Q&A: Frank Harrington on Music and Mental Health
Photo by: Dan Plucinski
Frank Harrington is a Detroit born musician. Frank has been playing music since he was just 6-years-old. Playing the guitar has been an outlet for Frank to deal with stress and bottled up emotions. Once he picked up the guitar he hasn't stopped. Frank's music can be found on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Music.
Q: What song(s) or artist instantly puts you in a better mood?
A: This is a tough one. Music has every mood you can imagine and deciding on which one is better is tough. I try to listen to everything but I’m a more laid-back kinda guy so I tend to lean towards indie rock and indie pop. Artists like Twin Peaks, Alex g, Foxygen, and Dr. Dog put me in great moods day in and day out. Mellow rock really hits home for me.
Q: How has your music in general played a role in your mental health? And how you attack each day?
A: I use music as an escape from thoughts and things I'm stressed out about. Making music sort of takes me out of my head and puts my thoughts into something physical and/or abstract. But not only is music a release for me mentally, but it also teaches me a lot about myself and my thought processes. Listening back to your thoughts and what you were thinking at the time says a lot about how you think and how far you’ve come in your battle. Lastly, it's also motivation. Watching your music grow is a cool feeling so it always keeps me wanting to get better.
Q: Do you practice any daily exercises (physical or mental) that you find beneficial for your mental health?
A: I usually play guitar or piano every day, it is the only way to get better and show your growth with it which leads to motivation for writing. Some meditation and chess also make sure my mental garden is well nurtured. I’ve recently been going to a steam room which also rejuvenates me but that's pretty much the limit of my physical exercise. Although I do partake on the occasional bike ride if the weather permits.
Q: Mental illness and mental health are very important topics, if you could go back and talk to your younger self, what is some advice you’d give to younger Frank?
A: It is what it is, so just be yourself. Don’t worry about other possibilities that could have happened and keep looking towards the future. Just be.
Photo by: Quinn Banks
Q: What song of yours best reflects your vulnerability or mental health?
A: My next project is going to be a lot about mental health and how it affects relationships if not under control. But I’d say the best two songs that display my mental health is a tie between Growth by Brother Son or Ballad for Joe Bauer. Joe Bauer was a huge inspiration to me when I started taking music and singing seriously and he helped me be open about who I am and what message I want to get across. As I go down the road of music I can always sense Joe watching over me.
Q: Do you find writing to be a beneficial release? Whether it’s songs or just journaling?
A: It is an amazing release of energy. Whether it be just playing a few chords on the piano and singing a melody over, jamming a song out with some homies, or writing a note to yourself about your day in a journal; getting your thoughts out into the world is a great way to deal with mental illness. You feel great afterward as well.
Q: Do you think your ability to write songs and has positively impacted the way you communicate with others?
A: One hundred percent. Mental illness and mental health is something that is rarely communicated and music is a great medium to use to talk about it. Although sometimes I feel like it's the only important communication that I do, my music gives me a window to my brain and it teaches me a lot about myself. So it’s definitely positively impacted me to communicate with others and myself.
Q: What changes did you notice in yourself when you started making music?
A: Well besides my hair growing longer and my jeans getting skinnier, music has changed the way I view life immensely. There are a lot of analogies that can be seen between the road of music and the road of life. I may have even become somewhat of a philosopher because of it.
Q: Do you have a simple motto or mantra that you like to live by? What influenced that?
A: Just be. One of my favorites Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, said that was the best advice she had ever received and it’s mine as well. Don’t worry about trying to be something different, just be.