Since arriving on the scene in late 2011 with her debut EP ‘The Arrival’, the enigmatic and elusive Queen of Hearts has quietly carved out a niche for herself with just a small handful of carefully executed independent releases, cementing her status as one of the most exciting UK faces in electronic music.
“Don’t lose face. Never lose face. You’re a Popstar!”
That was my mantra. That’s what kept me going.
A childhood passion, turned vocation, I moved to London to become a recording artist.
With a little luck and a LOT of hard work I began to get recognition, my dream was actually coming true.
I would arrive at the studio filled with excitement at the anticipation of what we were about to create. My mind was filled with ideas and, with my nerves at bay, we would write, sing, laugh, and analyse single words for hours. It all came so naturally.
With this new found belief in myself, in my art, I commanded the stage at my gigs and sure enough the audiences grew and the opportunities lined themselves up, mine for the taking. I was carving my identity, an identity built on my growing ‘success’. I was unstoppable.
Fast forward to the present day, I now know that basing your worth on external factors is like buying a one way ticket to depression city, but more on that later…
As my profile grew, so did my ego. I craved bigger and better gigs, I wanted the best producers, stylists, I didn’t want to have a job on the side. I became fixated on my competitors, on how I came across in interviews, how I looked on camera, my weight, my image. I tried to make my songs sound like number ones, rather than writing from the heart as I’d always done. This once fearless, ambitious girl was starting to crack under the pressure. I was starting to lose everything about myself, the qualities that made me unique and special. I wanted to be the ‘Popstar’.
I began to see my beloved music, the vessel that had given me life and purpose as the enemy here to destroy my self esteem, my self worth and my relationships. Little did I know at the time it wasn’t the music at all, it was my mind.
A gradual decline in my moods, the desire to write and fight for my career or even get out of bed slowly evaporated. I’d withdrawn, I was completely lost and completely alone.
I began a course of therapy, not the lie-on-a-couch Freudian style we like to conjure up when we think of mental illness but a more practical, solution focused approach called CBT. I began to question my negative voice, my ‘all or nothing thinking’ and remind myself of all my achievements, of how beautiful life can be if we can focus our minds away from the darkness. It wasn’t easy. CBT requires dedication, focus, practice and discipline, all the things you lack when you’re in the depths of depression or battling a panic attack. But that’s the thing with the mind, you only have to plant a seed and slowly, with time, it grows and you blossom.
It’s been just over two years since I got help and I can safely say it’s changed my life. Like the annoying relatives you see once a year at Christmas, my anxiety pops by from time to time reminding me that my mental health needs care and attention and that I’m not indestructible.
Depression can also creep up on me when I ruminate over what I once had, but that’s the beautiful thing about life, you have a choice. You can write the next chapter, you can rewrite it as many times as you like. The sequel, The trilogy.
And me? I’ll keep writing my songs, I’ll sing until my voice runs out, I’ll knock on doors and network like it was an Olympic sport because no matter what the outcome, the destination, I have a choice and I choose to continue my affair with music for as long as I possibly can.