So, Iggy Azalea?
It’s been a long time since I have heard her name pop up in music industry conversations and I didn’t expect to see recent articles discussing her experiences with her mental health over the past several years. However, Billboard recently did an interview with her to discuss her struggles over the past several years and her hopes for a comeback.
‘We’re at the top of the mountain, and we have to stay at the top,’” she says. “I slid down the mountain a bit.”
Her career hit a new level 2014 when her album, The New Classic, had three top 40s hits, including her summer hit song “Fancy.” Azalea performed at Lollapalooza, Summer Jam, and iHeartRadio Music Festival, and was featured on Ariana Grande’s hit single, “Problem.” Along with these successes and four Grammy nominations, she announced her first arena tour for her second album. However, this tour never had the chance to happen.
I won’t go into details about the specific incidences, but there were many accusations of cultural appropriation, numerous twitter feuds and other disagreements with press and other artists. At the end of May 2015, she announced that her upcoming arena tour was canceled because of issues with the creative direction; however, tells Billboard now that there was more to that decision. Her 2014 run was full of successes but her releases in 2015 were not nearly comparable. Between the exhaustion from 2014, the failures of 2015 and difficulties with writing her album, Azalea was mental and physically worn out.
In the music industry, we typically see two types of careers: those that grow steadily for a long period of time and those that peak quickly for a short time. Azalea went from being a minor artist to becoming the major white woman rapper in less than a year. That peak had an end and it occurred at the beginning of 2015.
The part of the article that really caught my attention was her discussion about her stay at a mental health retreat that her management set up for her. Azalea picked up Philymack to replace her old management company and her new managers encouraged her to attend a planning meeting in Arizona. However, when she arrived, the meeting was less for planning and more of an intervention. Her managers expressed concern over her anger and general mental health. They assured her that they had confidence in her music and creative abilities, but that they needed her to be in a better mental place before continuing forward with her album. After some disagreement, she did attend a two week program with mental health professionals where she discussed her childhood and how it has affected her current mental state.
“It was good to say something to somebody who could give me the tools and information on how to make my life manageable when I’m feeling those things.”
The point I would like to make is that being an artist is not a stable career. One year you can own the world and the next year everyone could forget your name. This instability can have major effects on artists’ lives, both mental and financially. Especially during drastic changes in your career, it can be vital to seek out professional help. Also, it is important for management teams to recognize changes in their artists and know the proper resources to help their artists through these situations. This will not only benefit the artist personally, but give an artist the tools to focus on their career in a healthy manner.