Singer Mabel opened up about struggling with her mental health as a female artist on Munroe Bergdorf’s new podcast.
“Depression will lie to you and tell you that you’re alone, but you really never are.” Brit award-winning singer Mabel McVey opened up about dealing with anxiety as a female artist on The Way We Are, a new Spotify Original podcast from activist and model, Munroe Bergdorf.
Mabel, who was signed to Universal Records aged 18 and has had multiple top 10 UK hits, talked openly about the importance of being kind to yourself and embracing vulnerability as strength on the first episode of Bergdorf’s podcast, about which “reflects on journeys of growth and remarkable stories of turning trauma into triumph.”
Reflecting on dealing with anxiety as a teenager, McVey shared: “It’s been such a process. In general, over the last few years, people have started to talk about it more. But I remember when I was younger nobody really did, and I wish now that someone had just turned around and said “I feel like this sometimes.”
“There was this stigma around it, and there still is in many ways. But just talking about it has made such a difference.”
Now, aged 25, McVey told Bergdorf that “the voice is still there. But now it’s like okay, I hear you, I see you, but you’re not in the driver’s seat. I’m driving the car and you’re welcome on the journey. You can sit in the backseat, I respect that, but you’re not driving this car anymore.’”
“Trying to force it out and saying ‘no, this isn’t happening’ doesn’t work – that voice is going to come back every now and again. But it’s like hi, nice to see you. You sit in the back, me and positivity are in the front.”
Sharing her own experience of anxiety, Bergdorf agreed: “It really is that when you’re speaking to yourself. It’s your worst self telling you that you can’t do something. We really can be our own worst enemies sometimes.”
After being asked how she began to turn this thinking around and working with herself rather than against, McVey cited lockdown and the pandemic as a transformative moment where her attitude towards herself and her confidence changed.
After winning a Brit award in 2020 and going on tour, she talked about how despite everything in her career being “so incredible”, she was personally in a “terrible place”.
“That voice was very much in the driver’s seat and I was telling myself that I was going to fail at things before I was doing them. I was constantly on edge. When the lockdown happened, I suddenly thought, what am I going to do?” Instead, she used the time at home following cancelled tours and recording sessions to get to know herself again.
“I reconnected with myself and the things I used to like that had nothing to do with music,” she shared. “It was about respecting that person and who I really am. And when I brought that to the studio, that was when I did my best work.”
“When you know yourself, that’s how you find confidence. It’s not about being great all the time, but knowing both your good and bad.”
McVey also spoke candidly about the importance of embracing her mixed Sierra Leonean and Swedish heritage. “When I was younger, I hadn’t discovered enough about my own heritage to understand where I came from and be really proud of that,” she told Bergdorf. But now I do. This is who I am.”
When asked about her biggest hope for the future, McVey responded “to be proud” of her achievements in the moment.
“I think it’s so easy to think that once you score a goal, the goal posts just move. But I hope that I get better at having fun while I’m doing it.”