Just under a month ago, Dutch producer/DJ Nicky Romero took to Facebook to open up about some reasons he’s been relatively quiet recently. He cited anxiety as a major issue for the lack of new music, adding that tours and the musician lifestyle in general have added significant stress to his day-to-day life.
It seems he’s now gone a step further, sitting down with Billboard to conduct an in-depth interview about his personal experiences with anxiety, and how he’s learning to cope with it. Romero also mentions other artists that have helped him along the way, as well as other artists he has reached out to who are experiencing similar situations. Some of the names he mentions include David Guetta and Blasterjaxx, so clearly something is going on in the industry. Are we expecting too much of the top-name artists in EDM? Could the constant pressure we put on artists to please us with tours and new music be a major factor in a mental breakdown? Or should artists know what to expect and be able to cope with the added stress of fans, touring, production, etc.?
Romero’s journey first started with the realization that he was struggling with anxiety. In the interview with Billboard, Nicky mentions that his fight has been going on since 2013, almost two and a half years. In this time, a number of doctors and therapists could not provide satisfactory responses, with Romero even saying “how can one possibly recover from something that people, even doctors, don’t understand?” But Romero knew something was wrong, as his studio sessions began to suffer because of his anxiety. He cited an experiences in the studio with David Guetta, saying the French star was very understanding as he had experienced a similar bout with anxiety. He was a source of inspiration to Romero, who said “if David was able to do it with all the pressure, then I would say everybody can do it because he is one of the biggest stars among us. There was relief that I could actually do this work without having these symptoms.”
Still, Romero managed to persevere and is back on the track to success. He managed to maintain a fairly constant touring schedule to perform for his fans and has a number of projects underway for 2016. In his own words:
I knew from the beginning that all these feelings I was having weren’t really me…There were thoughts that I wanted to quit music, but I knew at the same time that it was not me. I was just the one observing the thoughts; I wasn’t the thought itself…Music has always been my passion. I’ve never wanted to do anything in the world but music…I couldn’t access my creativity energy and that was what was holding me back, it wasn’t the music itself.
Still, Romero has been able to come back stronger than ever with plenty of new music projects on the way. He hints at a collaboration with Nile Rodgers, who burst forth back into the mainstream with Daft Punk’s biggest hit on Random Access Memories.
He’s also reportedly working “with a really big band,” but he can’t say anything about it yet.
Even with his struggles, Nicky will come out the other side a better person, and a better producer, for it.