Sound Advice – written by music industry journalist Rhian Jones and PhD researcher and musician Lucy Heyman and published by Shoreditch Press on February 28 – is a health-focused performance and career manual for aspiring and established musicians and those that work with them. Sound Advice has been edited by Popjustice founder Peter Robinson and academic, musician and author, Gareth Dylan Smith. Here's the press release...
A bang up to date guide to the increasingly diverse structure of the music industry with advice on improving performance skills, money management, cultivating creativity, social media, dealing with criticism, fame and fans, Sound Advice also explores the mental and physical health problems many musicians may face in their careers. Chapters cover substance use and addiction, eating disorders and body image, musculoskeletal issues and touring, vocal and hearing health, among other subjects. Through research-informed advice and information, Sound Advice aims to help enable artists to prioritise their mental and physical health while cultivating successful, sustainable and fulfilling careers.
Sound Advice includes original interviews with leading researchers, health experts, business executives and a host of artists including Laura Mvula, Will Young, Imogen Heap, Wayne Hector, MNEK, Nina Nesbitt, Lauren Aquilina, Ella Eyre, Jonathan Higgs, and Lady Leshurr, among others. Readers will also find quotes and advice from a long list of successful artists including Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Amanda Palmer, Matty Healy, Gary Numan, Billie Eilish, James Blake, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, George Ezra, Loyle Carner, Alicia Keys, Dave, and Mabel. The book has been widely supported by some of the biggest companies in music: Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Live Nation, IFPI, Spotify, Hipgnosis Songs, Vevo, PRS for Music, Polydor Records, the BRIT Trust, and PPL.
Rhian Jones: "I had the idea for this book after closely following the ongoing music and health conversation. 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. 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."
Lucy Heyman: "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. 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."
About the Authors
Rhian Jones is a respected journalist who specialises in the business of music. She regularly contributes to The Guardian, Music Business Worldwide and Hits Daily Double. She started her professional career at trade title Music Week, where she became news editor, before embarking on a full time freelance career in 2015. She also writes for The Independent, Vice, The Sunday Telegraph and Billboard. This is her first book and proudest work to date.
Lucy Heyman is a vocal and performance coach, musician and lecturer. Her PhD research at the Royal College of Music focuses on the health and wellbeing support of popular musicians and she has original research published on this topic. Lucy is founder of industry health and performance consultancy Elevate, and hosts the Elevate Music Podcast with guests including Imogen Heap, Dodie, Shaun Ryder, Nina Nesbitt and more. Lucy is a member of the BRIT Awards voting academy and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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