Blues rock singer Kanchan Daniel explains psychological challenges of musicians

May 14, 2018, 16:00 IST | Shunashir Sen

Shrink by day, singer by night to discuss psychological challenges of musicians

Kanchan Daniel
Kanchan Daniel

The world went into collective shock last year when Chester Bennington hanged himself. The frontman of rock band Linkin Park had shown no signs of depression in the days leading up to his death. In fact, there was even a video that surfaced a few days later, showing him playing with his children, laughing and joking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. But like a termite eats through a piece of furniture, there must have been some monumental sense of grief eating him up. It’s just that, heartbreakingly, his loved ones failed to recognise it. And Bennington himself thought his condition to be so hopeless that he suspended his will to live.

It was an extreme case, of course. But being a musician can often be fraught with a number of psychological problems that need to first be acknowledged, and then addressed. That’s the unique subject of a masterclass that Kanchan Daniel, a blues-rock singer who is a clinical psychologist by day, will conduct at a music school in Lower Parel later this week.

“Musicians and creative professionals are more vulnerable to intense psychological problems, such as mood disorders, anxiety, eating disorders and stress. And what happens is that as a musician, you might face those challenges at a basic level, so you don’t want to label them as disorders yet. But the thing is that we get so tied up in listening to the musician’s art that sometimes we ignore what’s going on with the person,” Daniel says, adding that this can eventually exacerbate the issues he or she is saddled with.

What a musician can thus do to be one step ahead, Daniel continues, is stop sensationalising these conditions by throwing the terms around as if they were confetti at a wedding.

“Secondly, believe in your social support system and educate yourself about mental illnesses early. And lastly, don’t label yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you face any challenges. It’s important to share your problems, but it becomes really difficult to speak out sometimes because of the stigma attached to it. And you know, just saying the word stigma makes it a stigma — the condition stigmatises itself,” she ends.
ON May 16, 7.30 pm
AT The True School of Music, Sun Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
CALL 66243200

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