Being in a band gives musicians a unique platform to advocate for causes they are passionate about. Through live performances, interviews and posts on social media, they are able to influence their fans and send a message to the general public. Not everyone uses their platform to enact social change, but there are a whole lot of individuals taking the opportunity they’ve been given to say something. This series is going to focus on sharing the work and causes being talked about by different musicians.
Erin Reus, frontwoman of pop punk band Stateside, immediately sprung to mind when I was thinking of people to interview. I met Erin in 2014, when we were both new to the Brisbane music scene. It’s been lovely to watch her grow into herself, both as a vocalist and an advocate for the things she believes in.
In the beginning
Her causes of choice are mental health awareness and anti-bullying. Having experienced bullying throughout primary and high school, she says that is threw her into a bad spiral for years. She didn’t know she could talk about what she was experiencing, let alone who to talk to.
Finding her feet
After graduating high school, she began performing at high schools around Brisbane at mental health awareness and harmony day events. She would share her story, how she got through it, and what she’d have done differently. The positive feedback from the schools and their students gave her the confidence to continue promoting change within the community. As her band audience began to grow, she realised she could use it as a advocacy platform as well.
When asked where she draws continual inspiration from, she stated:
“I’m now a qualified youth worker; I think doing the course, and really burying myself in the work sparked this inspiration for me. Hearing peoples’ stories, helping to guide them in the right direction; going on tour and having these conversations with other musicians, friends & music listeners. Sometimes you know what you need to do to get better, but you just need to hear it from someone else — which is what I need sometimes as well. The statistics and information that I pull out is straight from organisations like Beyond Blue, Headspace and Suicide Prevention Australia, as well as my own and other’s experiences”.
Something to say
Her message is ultimately this: “Mental illness affects everyone, whether it be a personal struggle or that of a friend or family member. So why is it such a taboo subject? Keep sharing the help resources with your friends, and don’t forget to check in every now and then. I personally found that talking to a stranger on a suicide hotline helped me a lot — but some people don’t feel comfortable doing that and that’s okay, too. Maybe they’d prefer to talk to you instead. 5 minutes could save a life”.
Where to next?
Erin’s burning passion for positively impacting others is most certainly going to keep her involved in the cause for years to come. When I asked where she intends to take her advocacy in the future she responded “I’ve been working closely with a bunch of suicide prevention organisations for a few years now and I only plan to get more involved. I’m going to continue promoting, keep making noise, and continue using my platform to show people they’re not alone. If you’ve made it this far through the article, thank you for giving me your time. Check on a mate today, sometimes the people who suffer the most are the ones who go unnoticed”.
All images by Lord Media (@lordmedia)