Behind The Shield 001 - Helene Howard
HELENE HOWARD [She/Her] - Helene Howard, A&R and Marketing Coordinator at DIM MAK Records, joins us in answering some questions related to mental health and the music scene. Helene is highly involved in multiple facets of the music industry and works very closely with artists and their teams.
“On the A&R side every day is a bit different” says Helene.
To sum it up briefly, Helene’s day-to-day as an A&R includes listening to demos, searching for rising talent and coordinating releases. To complement this work, her position as a Marketing Coordinator allows her to further expand on the release process and help in the development of discovered talent.
Together with music, Helene is also passionate about health and wellness. She aspires to bind her two passions into one and find innovative ways to create healthier environments within the music scene.
Her ambitious demeanor and excitement to share her experiences with mental health made her a perfect fit for this blog series.
Q&A ft. Helene Howard:
Q. Why did you choose to work in the music industry?
A. When I was 14, I went to my first concert, and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of joy from seeing the artist perform and the way the crowd was reacting. It was a very life changing moment for me. I didn’t think much of it, then when I attended college, I started going to festivals. At festivals I watched people from different backgrounds come together because of their love for music and it was so beautiful to me. I decided that I was going to work in an industry that has given me so many new experiences and a new perspective on life. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to find a way. I also really wanted to find a way to help artists. I am not someone who can create something out of nothing and that is what these artists do - they pick up an instrument, write down their lyrics, they open a daw and they go on and make something out of nothing. They make sounds that come from their mind, and they re-create a feeling or experience. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than that to me, and I wanted to help them get these songs out there and be along for that process.
Q. What makes you passionate about music?
A. I used to sit with my dad for hours and play music for him after his chemo treatments, and I watched the healing power music had on him. When he felt sick, he turned the music up louder. What makes me so incredibly passionate about music is its healing power. When life felt dark music was there to help lift me up and it helped me express myself in ways I never knew I could.
Q. What would you say is the “harsh reality” of working as an A&R in the EDM scene?
A. I would say that it’s extremely hard not being able to help everyone get their music out there. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and there are only 52 weeks in a year but there are a million plus amazing demos.
Q. When facing challenging moments, what helps you stay on track with your work tasks?
A. A solid routine really helps me. When I wake up, I need to have some sort of movement to help me clear my mind so I can think about what I need to accomplish that day and how I am going to do it. Also, having a calendar with everything I need to do for the day helps me stay on track so I am not spending too much time on one thing.
Q. Do you experience stress or anxiety when it comes to your work? If so, how do you cope with that?
A. I would say no matter what your job title is you can experience anxiety. If I am feeling anxious in my work I know that it’s time to ask for help because I may be taking on too many tasks. I also just reach out to those who I work with and explain what is going on. I am very fortunate to work with incredibly compassionate people who want the best for you and your mental health.
Q. What kind of changes would you like to see in our industry that could positively impact industry professionals and the state of their mental health?
A. The music industry is very fast paced, and there is always something to do, somewhere to go or someone to talk to. I would love to see more therapist / health coaches that specialize in mental health for those in the music industry. Having access to people and resources is very important for those suffering with mental health related problems.
Q. What methods have you found most effective in coping with your mental health when it’s at a low?
A. Working out has 100% changed my life. I realized when I start feeling low, I also am probably not moving too much so all of my emotions are stirring with no type of release. Me going for a run or doing some sort of body weight/weight exercise really helps me cope with everything. I have a sudden clarity after a workout where I realize if I can accomplish this even when I really didn’t want to, I can accomplish anything. Also writing really helps me, sometimes I have so many thoughts I don’t even know where to begin, so just opening up a journal or a notepad can help me get those thoughts on paper to help me ease my mind and then I start to realize what I am worrying about isn’t even that scary.
Q. Can you name 3 people who have made your life better this past year?
A. 3? AH, this is so hard because I have met and have so many incredible people in my life.
If I can give three people a shout out it would be my little sister Brianna. She is the strongest and kindest person I know. Even when she has every reason in the world not to be, she is still a good person and that makes me so proud of her.
My boyfriend Jack, who inspires me every single day. He is an artist who creates something out of nothing and works so hard to do so.
My best friend Bridgette who is one of the most incredible people I know. She recently packed up her life and moved to LA to follow her dreams and watching her grow into her dream self is so beautiful to see.
Q. What’s a valuable life lesson you’ve learned recently?
A. Don’t be afraid to say how you feel and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. I am still working on this, but you have to remember that you are the most important person in your life and you need to take care of yourself. Please love yourself with all that love you try to give everyone else!
Q. What’s a song that makes you happy?
A. ‘Love Is Alive’ by Louis The Child. I've listened to this song every morning for the last four years; It’s always my number one most played song on Spotify. It simply reminds me that love really does keep us alive :)
To wrap things up, please share one mental health-resource of your choice and let us know why you chose it: There are two books that tremendously helped me in my mental health journey: 1) “You are a Badass, How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero 2) “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
These books helped change my perspective on myself and how I look at things. I often forget how powerful the mind is and how important sitting down and reading about different ways to approach your life is.
We want to thank Helene for being so transparent and honest with us about her experiences with mental health. Her strength and devotion to music are inspiring and we wish her nothing but the best in her ongoing ventures.
“Mental health is a #1 priority, always.” -Steph.