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James Blake calls on record labels to fund artists’ therapy

James Blake has called on record labels to “fund therapy” for their artists.

The 35-year-old Grammy winner has previously spoken about his own struggles with his mental health, and he believes labels that “profit from our trauma” should foot the bill for their healing.

He wrote on X: “You shouldn’t get to profit from our trauma without helping with the pitfalls of it.”

James added: “Live agents and managing companies too. All of them have a vested interest in the artist becoming more successful, which means disconnected from support systems/family/friends by being thrown into a strange, disconnected world of touring and parasocial media.

“I’m not suggesting a label provide their sanctioned therapist to be clear just that they should fund therapy.”

The ‘Retrograde’ singer previously opened up about the period in his career when his mental health spiralled from trying to maintain a “cool” stage persona.

James suffered from social anxiety in the past and wasn’t “great to talk to at the time” and put pressure on himself to be the “coolest version” of himself “possible”.

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music in 2021, in observance of World Mental Health Day, James shared: “And so, the chasm between the person that you’re presenting as your personality to the public, and the person you really are when the mic is off, and you go home, and you’ve got to deal with your own problems, becomes grander and grander.

“And it’s just like for me, the thing was, the difference between my musical, cool, doing loads of collabs, and producing blah, blah, blah, and doing dub, electronic music, and good reviews, and all that stuff, and me just spiralling … and actually not being that great to talk to at the time, and not really having anything to say, and just having loads of social anxiety, but then going on stage and just being the coolest version of myself possible.

“And you’re rewarded financially for that in a lot of cases. I think it’s Pavlovian. It’s like the more you get the treat, the more you return to that behaviour. I think the answer for me, was to decide that I was okay with not getting the treat, and that I would decide to stop pretending that I was like, whatever part of me it was that was saying, okay, I need to appear this way to be as perfect as the kids at school thought I wasn’t, or I’m going to be cooler than… Whatever.”

The singer-songwriter went through a period of doing “the worst things” for his mental health, such as drinking too much alcohol, overeating, and not exercising.

Meanwhile, James has recently partnered with Vault, a new artist-to-fan platform, to offer fans direct access to his music for a monthly subscription of $5.

He also called out platforms like Spotify for taking huge chunks of money from artists’ streaming revenues.

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