Industry pros release guide to ‘healthy career in music’
Industry journalist Rhian Jones and performance coach/consultant Lucy Heyman have unveiled Sound Advice, a two-years-in-the-making manual to building a healthy and happy career in the music business.
Sound Advice: The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy and Successful Career in Music, available to preorder now from Shoreditch Press, is an up-to-date guide on the structure of the modern music industry, with advice on improving performance skills, money management, cultivating creativity, social media and dealing with criticism, fame and fans.
The book also explores the mental and physical health problems many musicians, and those who work with them, may face in their careers – such as substance use and addiction, eating disorders and body image, musculoskeletal issues and touring, and vocal and hearing health – and includes interviews with leading researchers, health experts, music execs and artists, including Will Young, Imogen Heap, Lady Leshurr, Laura Mvula, Nina Nesbitt, Ella Eyre and Lauren Aquilina.
Through research-informed advice and information, Sound Advice aims to help music professionals “prioritise their mental and physical health while cultivating successful, sustainable and fulfilling careers”, say the authors.
“I had the idea for this book after closely following the ongoing music and health conversation,” explains Jones, a contributor to MBW, Hits, Billboard and IQ. “It made total sense to me for a business that is predicated on developing and nurturing the talent of creatives to prioritise the health and wellbeing of those creatives.
“If an artist gets physically or mentally sick and can’t work, the people and businesses around them lose money, so it surprised me to find out that there didn’t seem to be many (if any) sanctions in place that were there for the sole purpose of fostering an artist’s good health. And it’s been heartbreaking to witness the many premature deaths of much-loved music talents over recent years.
“As the health and music conversation has gained further traction, lots of interesting ideas have been discussed and various initiatives have launched. Still, there’s little in the way of prevention. This is where we hope Sound Advice will play a part.
“There are no health-focused career guides for those working in popular music, so we aim to plug that gap”
“Education is a vital element in preventing health issues before they escalate, and we’ve aimed to provide that through a combination of research, interviews, professional advice and resources. As far as we know, there are no health-focused career guides for those working in popular music, so we aim to plug that gap while also outlining how vital good health is in the pursuit of a happy, healthy and, therefore, ultimately successful life.”
“Research suggests that musicians may face a large number of mental and physical health issues in their careers, but the majority of these problems are preventable with the right information and support,” comments Heyman, a vocal and performance coach, musician and lecturer. “I wanted to create an easily accessible book that was informed by scientific research and included the lived experiences of musicians, along with the advice and guidance of leading experts and signposts to further support.
‘Studies have shown that, as well as health, musicians want support with the performance side of their career, so we worked with leading psychologists to provide a section which focuses on topics including managing performance anxiety, increasing confidence onstage, overcoming creative blocks, improving practice and more. This section may be particularly useful to musicians who’ve been unable to perform due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and who might need extra support when they return to live performances. We hope that this book will become an essential manual for any musician to give them the correct advice, signposting and treatment of issues as soon as possible should they need it.”
John Reid, president of Live Nation Europe, is one of a number of live music execs to have praised Sound Advice, describing the book as “informative, accessible and, at times, highly entertaining. We have a responsibility to create a healthy and sustainable working environment, [and] music is no different to any other business.
“Sound Advice will be a valuable asset to all those artists and executives alike, trying to navigate a safe, successful and sustainable way through our world.”
Sound Advice is released on February 28. To preorder your copy in paperback, hardback or as an ebook, click here.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.