After the success of my recent features on Ian Todd & Chloë Boehm, here is another one I think you'll find interesting & I think topical.
The journeys of artists interests me & no two are the same. The other interests of their's can be just as fascinating & simply by listening to them, it is not always possible to discern what else they are up to: some evangelise from the stage, other compartmentalise, often for entirely understandable reasons. Some even use different names for different activities.
One person who is very open & articulate about her range of talents & interests is Naomi Beth Rogers (I hope you downloaded her track "Run" from ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Two').
I have mentioned in previous reviews of her work, both of her live performances & of her ‘Parallel Lines' EP that among her many other facets are other art forms notably dance & poetry but also mental well being: indeed she even had some shows on local radio talking about this in great detail. To that end, I thought it might be timely now to both delineate her career to date for you & share her thoughts on good mental health during the current adverse situation.
Currently twenty three years old & coming from Warwick, Naomi Beth played some local open mics in her early teens but has been playing more intensively over the past couple of years after training in musical theatre. Moving to Barcelona at eighteen to study at their Institute of Arts, she found the stimulating environment & experience helped her begin writing songs seriously. However the story is not that simple nor benevolent as during her time at university Naomi Beth developed mental health issues & her music both created a safe space for her which helped as did the multiple friendships generated by performing them.
It was after her return from Barcelona that she recorded the ‘Parallel Lines' EP with David John of Stone Bear Records which in turn has launched a virtuous spiral of success & development as more & more people have appreciated her skill, leading to her own headline gigs, playing festivals, local radio appearances on Radio Abbey & HillzFM "...and most importantly the music community gave me a sense of home after I moved back, new friendships, inspiration and support"
In her own words: "I spent the year travelling a lot ... and then coming home and the music was always there
For a long time I'd wanted to use the arts to help others. I volunteered at a refugee camp in Greece and after seeing the way sharing music, dance and art with the kids positively impacted their lives, I decided to train as an arts psychotherapist so I can make this passion my career. I'm in my first year.
Whilst learning songwriting is still my biggest outlet, and I plan to continue to record, play live and write.
Self isolating is a tough time but it's amazing to see how the online world has kept me inspired, even brought me two new writing partners and reminded me of the beautiful human spirit!
Music wise I've started collaborating and working with some new people and have a lot of stuff to record, so hopefully there will be new songs from me soon".
I took the opportunity of asking her which other artists she was currently really impressed with & could recommend to "Hot Music Live" readers. As the list potentially was too long, she highlighted Taylor Louise, Antonia Kirby, Chloë Boehm, Ellis Bloom, Curious George, Chessi O'Dowd, Merrymaker, Joe Dolman, Evergreen, Aaron Dudfield, Project Blackbird and Hannah Woof.
Turning next to the challenges of these days, we discussed the issues of anxiety around "fear about income, grief for life as we know it, loneliness" and that while potentially "everybody is susceptible, I think if you're self employed or perhaps already struggling with your mental health, you are more vulnerable in this circumstance"
Naomi Beth suggested these ideas from her own experience
"Knowing it's okay to feel some sadness, worry and grief. I try to let my feelings be, and not squash them"
"A sense of routine and daily exercise that I enjoy"
"Taking time to be excited about little things such as food, how my bedroom is, nice cups of tea"
"Accepting that I maybe won't be as productive as usual. But enjoying what I can do and focusing on that"
"FaceTiming friends, making time to support other people and check in, setting up little online projects such as writing with other people!"
To make matters more tricky, getting help when isolated & with many organisations either closed down or overwhelmed may itself be more limited than usual, so Naomi Beth suggests:
Mental health.org.uk This has a section of resources directly related to the climate at the moment,
Tara Brach has a series of talks/ guided meditations about self isolation, fear, creativity and mindfulness- she's amazing https://www.tarabrach.com/
"100 Days of Songwriting" has an awesome online community if you just want to stay motivated and creative and chat to other people too https://100daysofsongwriting.com/
Hopefully few or none of our readers will need these strategies but I'm really grateful to Naomi Beth for sharing her experience & insights: just in case they can make the difference with anyone. Don't forget too to check out her own website at https://www.naomibethjourney.com/ for myriad aspects of her activities.