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Donovan Woods Shares Top Mental Health Tips For Aspiring Musicians

Ahead of his debut Australian tour this June, Canadian artist Donovan Woods has released brand new music in the striking track, ‘Back For the Funeral’. Taken from his recently-announced seventh studio album, ‘Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now’, the single is another fitting insight into the performer and songwriter’s musicality and great grip on lyricism.

An intensely emotive song, ‘Back For The Funeral’ was written by Woods, along with Grammy-nominated songwriter Lori McKenna (Big Little Town, Taylor Swift, Maren Morris) and Platinum-selling songwriter Matt Nathanson. Throughout an album of heart wrenching songs, none hit harder than “Back for the Funeral.” Taking place in a small town, a group of friends who haven’t seen each other in years return to memorialise a schoolmate after they overdosed on pills.

The release of ‘Back For The Funeral’ gives Australian fans another chance to get to know Donovan Woods better, before his arrival on our shores in just a few months’ time. Sydney singer-songwriter Hayley Warnerhas recently been added to the tour, and will be joining Donovan on each show during his time down under.

The tour, which will take the artist to venues right around the country, also sees Donovan partnering with Support Act. $1 from each ticket sold will go towards the music industry charity to support music industry professionals doing it rough; offering crisis relief, mental health support and aid. To celebrate Donovan’s partnership with Support Act for the tour, Donovan has shared with us 5 tips for aspiring musicians to help keep their mental health in check.


The job is making music that thrills you. There are a lot of ways to spend time not working on music. These things are tied to metrics and algorithms that can make you feel less-than or hopeless. When you make music that thrills you, a lot of that stuff takes care of itself. Someone will always be “going off” or “killing it”. Beware of anyone who uses these words without talking about music. Focus on making music that thrills you.


The music industry is ups and downs. It doesn’t have ups and downs, it IS ups and downs. You gotta be happy inside the changes, they never end. Even when you make it to the red carpet, there’s another red carpet for more famous people. Your worth has to come from you. But you know you’re great because you make music that thrills you.


Touring is hard. It’s a cool job, sure. It’s still hard. You have to take care of yourself. That means getting physical activity every day, drinking lots of water and eating well. It’s hard to do these things on tour, but luckily, you’ll have time to kill. When you’re riding in the van, look for healthy restaurants near the venue. Find one you can walk to and get some steps in. Taking care of yourself on tour takes up so much time, you won’t have any time to longingly stare at social media.


Don’t compare yourself to others, be inspired by them. Someone’s always gonna have a greener lawn. The most famous person I’ve ever met spent our entire songwriting session complaining about how another famous person gets more opportunities than they do. There is no end to it. It is a bottomless pit. Don’t do it. Enjoy others success as a sign that success is possible for you too, because you make music that thrills you.


You get a lot of praise in this job. A room full of people applauding you is not normal. It can make other areas of your life seem boring in comparison. Many people only experience a room full of people applauding them a handful of times in their whole life. When it happens every night, a heightened state can start to feel like your homeostasis. You end up searching for other things that give you that dopamine rush. Social media, unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol. These things can lead you into a cycle that can ruin your life and literally kill you. Meditation helps. You have to wind yourself down after the show. Being part of the load-out helps. The praise is nice, but your real validation comes from within, because you make music that thrills you, and you and your friends/bandmates/co-workers do a good job every night. Be kind to yourself and be careful. 


Written by John Zebra