GRAMMY-nominated producer Marcos "Kosine" Palacios has gone full circle, stepped onto the other side of the glass and released his debut EP Truth Serum in May, which also included a cinematic short film by the same name.
The EP and film showcase Kosine's stream of consciousness about mental wellness. Together, they also navigate relationships, religion and his career in the oversaturated music business—and act as his "coming of age story as an Afro-Latino man."
On June 23, MusiCares offered a special screening of the short at the GRAMMY Museum, followed by a panel discussion moderated by actress Carla Earle with Kosine, pop/soul singer MAJOR., psychologist-photographer Austyn Wyche and KEM saxophonist Darryl Wakefield.
This event came on the heels of MusiCares' extensive programming produced in May for Mental Health Awareness Month, dovetailing with an overall increase in discussion around mental health and wellness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kosine noted that despite the stigma surrounding mental wellness among Black men, he found the strength to share his story in part thanks to a meaningful conversation he had with fellow Chicago artist Rhymefest.
Therein, Rhyme described not letting the fear get the best of him when releasing music that envelopes truth and covers tough topics—because his music is his "ministry."
Wakefield remarked on the relatability of the EP and short. "It really told my story on another level," he said. "Not necessarily the high, prestigious home—it was a lot less glamorous—but the process was very much the same in the acceptance of others."
The panelists also discussed how important therapy is to the healing process. They noted that more Black men need to become vocal advocates of therapy and mental healthcare benefits to overcome the negative stereotypes that seeking help is a form of weakness—which MAJOR. stated has long overshadowed the Black community in America.
Kosine continued by underlining the importance of being in tune with oneself to avoid burnout—a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress—something much of the world has now collectively experienced due to the pandemic.
"Mental health is the consciousness to be working toward [happiness] constantly, and I think it's also a form of self-love," he said. When you just give and give and give, you know, you're out of order … if you don't love yourself, you know, if you don't take that time to take care of yourself and take those moments, you burn out, you burn out.
"I've just fallen in love with the process," Kosine continued. I've made peace with the fact that this is a marathon, and we are supposed to endure through the marathon and just enjoy the process."
Check out the complete program above to learn more about mental health and the music community—and be sure to watch and listen to Kosine's Truth Serum.
Elevating LGBTQIA+ people in music is much bigger than any song, artist or album. It's about providing tangible aid to a marginalized, historically embattled community. That's where MusiCares, a charitable arm of the Recording Academy dedicated to health and wellness in the music community, comes into the picture.
Here are four resources to help LGBTQIA+ folks in practical, expedient ways during Pride Month and beyond.
Each week, MusiCares offers free emotional support groups that serve as safe and secure places to sort through various wellness issues or concerns.
MusiCares recognizes the unique challenges that members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face because of their identity. As a result, they have established these groups specifically for members of the music community who identify as LGBTQIA+.
The group is held virtually every Wednesday from 12 to 1 p.m. PT by Adrienne N. Williams, a licensed social worker with a Master’s in Education and doctoral candidate at Widener University. Adrienne also has a private practice where she works to dismantle stigmas and shame about mental health and sex in our society.
To participate in the support group, contact Adrienne directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year-round, the MusiCares Health & Human Services Team hosts programming—both virtually and in-person—that tackles the needs of the music community.
MusiCares has collaborated with organizations including SAGE and The Trevor Project for a handful of programs that specifically address the needs of the LGBTQIA+ music community, such as “Health & Wellness in the LGBTQ Community” and “Aging Adults and the LGBTQ Community.”
MusiCares has also hosted vocal health and wellness webinars focusing on training Transgender and Non-Binary Singing Artists, partnering with authors of The Voice Book for Trans and Non-Binary People, Matthew Mills and Gillie Stoneham, along with Liz Jackson Hearns, who wrote One Weird Trick: A User’s Guide to Transgender Voice and The Singing Teacher’s Guide to Transgender Voices.
To view MusiCares’ upcoming programs, check out their events page.
MusiCares understands that seeing a mental health professional can be costly—even for those who have health insurance. Plus, navigating the mental healthcare system is often difficult and it may be hard to figure out where to start.
Through their Mental Health and Addiction Services Arm, MusiCares provides funding for qualifying individuals to receive mental health treatment, including therapy, psychiatric care, mental health workshops, and more.
The Mental Health and Addiction Services Team at MusiCares consists of licensed professionals who can assess and refer individuals to the right mental healthcare specialist for them, whether it be a psychiatrist, trauma specialist, or counselor.
MusiCares regularly works with mental health practitioners who have an understanding of the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.
To qualify for this funding, individuals must have worked in the music industry for at least three years or have at least six commercially released recordings.
For more information on this program, visit the MusiCares website.
The Health Services Arm of MusiCares addresses the medical needs of the music community by providing financial assistance during medical crises and preventive services such as dental and medical screenings, hearing clinics, and assistance obtaining low-cost health insurance.
MusiCares understands that members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face challenges in obtaining medical treatment, such as discrimination from medical providers or insurance companies.
As a result, MusiCares can refer clients to medical providers that understand the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, and MusiCares’ medical grants can be used to help with the cost of procedures insurance companies may not cover, such as gender confirmation surgery.
For more information about the Medical Services Arm of MusiCares, visit www.musicares.org.
MusiCares, the leading music charity supporting the health and welfare of the music community, announced today that it is distributing a final round of funding for COVID-19 Relief. The effort continues the support for music professionals, concluding upon distribution of the $2 million raised during the inaugural Music On A Mission virtual fundraiser this past March, to be directly distributed to 2,000 eligible applicants.
Although the pandemic relief will be coming to a close, the need for support remains high, and MusiCares is dedicated to helping all professionals in the music industry through existing and new mental health and hardship grant programs and virtual support groups, among other programs.
At a time when many in the industry dealt with financial insecurity due to shuttered venues and canceled tours, MusiCares acted quickly to support the music community by launching MusiCares COVID-19 Relief. Since March 2020, MusiCares has distributed more than $25 million directly to more than 34,000 music professionals in need.
"The pandemic has been devastating to musicians, tour managers, stage crews, and so many others that are involved in making music happen. We heard from our community that many are experiencing elevated levels of depression, financial insecurity and low levels of confidence that they could pay for basic living expenses during the pandemic," Laura Segura, Executive Director of MusiCares, said. "It is encouraging to know that music people turned to MusiCares in their time of need and we hope they continue to do so as we re-acclimate post-pandemic."
Following the nearly year and a half of COVID-19 Relief, MusiCares will help the music community transition back to business, with an emphasis on prioritizing mental health. MusiCares also continues to provide support through the many services we are known for, including medical, dental and hearing programs, mental health and addiction recovery services, preventative clinics, unforeseen personal emergencies, and disaster relief, treating each case with integrity and confidentiality.
"As it's often said in our biz, 'The show must go on,'" one MusiCares grant recipient said. "Thank you for all that you did during this most difficult of years to sustain a vital forum for artists, live music and community, and for supporting me through your COVID-19 Relief program. Besides being much-needed good news, it was a great encouragement and inspired me to stay creative and courageous."
Ian Davis, Melanie Fiona and Devi Brown
Screenshot from Be Well: An Immersive Mental Wellness Workshop
As part of our Mental Health Awareness Month 2021 programming, a month-long lineup of events to encourage musicians and those in the music industry to prioritize their mental health, MusiCares recently partnered with Amazon Music and the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC) to present Be Well, an immersive mental wellness workshop.
In partnership with Silence the Shame, a nonprofit focused on education and awareness around mental health, and Creative Vibes Only, a resource platform aimed at providing tools to artists, creatives and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their wellness, brands and careers, Be Well offered a mental wellness experience to help folks navigate depression with mindful resources to be well.
The nearly two-hour event featured conversations and practice with Shanti Das, Devi Brown and Melanie Fiona, along with music by four-time GRAMMY-winning, multi-genre artist, Robert Glasper.
"We've all been through so much over the last year, from being separated from loved ones due to the pandemic to social unrest and police brutality. It's been a lot, and it's more important than ever that we're talking about and taking care of our mental health," Harvey Mason jr., the Recording Academy's newly appointed President and CEO, said during the intro of the event.
"I encourage you all to take advantage of the resources discussed today and to never feel ashamed or afraid to get the help you need," he said of the Be Well event.
"Mental wellness is something that we as a music industry continue to take for granted," Riggs Morales, senior vice president of A&R at Atlantic Records and Chair of the BMC, added. "We would associate it with folks having some sort of mental issues or weakness when, in fact, no one is exempt from dealing with what life throws at us and how we handle it … Now more than ever, it's super important that we check in on each other to ensure that the human being is in tact in order for the creatives to do his or her [job] and reflect through their art."
Be Well, an extension of the BMC, in conjunction with MusiCares, that addresses wellness on all fronts, was born out of the tumultuous past year. The Be Well event aimed to address some of those experiences while offering resources to help music industry professionals continue to face real-world issues and situations.
Watch the Be Well: An Immersive Mental Wellness Workshop virtual event in full above to learn more about how you can get on the path to being well.