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Madison McFerrin on How Mental Health and Music Are Tied Together

"I write in my journal every day," says singer-songwriter, "and I think that’s something that helps keep me grounded"
Photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

Madison McFerrin is an artist who should be on your radar. After a few years of releasing stand-alone tracks, McFerrin recently released her terrific debut album, I Hope You Can Forgive Me. Years in the works, the self-released project chronicles the artist’s growth and deals with unfamiliar feelings that first surfaced during the pandemic.

“Not being able to perform with people was really difficult for me [during the pandemic], even though there were times when things were progressing and my online presence was going well,” McFerrin told SPIN editorial director Daniel Kohn. “But I was thinking to myself, ‘Why am I still depressed?’ Just the fact that I wasn’t able to have live shows in the community space was really hard.”

She also shared how she’s been able to stay disciplined in order to preserve her mental health.

“I write in my journal every day, and I think that’s something that helps keep me grounded and have some sort of routine, whether I’m at home or on the road,” McFerrin said. “On top of that, I just try to have my routines that I have before I go onstage with warming up.”

That’s just part of the process of shedding what McFerrin calls “mental gunk” — “all of the stuff that swirls around in my brain that I’m trying to make sense of.”

The best way for her to stay focused is to perform. Exchanging energy, she says, allows her to “connect with myself and connect with a higher power.”

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