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Musicians 4 Mental Health
Musicians 4 Mental Health is an initiative started by the Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA). FCLMA has donated the proceeds to mindyourmind in the past! We are so appreciative of their donation to our program. We spoke to the organizer Tyler Stewart.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Tyler Stewart, also known as Stewie. I’m from a small town called Strathroy, ON. I moved to London, Ontario 10+ years ago for musical opportunities. With growing up struggling with being bullied etc., I turned to music to escape. I didn’t have very many friends; I pretty much kept to myself. My dad was always in and out of my life, saying “he was never leaving again”, then took off for years, then came back; did that over and over, so was kind of a head game. I’m 31 and I have two kids who look up to me like their very own personal superhero. Being a father is the best thing in the world, I could never imagine putting my children through what my father put me through.
Can you share with us what your journey has been like so far?
I’ve always felt with being told, “it’s all in your head” or, “oh come on get over yourself” or, even the worst you could hear from people, “well if you can’t handle it then kill yourself” that people in this world can be very cruel. In school I was always picked last in gym class, I was always bullied for wearing stand out clothing, pretty much for being different because I didn’t want to be apart of the crowd or to dress like everyone else. I always had a weight problem so that didn’t help either, to the point where when I got to high school I wouldn’t eat lunch, and when I had lunch sent with me I would throw it out, or eat it in the bathroom. With not eating much because of being bullied, I lost a lot of weight. Also, my step father would hit me, and tossed me around like some unwanted toy, it wasn’t a good childhood at times. Long story short, I snapped out of it and started not caring so much what people said to me, it was either hate or just pure jealousy.
I did this by telling myself it doesn’t matter what others think of me, I kept telling myself that I am who I am and it doesn’t matter what others say it only matters what I think of myself. In life we have our own power and we need to learn how to use that power to rise above all hate and jealousy. It was easy to shift my mind set because it takes a lot of power to hate ourselves or others when it takes less energy to be kind to ourselves and not allow the negative and hate to affect us.
Musicians 4 Mental Health Halloween Spooktakular was October 26, 2019, can you tell us about the concert, who played and why mental health is important to you?
Music has been my escape, so I became a rapper, writing poems and rhymes. Musicians 4 Mental Health Halloween Spooktacular is an event I put on to raise more awareness to key issues with mental health, because it’s not taken very serious when it comes to other issues in the world. Growing up I was silenced and wasn’t allowed to express myself, so now that I’m older I make music. I figure that would be a great way to express and be a voice by performing and putting on events where people felt as one and NOT BE ALONE anymore! With the company of great locals artist telling their stories through their music, we had BoGus, MadHattr, Tempomental, cross the streams and Starbucket performing that night for the people at the London music hall of fame ballroom with music run by DJ Wizkas.
What motivates you to be an advocate to people who feel alone or are struggling?
What motivates me to be an advocate for mental health is, I’m an empath; I could be in a room with people and I can tell who’s down or depressed just from vibes in the room. I want to use my powers/skills to motivate others and let them know that life gets better no matter the situation. Not a lot of people want to speak up, most think it’s best to hide and keep things in. What motivates me to keep going with it is to see a big change with how people look at mental health and how they treat people with mental health.
Can you tell us about "Say No To Normal"?
“Say no to normal” is a slogan I got from a quote that I say or use it as a hashtag. I use “Say no to normal” because it speaks for itself. Say no to the normal is for the people who live like each other who dress like each other who copy each other. Say no to normal is something I say because we all can be different and still be accepted as one.
What is frustrating for you in our society when it comes to mental illness or any struggle people are faced with? How can we all help make a change?
What’s frustrating is that people think it’s a joke and don’t take mental health seriously, everyone thinks you are either crazy or need a lot of help when you mention mental health. There needs to better options rather than just talking to a doctor or a therapist because mental health can be helped with artistic expression. I feel we need to come together to have a building or area where we can put on events and artist shows, plays, all sorts of ways of artistic expression a place to feel comfortable and safe with like minded people. My goal is to own a venue where they serve food and drinks and even have live plays or music events held, with also an area for gaming and other types of expression.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to not care what others think because it doesn’t matter the obstacles. You gotta keep pushing because life throws us bad situations to see how strong we are and once we overcome them we are unstoppable. I’m this way, because we have a power inside that can make life worth living!
What is the future for Musicians 4 Mental Health and for you?
The future for Musicians 4 Mental Health is that I hope it continues to rise and more great events come out of it. I want to see a change and make a difference even if it’s a small one, it’s a start, we all have to come together and rise above all the stigma and finger pointing.
If anyone reads my story and it helps them feel less alone then that’s a small difference I live for, that I hope to see over time. I myself would love to speak to the youth and give a motivational speech because I want to be someone they can look up to, a role model for not giving up.
Make sure to follow Tyler on instagram @stewie0688 to find out about upcoming concerts and events.
Photo by Tiffany Little of Memories at Tiffany’s Photography
mindyourmind speaks with advocates, authors, musicians, athletes and other people about their own opinions and life experiences.