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Wyclef & Jerry Wonda Open Up About Mental Health In The Music Industry At Backline’s “Set Break” Livestream Event

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New York, NY-- Over the weekend, Backline hosted their first-ever

livestream event, “Set Break,” on The Relix Channel, exclusively on Twitch—which featured live performances from all over the world, public service announcements from music industry professionals, and immersive wellness experiences. The 10+ hour event, which was produced in partnership with Dayglo Presents and Clubhouse Global, and featured performances from The Relix Studio, Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, The Ace Hotel DTLA, and Winston House, generated over 1.8 million live views and 9.2 million minutes watched on the streaming platform.

With performances by Leon Bridges, Alanis Morissette, Wyclef + Jerry Wonda, Black Pumas, Old Dominion, Sara Bareilles, and special appearances from Tom Morello, Portugal. The Man, Laura Leezy (Khruangbin), Set Break brought together a chorus of music industry professionals to honor the experiences of community members and break the stigma around mental health in the community.
Never before has the music community come together to share so vulnerably, and Backline is committed to continuing both the conversations around mental health in the industry, and the programs they have created to serve this need.

Here are a few notable takeaways:

Wyclef Jean performed Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” and Santana’s “Maria Maria” with Fugees band mate and mental health advocate Jerry Wonda. To open the performance, Wyclef spoke on having spent time in the studio in Sweden with Avicii, and shared a poignant reflection with viewers:

“We all have friends that are no longer here with us, that had a very tough year last year… this event is important because it affects all of us. Everybody that is watching this right now, knows one person that has been affected by mental health.”

Yola, Grammy-nominated British singer/songwriter, on the importance of Backline’s partnership with Black Mental Health Alliance:

“It’s quite possible you’ve had to navigate something suboptimal, squish it all down, so that you’re calm and detail the specifics of your ethnicity, sherpa someone through their cognitive bias, all whilst not triggering their fragility--so, it’s really good news that Backline are training mental health providers and making sure that their resources are widely available. After all, music lifts us all up. We would not have gotten through the pandemic without music. So, who is lifting up the people that make music happen?”

Jason Garner, Artist Manager, Author, Former CEO Global Music Live Nation:

“Over the last 12 months of the pandemic, it’s become more profound this need that our industry has to care for our own hearts the way that we care for the artists that are on the stage. Today, I just want to remind everybody that you’re not broken, you’re not alone, you’re okay the way you are, and there’s a whole bunch of us out here in the industry who are rooting for you and who are available in times of need.”

Michael Franti, about his journey in finding Backline after a challenging year:

“So I reached out to Backline, and I’m starting to do online counseling. The work that they do is so important for people in the music industry. I’ve done years of therapy in the past, and it’s always really challenging as an artist to try to explain to somebody who hasn’t lived it or experienced it what life is like as a touring artist. For a lot of us...when we play shows we get paid, and when we don’t play shows we don’t get paid. And there isn’t anything else to it. Life on the bus, life on planes, life away from the people we love, and the pressures of it every day can be a lot. So I’m personally grateful for what Backline does, and the services they provide, because when you first get in there to have that conversation, you don’t have to tell people what it’s like to be in the industry because they have a lot of experience in it.”

Laura Leezy (Khruangbin), about the challenges of being a frontwoman:

“And it’s the expectation that you can never cancel a show. Because you don’t want to let your fans down, you don’t want to let the city down, you don’t want to let the 10’s of people who came together and worked tons of hours to make the show happen down. You don’t want to lose the money, and you don’t want the domino effect with what that will have on everything. It’s a lot of pressure. People who work 9-5 jobs are allowed to call in sick, which obviously isn’t ideal in their world either, but it doesn’t hold the same weight as cancelling a show. Those rules don’t apply to touring musicians in a way.”

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