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Indigo De Souza on the Importance of Self-Care for Touring Artists

Indie-rock songwriter sings the praises of Backline, a nonprofit that connecting music industry pros with mental health and wellness resources"
Photo Credit: Josh Brasted/WireImage

Indigo De Souza understands first-hand how “overwhelming” life as a touring musician can be — the interviews, the photo shoots, having to manage the “energies” of everyone in her band and team. But she’s found a crucial ally in Backline, a national nonprofit that, according to their official site, “connects music industry professionals with mental health and wellness resources.”

“All my life, I’ve had extreme mental health issues,” the indie-rock songwriter tells SPIN. “It’s a hard thing to balance when you’re a musician and you’re traveling all the time. It feels like there’s not time to find the right therapist because the systems in place to help you do that are not actually helpful — just meaning health systems in the U.S. I’ve had a really hard time actually finding support.”

De Souza’s manager told her about Backline, which helped her find a case manager tailored specifically for her needs. “They take a lot of time to understand exactly what you need,” she says. “I really don’t know what I would have done without them. I reached out to them in the middle of a tour last year when I was basically losing my mind and wanted to stop touring, and I really needed to get on medication. I was having a hard time finding the right people, and they built a team for me that ended up working out really well.”

While she says it’s still a “learning process” caring for herself on the road, Backline has made that goal much more achievable. “[When] it became so easy for me all of the sudden to find care, I realized how messed up it is that the rest of the world doesn’t have that,” she says. “I feel like it’s a great example for how mental health care should be.”

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