Music does a multitude of truly positive things for my mental health
What’s your earliest musical memory?
My Dad sitting in the stereo sweet spot between the speakers to listen to a vinyl album of synthesised classical music called 'Snowflakes Are Dancing' by an incredible Japanese artist called Isao Tomita, and having my mind blown by the swirling ethereal electronic sounds.
What does music do for your mental health?
A multitude of truly positive things. It can effectively modulate my mood, energy, overall mind state, and inspire and fuel my creativity, even transport me to places of tranquillity and calm and other worlds beyond the scope of your imagination.
Who is the musician who has most inspired you?
Tricky one, but I think it's Vangelis overall. His ability to convey emotion, embellish a narrative perfectly and arrest you in a heartbeat to stop and listen to epic, evocative sounds.
What makes you happy?
Simplicity over complexity; quiet and slow places and being in nature. Having an appreciation of the five senses and the world around us and trying not to take that for granted. Pure connection and communication with family, friends and kindred spirits. Err… currently; Padron peppers, manchego, mebrillo and a glass of Tempranillo.
What’s the best sound in the world?
Oceans! Number one for me, so diverse from the power and intensity of North Atlantic coastal breakers to the calm and gentle lapping and swashing of the Ionian.
Worst sound ever:
I'm going to twist this as an opportunity to frame why prolonged exposure to any sounds over 85 (decibel) dB are not only harmful to hearing, but can negatively impact mental (and physical) health outcomes. Noise is arguably the most widespread and least controlled environmental pollutant. Leaves rustling; 30dB, normal conversation with background music; 60dB, but 80 to 90dB are things like heavy traffic, noisy restaurants and lawn mowers. A food blender is 88dB! I'd prefer the rustling leaves, thanks.
What song is in your head right now?
Now I've mentioned Vangelis and the Sea - this delicately beautiful piece of music : La petite fille de la mer. Enchanting and spellbinding, it's the perfect lullaby.
Please tell us about (and share) a piece of music that has had an impact on your mental health?
I've designed a Sleep Better suite of psychoacoustic soundscapes to reduce heart and respiration rate, lower blood pressure and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. To be listened to in the hour before bedtime as part of a new pre-sleep self-care routine that includes mindfulness practice, and positive environmental and behavioural changes.
Circadian disruption categorically impacts mental health negatively. So optimal sleep quality aids in reducing the risks of developing serious mental health problems. Sleep is often overlooked as a key pillar of overall wellbeing. Worth taking very seriously, start with a sleep audit, see where the challenges are and learn all about sleep hygiene practice!
Tell us why you're supporting MHF Live?
It's a privilege to be able to reach an audience to extend the conversation and raise awareness around the growing mental health challenges we face as a species. To encourage sharing, transparency, advocacy and empowerment to take action with the support of a community that genuinely cares.
Does music help your mental health?
Does music give you a release? Do you have a passion for rock, pop, soul, garage or grime? Could you put on an event to share your passion and raise awareness, raise money and raise the roof for mental health? MHF Live is the Mental Health Foundation's new live music fundraising event.