Singer Jack Garratt on life as a musician and his struggles with mental health

“I am excited,” says Jack Garratt as he sits down for a virtual chat. The British singer-songwriter has two albums — Phase (2016) and Love, Death and Dancing (2020) to his credit. He has also won the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award and the BBC Sound of 2016, a feat previously achieved by Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding.

Today, he has come up with a performance of his single, Time, on YouTube. “It is a new version of the song from Love, Death and Dancing. Due to the pandemic, this is my first opportunity to perform it with a lot of people in a room and that makes it special for me,” he states. Excerpts from an interview:

You have always been vocal about your mental health. What helped you manage it?

Singer Jack Garratt on life as a musician and his struggles with mental health

I have anxiety and depression. I understand that I will have them for the rest of my life. Taking it seriously is the most important thing. It is confusing, tough and complicated. I am lucky that the condition is manageable and I have learnt to work with it and not against it. It is not going to happen overnight. Seeing a therapist and taking medication can be good. Talking to friends and being open about it have also helped me.

Where do you find inspiration for your music?

The best advice you can give to any writer is to write what you know of. For me, I have known my mental health quite intimately for the past couple of years. That’s why I have been writing about it the most. I also find it interesting that for all the conversations that are happening, there is still stigma regarding the mental and emotional health of men. I would like to encourage men of my age — late 20s to early 30s — to talk about their mental health with their friends, family and partners.

What is your creative process like?

I used to spend a long time making music. It was really hard for me to get a song finished because I work by myself and not with any other people or producers. I never finish anything because I always feel that there is something more for me to add to the song. I always need someone to come and tell me that a song is done. That approach isn’t good, but recently I am getting better at it. Now, even if I am not happy with the lyric, I try to finish the song instead of spending hours changing it. I know that I can always do it later and it has been working well.

You have been playing musical instruments from a young age. Do you have a favourite?

I love playing the guitar. It is the main instrument I grew up playing. I learnt it myself when I was a kid watching Blues videos. I play the guitar, piano, the drums and have a basic understanding of these different instruments. That allows my brain and my hands to take anything and to just go with it.

What do you have in the pipeline?

I find it quite hard to write it as I give a lot of myself to the songs that I am making. But recently, I have been doing it a lot. Now I have around 25 songs and the number is only going up. I store them all in a folder and try not to think about it till I have to.

Jack Garratt’s unique performance of ‘Time’ recorded at Village Underground is released exclusively on Jim Beam’s official YouTube channel, marking the official launch of the Jim Beam® Welcome Sessions: a multi-year partnership that invites global artistes back to the iconic independent venues that gave them their first stage

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