health and wellness program
called TuneUp that provides support groups as well as wellness services and events for
its members. While TuneUp is a great first step, there
is a lot more work that needs to be done. And we’ll have to wait and see if more music
labels will invest in similar programs and business models that nurture mental health. MENNO: I think it needs to be normalized,
it needs to be a cost of doing business. We use music as an escape but putting the pressure on us to keep producing that stuff that we initially thought to help us escape, we feel trapped. I’m Russel Abad with Genius News bringing
you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music.

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