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Music & Mindset

Sustainable Creativity and the Way Out of Burnout

With Hayley Williams

The Paramore frontwoman on shares tools, tips, and wisdom on how to best prepare and protect oneself from the pitfalls of burnout.

Summary:

Hayley Williams shares how mental health affects our creative muscles, and the way she’s strengthened  those muscles over the course of her almost two-decade long career. She shares tools, tips, and wisdom on how to best prepare and protect oneself from the pitfalls of burnout.  

About Hayley Williams:

Hayley Williams is the legendary front-person of Paramore, a solo producer  and singer, and a savvy entrepreneur.

Hayley was fast-tracked into the music industry in 2003, when she signed a production deal at 14 years-old. At the time, she was already writing pop songs in Nashville and learning the craft of performance. Forming Paramore a year later, the band was soon touring the world, releasing a slew of gold and platinum albums that blend combustible punk riffs and indelible pop hooks.

Fast-forward to 2019, Paramore decided to go on hiatus, eager to embrace life off the road and out of the public eye. The break also offered Hayley the chance to focus on her own creative endeavours. She recorded and released two solo records —

Petals for Armor

and

FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

— that dive into her solitary creativity and romantic view of everyday life. As a solo artist and band leader, Hayley has a wealth of knowledge about maintaining passion and creativity in a sustainable way.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • It’s an artist’s job to take emotions — whether positive or negative — and turn them into something beautiful that others can connect with. 

  • Mental health struggles may feel like something that “happens to other people, but it’s important to know that people in all walks of life struggle with mental health challenges.

  • Even tough times can create opportunities for corrective, therapeutic experience through art. 

  • Find romance in the mundane.  

  • We often romanticize unhealthy habits, but it takes strength to choose to pursue a healthy mindset. 

  • It can be hard to ask for help when you have good things happening in your life. 

  • Saying no can be just as lucrative as saying yes. It takes time to learn how to say no and when.

  • Only a small fraction of a career actually involves playing music. 

  • Mental health can manifest into physical ailments. Treat your body with kindness, as well as your mind. 

  • The discipline needed to be healthy is similar to that needed to finish songs and focus on your craft.

SONG STARTERS:

  • You’re the main character in your own story.  Write a song about something you do every day and romanticize each detail like it’s a fairytale. How can you romanticize the mundane?

  • Hayley describes a simple, tiny apartment in Venice. She mentions the small balcony, the table set for one, and her dog there with her. Describe a simple setting from your imagination. What city are you in? What’s the room like? What kind of decorations, colors, and scents are present? Can that setting inspire a song?

  • Think of a time when you said no to something that went against what you believed in. What opportunities did that no create? How did closing one door open another?

  • Take a break from social media for a weekend. Recruit a friend during this weekend offline so you can both keep each other accountable. Bring a notebook with you to write down new ideas that come to you. 

KEY TERMS:

  • A&R:

    the artist & repertoire works to find, sign, and develop talent for a record label. Once the artist is signed the A&R finds the artist cowriters and collaborators, sets up sessions, and pitches the songs that the artist writes to other artists to record.

  • Enneagram:

    a system of understanding personality types that’s divided into numbers one through nine. The numbers have different core features, strengths, and interests.

  • EMDR:

    eye movement desensitization and reprocessing helps people heal from distressing, disturbing, or traumatic life experiences.

  • Burnout:

    a form of exhaustion or tiredness related to a job or repeated activity; some people might say they feel “drained” or find it difficult to be motivated to do something they once felt passionate about.

  • Meditation:

    the use of techniques such mindfulness, quiet thoughtfulness, or timed focus to help a person feel more calm or think more clearly.

RECOMMENDED BY HAYLEY:

Books: Your Body Keeps the Score - Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés Phd.

Podcast:

Help Me Be Me

Mental health resources collated by Spotify for Artists. Watch more episodes about songwriting, production, and collaboration, plus listen to Song Start: The Podcast, here.

For more info on Song Start click here.