DJ Starting From Scratch presents The Show Must Go On

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The Show Must Go On is an initiative started by DJ Starting from Scratch to shine a light on social anxiety, performance anxiety and addiction in performers and artists. The first iteration took place earlier this year at Artscape Daniels Launchpad, in Toronto, Canada. The event featured experts in different fields that often connect to potential solutions for anxiety, everything from a physiotherapist to a CDB expert. 

It’s hard being an artist. I feel justified saying that as a creative person, especially as someone who’s been working as a commercial artist for over sixteen years. I used to feel guilty for being an artist. Like I was getting away with something because I enjoy what I do. Even though I’ve worked myself to the bone on projects and pulled all-nighters, in some cases only to be told no, or more often than my idea is good, but would be better if… It’s hard being an artist.

I currently find myself a bit grateful that I’m protected from the world to a degree behind my computer screen or my iPhone. Not to say I don’t experience a certain level of anxiety when the phone rings… but I am grateful I don’t hunger for a life on stage or feel an artistic need to express myself with sounds or movements produced exclusively by my body in front of others. 

That sounds intimidating.

DJ Starting from Scratch has 25k Instagram followers, 40k Facebook followers and has toured as the opening DJ for Usher. He’s played at clubs all over the world in front of hundreds of thousands of people, and he has social anxiety. Scratch realized his anxiety was a driving force when he found himself relying on alcohol to overcome the anxiety performing in public brought on.

Now performing in public is a great deal of a DJ’s job, so I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be so in love with music and art and so brutalized with angst when he got the chance to do what he loved.

Anxiety is a common trait among artists. In 2016 neuroscientist Joseph LeDuex said “anxiety is the price we pay for the ability to imagine the future” – he mused that as creative minds inherently create something out of nothing – they imagine what could be, what might be and the endless opportunities the universe presents. This means that for all the good, there is bad. For all the love, there is heartache. 

Anxiety can be debilitating and can manifest in different people in different ways. Some performers are terrified to perform, some love performing but can’t function in day-to-day conversations. 

While anxiety is a part of life that everyone has to experience, prolonged anxiety and obsessive depression and anxiety are problematic and can often be the result of something deeper and maybe more importantly, prolonged anxiety is treatable.

There are many different ways to battle anxiety and cutting through the noise was a crucial step for Scratch and ultimately the inspiration that brought him to bring together the panelists at the first The Show Must Go On. The event saw an assembled panel of anxiety experts and a solid amount of attendees. The panel answered questions and explained their view of anxiety and what potential treatments they have knowledge about. Overall having a full-gamut of information resources on stage, in person made for an interesting evening of thought-provoking conversation.

I think performers and artists are often put on pedestals and the last thing you would ever stop and think in a nightclub, sadly, is “I wonder if the DJ is having a good time?”. I don’t know if artists and performers experience more or less anxiety than any other person on earth, I can see the potential for that as artists minds are usually working overtime imaging new and sometimes terrifying things.

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