YEP Panel Discusses Mental Health Issues In The Entertainment Community

Pictured (L-R): Rachel Knight, YEP Director of Community Engagement; Kelly Clague, SVP of Em.Co; Al Andrews, Founder of Porter’s Call; Cris Lacy, SVP, A&R Warner Music Group; Debbie Carroll, S. Executive Dir. of MusiCares; Brett Warren of the Warren Brothers and songwriter at Big Loud; Amelia Varni, YEP Executive Director; Caroline Melby, YEP Director of Education

Music industry organization, Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP) hosted their “Life of an Entertainer: Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll….and Mental Health” event at the CMA Event Space on Tuesday, May 1. The panel opened dialogue about struggles both entertainers and creative industry professionals face with mental health and ways they can practice self-awareness on the topic.

The following industry names shared their personal experiences with mental health and how they’ve helped their peers overcome similar challenges: Al Andrews (Founder of Porter’s Call), Debbie Carroll (S. Executive Dir. of MusiCares), Kelly Clague (SVP Em.Co), Cris Lacy (SVP, A&R Warner Music Group), and Brett Warren of the Warren Brothers (Songwriter, Big Loud).

YEP’s Director of Community Engagement, Rachel Knight led the conversation in an effort to shed light on the changes Porter’s Call and MusiCares are creating in the lives of songwriters, artists and music business professionals.

“It’s okay to not be okay. But what are we going to do about it? Panels like this are big part of that conversation. Taking these conversations to where you work, to your mentors, to your interns is a game changer in of itself,” Knight says. Al Andrews and Debbie Carroll expanded on the safe space and resources they provide for those seeking to cope with addiction, mental health and everything in between.

In addition, Brett Warren of the Warren Brothers and songwriter at Big Loud, opened up about his battle with addiction and how Porter’s Call brought him to a stable place with his family and music career. “When you get honest with your mental health, and you surround yourself with people like this, it makes the road fun. It’s all part of the journey,” he said. Each panelist offered their thoughts on why talking about mental health instills a tighter community between the artist and his/her support team.

In regards to those who support the business of artists, Cris Lacy spoke about the importance of self-care. “It’s a whole lot of questions and engagement and very little probably for yourself. You have to value yourself enough to say I’m taking 20 minutes and I’m gonna meditate. It really does make a difference,” she said.

Al Andrews closed the event with his principals to live by, “The Way Of An Artist,” a guideline to practicing graciousness in work and personal life. The audience was encouraged approach life with more ease and understanding of the battles those around them are facing.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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