As she prepares to go on tour, with dates throughout Europe, we managed to catch up with her for this week’s #FiveOnFriday. As always we’re very thankful for the honest and thoughtful answers.
You once said that due to lack of education, when you were very young having a panic attack felt like being ‘possessed by the devil’. Such a troubling and visceral analogy shows a remarkable ability to communicate something so personal given that most people can relate to it on some level. I’m wondering now that you have more experience and education on the topic, how you would describe the same experience (if possible)?
Well, thankfully now that I know more about my own anxieties, it is a lot easier to deal with. Not to say that it isn’t as frightening. There’s a reason why they’re called Panic Attacks, it’s just not as frightening as my younger self thought they were.
I know that when I’m feeling anxious, it means I have to look carefully at what I’m doing in my life and how I’m dealing with it. They remind me to be more gentle and patient with myself. I would describe them now as my inner child gripping my hand and asking me to just slow down a bit.
Returning to a lack of education on the topic – many people, including yourself, have noted the fact that despairingly we often have to experience depression and related issues in order to understand anything about them. Can you tell us anything that helped you understand what you were experiencing, and how we might be able to incorporate that when dealing with younger people and mental health?
Talking. Speaking out about what I was going through practically saved my life. Even if it’s just to one person that you trust. It’s so important to learn that asking for help is okay. Communication is key. Also practising mindfulness. Doing one thing every day that just calms your mind for a moment. Find that inner silence.
First Fortnight believes in the power of the arts, both therapeutically and in broadcasting a message socially. You have said that music is a release, it relieves stress but also that you can nurture it and watch it grow. How has your relationship with music evolved over time, and do you ever get frustrated with it?
Well, over the years, I’ve grown to understand music more. I’ve become really obsessed with details and textures whilst creating my own, it’s taught me to listen to music in a different way. I always try to listen out for little subtleties, which I really enjoy doing. Although, because it’s a part of who I am, I can of course become frustrated and impatient when I can’t find that flow. It can be like trying to get water out of a rock at times. But I always try to take a step back and bring it back to the basics. It’s so easy to over complicate things when your heads too involved. Gotta try and find the lil brain that’s in your heart.
You seem to be in a good place career-wise at the moment yet you have spoken about how at the beginning you found yourself under the weight of label pressures, and how it was really impacting on your social and personal life to the point that you became quite ill. What made you keep your faith in this as a career – and what advice would you give to young musicians who might be struggling under the pressures of similar burdens?
I found and still do find comfort in knowing that, no matter what happens, the music will always be a part of me. Whether I’m playing to 10 or 1000 people or even to myself in my bedroom, the art of being creative is such a blessing in itself. To be able to express myself in such a way is just amazing! I feel truly blessed when playing my guitar. Lucky for art. Lucky for experience and just life in general.
Even when it’s hard and I feel like I’m going crazy, I still have my music and so long as I’m creating it for my own heart, then that’s the main thing. It’s helped me to believe in myself which is so important! Aim big but stay grounded and things will fall into place. It may take time, but as long as your intentions are in the right place and you’re willing to work really fucking hard, then you’ll find that the universe will reward you.
And the 5th Question…
We know it’s never easy but it’s the standard 5th question in the #FiveonFriday to ask for you to choose 3 songs (from any time in your life) that you would reach out for to listen to if you weren’t feeling on top form. Which tunes would you go for?