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Eilish Gilligan's guide to self care advice for musicians

11 February 2020 | 11:27 am | Emma Jones

The incomparable Eilish Gilligan has a new single out, so we got to know her a bit better to talk all things self care for artists and musicians.

Future popstar EILISH GILLIGAN has arrived in style in 2020 with my favourite single yet of hers, and that's saying something. 'I Just Want To Look At You' is a simple but so beautiful single, inspired by someone saying the title to Gilligan herself. Continuing to hone in on her ability to be so intimate and vulnerable but still employing pop sensibilities to make sure her songs really stay with you, Gilligan shines so brightly on this latest release as she explores the sometimes-simplistic beauty of love.

Working with Jonathan Boulet for co-writing and co-production duties, it's another big step forward for the Melbourne based artist who consistently levels up with every release. From her debut single, 'Here' to the punchy, addictive most recent addition, 'Someone Else', Gilligan just gets better and better with everything she does. Romantic dream pop often calls for an almost shoegaze approach to lyrics and vocals, but Gilligan yields her voice as her own unique weapon to rise above the rest, openly embracing her jaw-dropping vocals and the spotlight it brings. She's ambitious, innovative and a scholar of pop and these three elements make for a foundation on which she's been able to build something truly remarkable with her music and what she's built on again with 'I Just Want To Look At You'.

Her knack for bringing a casual, fleeting interaction to life in a theatrical, bold yet still personal and reflective way is on display again in this latest release, with Gilligan saying, “I’ve always thought that writing a song is like putting a beautiful frame around what could be considered an otherwise flippant or casual moment in time."

To get to know her a bit better (as clearly, we can't get enough of her), we asked Eilish to take us through a few tips for looking after yourself if you're a musician or artist. Below, Eilish writes directly to our readers to let us in on her tried and true methods for self care. It's an incredibly important message that we share a passion for with Gilligan here at Purple Sneakers, and one that we will continue to get behind to make sure our favourite artists are remembering to look after #1 first and foremost. Take a read below and stream 'I Just Want To Look At You' here:

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I recently read a book called The Actor’s Life by Jenna Fischer, and it’s a book I would 100% recommend to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in a creative field. It’s funny, educational, truthful, sweet and relatable – but after finishing it, the quote that stuck with me the most was the following (and I’m paraphrasing here):

If you can think of literally anything else that you would be happy to pursue as a career, aside from being an artist, do that instead. If you can’t think of a single other thing you could possibly do, you’re born to be an artist.

So, go ahead – honestly, my first piece of advice would be to flick through the metaphorical rolodex of potential career paths in your mind before pursuing a life as an artist – or, for the sake of this piece, musician. If you’re going to do it, you’re going to want to eat, sleep, breathe your craft. You’ll probably be poor and sleep-deprived for a good 80% of your life. Rejection, criticism, cynicism and possibly bullying will be something you’ll need to learn how to face. You will need to decide if the good parts of being a musician (of which there are so many!) are worth the shitty parts (of which there are arguably also many).

If you’ve already made that decision and you’re going to stick with the music, congratulations! You have chosen to dedicate your short time on this earth to your musical endeavours. That’s extremely admirable and you’ve chosen a life of adventure, passion, and the deep satisfaction of knowing you are giving your all to your one true calling.

However – to dull the ache of the shittiness that we briefly discussed above, I have a few snippets of advice, all of which I of course learned the hard way. You’re welcome.

Don’t read the comments. Ever. Like – EVER. Do not read them. Don’t do it! And let me tell you why: once I got a comment that said my hair looked like a pineapple. Another comment once broke down my entire discography, all to prove exactly why my latest track was ‘everything that served to make modern music monotonous’. The best/worst one was someone who commented ‘What’s next? Gilligan Billie?’

It’s so sad how quickly I can recite these three comments versus how long it takes me to recall a positive one. For some masochistic reason, the human brain remembers the stuff that makes us sad or angry better than the stuff that makes us happy (or at least mine does). That’s why I try really hard to stay away from the comment section.

Meditate. I’m serious. I believe that everyone on the planet should meditate for at least ten minutes a day. It’s not some new-agey, ooky spooky thing – it’s scientifically proventhat meditation is extremely healthy for you. I do a session every day, and particularly before performances. I like the app Headspace – you can do a free trial I’m pretty sure, but I find that it’s definitely worth the $100 annual fee for the whole thing.

Develop an interest or hobby outside of music. I know this kind of runs contradictory to what I was saying before about music being the one and only thing in your life – that’s still true, but you do need to carve a little space for something that is purely recreational. You need something that is just yours, something that you don’t put out into the world for judgement, criticism or money-making. Right? My outside-of-music obsession is RuPaul’s Drag Race. I watch this video and this video before every gig. Please talk to me about it literally anytime.

Now for some quickfire bits and pieces because I’m already over the specified wordcount here:

When you’re on tour, bring your own pillowcase so you don’t get pinkeye from the hotel pillowcase. If you want something cheap-ish and healthy in an unfamiliar city, get a salad from Subway or a burrito bowl from Zambrero’s. If you have dietary requirements bring your own food everywhere just in case. Wear sunscreen and invest in a little skincare – the ritual will be soothing when you’re on the road, I promise, and you’ll wake up feeling fresh no matter when you went to bed. Mute every single person on your Instagram feed and unfollow everyone on Facebook – this is what we refer to in the biz as ‘radical self care’ and it’s honestly the best thing I ever did for my sanity. Make a list of all the wonderful things you get to do because of your artistic lifestyle. When in doubt, listen to 'Don’t Start Now' by Dua Lipa.

'I Just Want To Look At You' is out now.


Mon. March 16 - Estonian House (Brunswick Music Festival, supporting Elizabeth)

Sat. March 21 - Longplay, North Fitzroy - intimate Acoustic performance

Image Credit: Giulia McGauran