Oshawa Music Week talks mental health, music

(From left) Jeff Dalziel (in hat), Abdominal, Sarah Budden and Mike Trebilcock discussing music. Photo credit: Tara Sottile

A panel of creators from the music industry offered insight and answers into how mental health plays a role in their everyday lives during a talk at Oshawa Music Week.

Ace Piva, a member of Over the Bridge: Addiction and Mental Health in Music, hosted the panel. He was joined by music producer Jeff Dalziel, musician Mike Trebilcock, hip-hop artist Abdominal, and singer-songwriter Sarah Budden. They discussed how creating music has helped them during times of mental health struggles.

“It’s all about honesty, it’s about putting out there what you’re actually feeling,” said Budden when talking about why it’s important to write music.

“I don’t want people to feel a way when I play a song, I want them to have their own interpretation of it,” she said. Budden added that writing music is a huge release for her. It allows her to put a name on how she’s feeling on a bad day.

Abdominal said going back to a place of darkness and writing about how he was feeling during that time is difficult to do, but he describes the moment after creating music as a relief.

“It can be a very painful dark place to be when writing a song,” he said. “It becomes a happy thing instead of a hurtful thing.”

Budden said some people don’t have the support they need by their side so they have to depend on themselves.

“Writer’s block happens when there’s something more going on in your mind, and the issues are getting worse,” she said.

The audience was full of students who want to get into the field of music management, and because of that producer Jeff Dalziel pointed out few things.

“There are people that can take care of us,” Dalziel said, “but there’s people who can and will take advantage of that.”

There are people who often take for granted others who work for them, according to Budden, adding that everyone in the industry is human.

“I think valuing each other as humans and not just pay cheques is a huge thing in this,” she said.

One piece of advice that Music Business student Laurie Bélanger took away from the panel was to make sure you have a second passion.

“You should have something that you’re passionate about, just like music, to fall back on and take time for that hobby,” she said.

Diesel said there are many artists who will say yes to anything just to get their names out there, but when they are pushed too far and too hard, that’s when mental health issues get pushed aside.

“It’s your job to protect artists that you’re working with. They’ll say yes to anything because they are people pleasers,” sad Ace Piva. He reminded students that just because the artists they’re working with say yes to everything, doesn’t mean they should be doing everything.