So much is expected of today’s big-name pop stars. World tours, no. 1 hits, high-energy performances, non-stop recording sessions, and public appearances may seem like the glamorous lifestyle any of us would want to be a part of. It comes with perks—money, fame, and an endless amount of love from devoted fans. While it may seem like a whirlwind dream, extreme fame can bring stars to their highest but ultimately unveil a daunting realization.
We’ve witnessed plenty of artists at the top of their game, their faces plastered everywhere due to massive success, then suddenly plummet into hiding from the outside world. Some publicly announce their hiatus, revealing the need for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of a demanding work ethic.
It begs the question: Should we be worried about the pop stars of this generation? High-profile stars like Ariana Grande, Zayn Malik, Lauv, Justin Bieber, and many more have opened up about their struggles with mental illness—it’s all damning evidence of the stress many young celebs face due to their increasing level of fame.
Ariana Grande took a much-needed break after the Manchester bombing during her Dangerous Woman tour that took 22 lives in 2017. She candidly spoke about her problems with anxiety with Vogue saying, “My anxiety has anxiety… I’ve always had anxiety. I’ve never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it’s ever been.” Tracks like ‘breathin‘ from her fourth album ‘Sweetener‘ even mentioned her grueling battle with mental illness.
Lauv quickly gained fame after his LP ‘I met you when I was 18’ made him a rising star in pop music. With songs like ‘I Like Me Better’ and his recent collaboration with Troye Sivan on ‘i’m so tired…,’ the singer seemed like he was bound for constant chart-topping success. But in an honest Instagram post, Lauv discussed his fight with depression and anxiety that primarily held him back from pursuing his passion for music.
Most recently, Justin Bieber shared why he’s yet to release any new music—it’s been four years since his last album ‘Purpose’ topped the charts. “I have been looking, seeking, trial and error as most of us do, I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep-rooted issues that I have as most of us have so that I don’t fall apart,” the artist wrote in a touching Instagram post regarding fans demand for future music.
Bieber was just a fresh-faced teenager when he set foot on the scene with ‘One Time.’ Ever since then, he constantly toured the world and recorded four studio albums along with five compilation albums, all in that time span. He quickly became an overnight sensation, catapulting him into a high-octane life that could be hard to come down from. He never truly got the chance to breathe—a break is well-deserved.
Then there’s former boyband member Zayn Malik who faced issues of his own after being propelled into solo stardom—he released his groundbreaking debut album ‘Mind of Mine’ in 2016 but wasn’t able to tour. Following a string of canceled live appearances and performances, he revealed his battle with anxiety.
— zayn (@zaynmalik) June 11, 2016
It swiftly came several months after One Direction‘s announcement of an indefinite hiatus. The worldwide famous boyband skyrocketed to instant notoriety in 2010 following their third-place finish on UK’s The X-Factor. They toured for five years, releasing five albums and keeping up appearances during their half-decade run. Now the members have launched their own solo careers—with Harry Styles and Niall Horan debuting at no. 1 with their first LPs and Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne steadily rising on the charts with their debut singles. They’ve done it within their own time frame without the looming possibility of burning out.
The extreme demand for constant content from highly-popular artists becomes a bit taxing on an artist’s creativity. It’s impossible to request more from a musician. It might be part of their job to bare their soul, reveal the inner workings of their heart and soul, and create touching art that speaks to us as fans, but it doesn’t mean they owe us that in its entirety.
We have to grant today’s pop stars the advantage of producing their greatest music at their own pace and to take time for themselves. They open up their lives to us, dubiously done or not. Music may be their strongest outlet for letting go but sometimes even that spark can go out. It’s selfless of them to unveil their darkest troubles—we return the favor by allowing them time to heal and gain that spark back.
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