Larry Jackson, the current Head of Content at Apple Music, joins Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast, in partnership with iHeartRadio and Sleep Number, where he speaks about his own experience with mental health, and how he’s seen its effect on the artists, including Whitney Houston, he’s worked with throughout his career.
On the podcast, Jackson tells Huffington about his beginnings in the music industry, when he moved to New York City as a young adult and was immediately thrown into the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced, often overwhelming work environment. “Talk about being thrown in the deep end of the pool at 19 years old,” he recalls. “No family in New York, no friends, even. I was just there entirely to blaze a path for my career at that time. And it was a lot. It was a lot super quickly.”
Only a year after Jackson arrived in New York City, he witnessed the trauma of 9/11, and the city’s devastation affected him both mentally and emotionally. “What I saw unfold that day was something that left such a tattoo on my memory and on my heart, that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life,” he remembers. It was at that point that he decided to seek help by finding a local therapist to cope. “I just decided that I didn’t have all the answers,” he explains. “I was under extreme stress at a very early age… I needed help.”
Jackson says that as his career progressed, he got the chance to work with incredible artists, but he also began to see how mental illness affected people he worked closely with. He even tells Huffington that as a close colleague of Whitney Houston’s, he saw her battle with depression first-hand while working with her toward the end of her life. “We were making her last album that she made before she unfortunately passed away,” he recalls, “And there were certain things that I was seeing in the studio at the time, and I was like, ‘I don’t know. This doesn’t look right.’”
Today, Jackson says going to therapy saved his life, and he is passionate about placing his mental health first in his life and career. He also wants people to know that it’s OK to seek help if you’re struggling, and that keeping it all inside isn’t the solution. “We all need perspective,” he says. “I don’t think any of us really have all the answers.”
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