The Magic Mix on Soho Radio
Examining The Link Between Health and Creativity
The Magic Mix is my bi-weekly radio show on Soho Radio, where I interview DJs and musicians about their health. I created the show because most of my friends are DJs and musicians, and knowing health is my passion, they often share with me information about their health practices that might not be widely known to their audiences. From yoga to superfood smoothies to meditation, it’s rare to find a creative person who doesn’t take some measure to protect their health nowadays. The music industry is seen as a primarily hedonistic place, and while it would be ridiculous to deny the elements of debauchery that are central to this world, from where I stand (or dance) there is also a highly conscious element that I wanted to draw attention to. My aim is that by having these conversations, it will inspire and motivate us all to consider how we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones better, and potentially avoid some of the tragedies that occur when we aren’t prioritising our well-being.
Initially, my primary focus was to highlight the healthy habits of successful people: do they have a sleep schedule? Do they eat consciously? Do they exercise, spend time in nature, meditate? Those kind of fundamental questions. But quickly the conversation became much wider than that, and I feel it’s such an important discussion that’s unfolding, I wanted to go over some of the themes here.
It’s impossible to overstate how vital it is that we make time for our own physical, mental and emotional well-being. And in turn, to adjust that focus out into our community and see how we can extend that care out to the wider social environment. We keep losing artists too young, too soon, and I believe a lot of the reason why is connected to this lack of understanding of how necessary it is to prioritise self-care, and then the resulting lack of care that we are able to show to those who might need it.
I do believe we all have the capacity to be artists. Artists are simply tuning themselves to a different frequency than the survival frequency, and then expressing creatively the vibrations they pick up on. But the artistic process by nature means the artistic mentality is more fragile and vulnerable, due to its necessary sensitivity. Couple that with the fact that artists have less job security than just about any other profession, with no hourly wage and no pension plan, and then add in the pressure of live performance and the physical toll that touring takes, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. No surprise then that artists often suffer from emotional and mental health issues, and end up self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, and sex in a destructive downward spiral.
Culture is what connects us, it’s integral to our humanity, and if we want to thrive we need to protect it and nurture it, and not just see artists as profit-generating machines, or there for our own self-entitled entertainment. If we want our artists to make culture that inspires and helps energetically sustain us, we need to encourage them to safeguard their sleep cycles; eat organic alkaline plant-based foods; hydrate well; move and stretch; connect to nature; take time off; be surrounded by people who truly care about them; and keep a positive, balanced attitude. (We also need to make sure they get paid, but ascribing value to activities that aren’t obviously monetisable is a separate conversation).
Through the interviews I’ve done so far, I’ve had interesting conversations on subjects such as sleep, food, and exercise, and learnt some useful and interesting tips from hearing about others’ self-care regimes. But more than that, I’ve learnt that with fame and material success, our problems don’t diminish, actually they become amplified as the pressures of visibility increase, so that the more apparently successful a person is, the more vulnerable they are. I’ve realised that music isn’t an optional activity, it’s actually fundamental to our humanity, just as food and shelter are. And I feel even more strongly that gathering together to listen to music is necessary to build strong, healthy community, and protecting our rights and our opportunities to do so is key.
Thank you to all my guests so far to contributing to the conversation: Gilles Peterson, Benji B, Dale Pinnock, Andrew Ashong, Seven Davis Jr, Shabaka Hutchings, Gaslamp Killer, Alexander Nut, Ty, Carlos Nino, Alex Somers, Daedelus, Tawiah, Rahel (Hejira), Shiva, Ahnanse (Steamdown), Lyric L, BA Lawrence (Bikram Yoga), Samira Sharifu, Adam Vanni (Jarr Kombucha), Errol and Alex (Touching Bass), DJ Gilla (First Word Records), K15, Wyldeflower (LA), Fabrice Bourgelle, Bob Vincent, Lloyd Nwagboso, Wulumusic, Ego Ella May, Olmo Cassibba, Paul Martin (Talking Loud), Cecilia Stalin (The Fika Sessions), Emma Warren, Justin Hansohn (Anandamide).