Home Emotional music As a new mental health pandemic emerges, music may be a way forward

As a new mental health pandemic emerges, music may be a way forward


The emotional weight of recent years mixed with the reality of a developing Russian-Ukrainian war brings to the fore a new pandemic, that of mental health. The general population as well as healthcare workers – mind and body professionals – are overwhelmed and overworked. The global median number of mental health workers is 13 per 100,000 people according to the WHO Mental Health Atlas. New research from Boston University’s School of Public Health shows depression rates in America have risen from 8.5% in 2019 to 32.8%, more than tripling since 2020, prompting government officials to plead . “As a parent and as a doctor, I am deeply concerned that the barriers facing this generation of young people are particularly difficult to overcome and the impact this is having on their mental health is devastating,” he said. said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently before US lawmakers.

Hiding indoors for months during the pandemic has left many people alone, disconnected from humanity, and uncomfortable in their own skin. The mechanism of the collective social bond is broken – but not without a solution in plain sight.

Can music help? “Music is a way to bypass our rational side and get in touch with the emotional life that we often keep hidden,” said Alan Turry, executive director of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University. , “if people are having trouble, there’s usually a way that music can help.

Delivering music as medicine is a job like no other – a job that requires a perspective that goes way beyond ego and Michelin-style dedication to the craft. In 2016, Louis Kevin Celestin alias Kaytranada released his first official album, 99.9%, on XL Recordings and opened up about his sexuality, “I should just stop lying to myself, I thought,” Kaytranada says in candid interview on Swing in the morning“I drank every night [on tour] and I realized that maybe that was why I was so depressed.

By this time Kaytranada was being called upon by Madonna to open his tour, his remix of Janet Jackson’s “If” had already gone viral digitally, on global dance floors and at festivals – leaving the days of Kaytradamus and Kaytra Todo on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube a distant memory.

Resurfacing the concept of musical discovery for many by delicately blending recognizable yet mysterious danceable sounds, Kaytranada became a seemingly overnight success after grinding for nearly a decade and in 2021 won the Grammys for Best Album. dance / electronic for BOUBA and Best Dance Recording for the album’s single, “10%”, featuring Kali Uchis.

“You have to do it to get it,” Kaytra said on the Zoom video when asked about how he persevered in the music industry, “you have to participate – and if you need help, you will have to do certain things – it’s a lot of give and take.” Recognizing that his team is a key part of his success, Kay remains associated with manager, William Robillard-Cole, agent, Evan Hancock, and other other main confidants who have been at his side since the beginning of his musical career.

Known in some circles as a producer, others as a DJ – and more broadly as Kay might prefer – as an artist, Kaytranada has amassed over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify with the top song featuring featured Syd from The Internet, garnering over 100 million plays.

There’s something special about Kaytranada – their sound, approach and outlook are a powerful combination for navigating a gold-plated music industry shrouded in incongruous red tape. Having a unique sound to extend a musical career is key to staying relevant and Kaytranada’s is unmistakably unmistakable. What Jon Pareles told the New York Times

described as distorted disco, Kaytranada carefully blends a moody panoramic synthesizer with the iconic [now discontinued] The bouncing bass sound of the Roland 808 is the most recognizable sonic characteristic of his music.

“When properly mixed and tuned, the effects of the 808 bass can be extremely powerful,” said music composer Tyler Connaghan in his What is an 808 article, “great 808 bass sound can shake club walls and rattle trunk speakers.” Yotam Dov, founder of WeRaveYou, writes that “research has shown that bass produces feelings of power and confidence in listeners, creating a sense of invincibility. In studies, songs with heavy bass sounds have been played and the results compared to songs with very light bass – when exposed to heavy bass, subjects described feeling dominant, powerful and in control. is impossible to miss. This route is the road less traveled but has already been taken by artists like Daft Punk and Disclosure, as well as collectives like Soulection whose Apple Music 1 radio show hosted by Joe Kay has put on music. hundreds of niche producers and artists on the global music map. [and major label A&R radars] During the last decade.

“I always loved what he did musically – it was unique and he had his own voice,” says Derrick Aroh, SVP of A&R at RCA Records who signed Kaytranada to the label in 2018. voice without having a voice [on the records] and a legion of dedicated fans and as the world opens up more – the genius of where he can shine will be evident, Kay is a versatile performer and an amazing live act. Live music is slowly making a comeback and maybe that’s what everyone needs. “Entertaining people and just seeing it live is wonderful,” Kaytranada says, “it really saved my life, so at least I got that, you know, it’ll keep my feet up on earth.” Sometimes pulling in six figures a set, Kay is spiritually grounded and lucratively employed as a sound healer.

Artists who are just left of center need to be positioned differently for lasting mental and professional health. “The more value you can add to someone else’s career, the better the outcome for everyone,” said Grammy-nominated composer, producer and bassist Bobby Wooten III. David Bryne’s American Utopia on Broadway. “Music is just a language, another tool.” To exist between the mainstream and the underground as a creative in a pandemic is about meeting people where they are and being intuitive about your offerings, “having a skill first and honing in that will help inform any other creative outlets you have or want to explore,” said Brooklyn-based actor, singer and model Iman Freeman.

While many struggle to deal with internal depression and collective struggle, music and other forms of expression can be a helpful entry point. Social impact consultant Joy Sian, based in Baltimore, Maryland, used this time to revisit art through difficult times by thinking about the story of it all, “what did people have created during war or civil unrest and how did people react to it?” Recently transplanted from San Francisco, Sian has also found healing and comfort by connecting with and checking out the community in her new city.

For others, like visual artist Shawna X and mother of two, depression can be a positive aspect for communities to propel growth: “I think depression is part of our humanity, it’s important for us to enter and discover what is hidden. When society learns to accept depression and work with it, it is an empowering experience.