A Sneak peek from the inside-out

By Melanie P. Golding

The Impacts on Mental Health

It’s mind-boggling to think that an artist’s uniqueness and art are considered competitive factors amongst other artists. The beauty of diversity and difference are qualities that we should celebrate with fellow artists. It seems odd and contradictory to think that musicians who promote individuality and freedom of expression must later become subject to an industry full of competition, but this is sadly the case. The industry can further instil a sense of unhealthy competition amongst musicians. Stepping into the limelight can feel like a privilege and sometimes impossible to achieve hence the fight is on.


There is an art to promoting oneself and retaining dignity. One must adopt a mutual attitude of respect for both the self and competitors. Artists are bound to discover musicians of similar styles to themselves but fear not! The feeling of threat can be put to positive use rather than being a hostile entity that creeps into the musician’s psyche and ends up being an unnecessary ordeal.

“There is room for more than one painting on everyone’s walls”

Melanie p. Golding

Musicians are keen to get into the spotlight as it is the sure way of becoming recognised in the field. Exposure is a must when commercialising products, but personal control and ego management are also essential. An industry full of competition can result in many mental health and esteem issues, ranging from self-doubt to becoming overly egotistical. Not to mention the many stresses of rising above your competitors with originality. Whether introvert or extrovert in personality, a sense of competition can create a sense of threat to your terrain, these can have negative responses and lead to a downward spiral of unnecessary pain. There are ways to get beyond this and to move from feeling threatened by celebrating your peers’ existence. Remember, there is room for more than one artist in everybody’s home, so how can we deal with a competitive industry? I believe you need to address the sense of competition from two angles and get things in perspective.

Internal – There is only one of you!

I recommend practising the art of self-connectedness, which involves being truly at peace with who you are. Self-connecting to your inner person and all you represent will keep you firmly rooted in your sense of self. Doing this regularly (and privately) makes you less likely to have ego growth. You need to remind yourself that there is only one unique you! You are the only person with your story and are already original. Your story and life should reflect in your songs; no one will embody the same literature. Once you have internalised you are authentic; you will feel more confident. Your confidence will feed into how you present yourself and enhance your uniqueness. A positive ‘self-actualising’ experience is created by self-worth that ultimately takes you to a higher version of yourself.

External – Peer Support

Peer support is an integral part of the solution! Supporting your fellow artists and celebrating their music will gain you much respect in your shared field, and you will feel good about it. The same can be said when in reverse, as your competitors support you. This morale boost will create positive feelings that will affect your music and performances. As you build your reputation, you will also get a great name!

Self-efficacy

Albert Bandura (1977) defined self-efficacy as an individual’s belief in their capacity to execute behaviours necessary to fulfil specific performance attainments. At the heart of self-efficacy is the person’s self-belief. A person with perceived self-efficacy will believe they can reach their goals through their capacity. Highly-talented artists will very likely have a strong sense of self-efficacy. The triangle of connected qualities includes motivation, behaviour and social environment.
Self-belief and self-efficacy are at the heart of the artist’s persona. There is, however, a fine line between exerting confidence and retaining perspective. The secret is to find the balance and learn the skill of turning the act on and off.