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Tegan and Sara on Mental Health Advice, Spreading Positivity

"Sink your energy into things that make you feel good," says Tegan Quin of indie-pop duo
Photo Credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC via Getty Images

Tegan and Sara realize that, in the streaming and social media era, demands on artists are at an all-time high. “Royalties have been decimated,” the band’s Tegan Quin tells SPIN. “No one wants to pay for music. We’re all in a Hunger Games-type war situation trying to get shows and sell tickets. Then, on top of that, you have to be a content creator.”

For some artists, the pandemic has exacerbated these concerns, adding mental health strain. But Sara Quin, who acknowledges that the past few years have been “catastrophic and awful” for many, found those early months after lockdown to be “some of the most restful and healthy” of her adult life.

“Sometimes there’s this pressure to always be performing and projecting what you’re feeling on the outside to, really, strangers — anonymously on the Internet, all the time, onstage, every single night,” she says. “There was something profound to me to just be hanging out with my wife and my sister and my mother and [spending time] gardening. … I’ve just been under so much pressure for 25 years, and to suddenly feel like, ‘I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m just gonna get through every day’ — in some ways, that was like a mental health break for me. So to come back out now with social media and festivals and the Internet, it’s actually a lot of noise. I’m feeling it at its full potency again, and I’m like, ‘No wonder people are melting down.’ It’s a lot.”

During this time, the duo have been able to “zoom out” and focus on what’s most important — not only music but also their family and friends, along with other projects like writing children’s books and working with their foundation.

“I want to do stuff that makes people feel good,” Tegan says. “That’s the best mental health advice I can give to people: to sink your energy into things that make you feel good.”

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