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Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast Talks Imposter Syndrome and Mental Health

She shared what she thinks is the root of why imposter syndrome exists
AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 09: Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast performs during the ACL Music festival 2022 at Zilker Park on October 09, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic)

Japanese Breakfast frontwoman Michelle Zauner, sat down with SPIN’s Editorial Director, Daniel Kohn, to discuss the meaning behind her breakthrough album, Jubilee, and explore the importance of staying in tune with your mental health. During the half-hour interview, Zauner revealed that she struggled with imposter syndrome while creating Jubilee and shared how she coped following the success of that album.


“Imposter syndrome comes from this very human place where you just want to do your best and you’re very scared of being found out that your best is not good enough,” she told SPIN. “[It’s] also rooted in ambition of wanting to be great and not feeling great. I think that in some ways it pushes you to work harder. For me, my way of struggling with imposter syndrome, especially for Jubilee, was taking music theory lessons or taking guitar lessons or vocal lessons. Doing things that make me feel like I’ve done my homework and make me feel more confident that I’ve put in the work. That aspect of imposter syndrome, even though it’s very difficult, can be very rewarding.”

Later that evening, Zauner performed a DJ set featuring curated songs from the indie sleaze era (a fashion aesthetic popular in the U.S. and U.K. from around 2006 through 2012) at the Bourbon & Beyond afterparty hosted by SPIN in Louisville, Ky.

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