Interview
Image courtesy of the artist.

5 Nigerian Artists Open Up About Mental Health

Olamide, Joeboy, Jahblend, WurlD and Tems tell us how they keep up their mental health as public figures in the Nigerian music industry.

According to a 2016 study, musicians are three more times likely to undergo psychotherapy than the average person. While being wrongly perceived and stigmatized as "western sickness," discussions about mental health awareness have made considerable improvements in the Nigerian music scene in recent years. As more artists shed light on the subject through personal accounts and counsel, the music industry is expected to prioritize the psychological balance of artists as they're the industry's lifeblood. Even more so following what an unfathomable year 2020 has been for most people.

Nigerian artists are typically heaped with a slew of battles that range between maintaining momentum in an ever-evolving industry, falling through the cracks, cutting through the noise of a saturated industry, balancing personal and public expectations, absorbing public scrutiny, the lows and highs of performing and connecting with audiences, meeting label/investor, media, fan expectations, and more. For many, it begins with seemingly insignificant thoughts which snowball into anxiety that in turn imperils their productivity and basically career.

In May, Atlanta-based label LoveRenaissance (LVRN) launched its mental health offshoot focused on psychological wellness, providing therapy and life coaching for its staff and artists which include Santi, 6lack, and Summer Walker. "In the Black community—I'm Nigerian—therapy or mental health isn't something we speak of. It's almost like breaking down that wall and trying something new," says Tunde Balogun, co-founder of LVRN.

Staying the cause, Olamide, Joeboy, Jahblend, WurlD, and Tems speak to OkayAfrica, divulging personal experiences, sentiments and how the Nigerian music industry can foster mental health awareness amongst artists.

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