It’s no secret that Blues Music Awards superstar and powerhouse multi-instrumentalist, Beth Hart, has had her fair share of rough patches in her private life. A tough childhood, suffering from depression, drug and alcohol addiction and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder would be enough to step away from the music industry. Not for Hart who has proved time and time again that she is a fighter and that music is her saviour.
“Ever since I was six I’ve worked with therapists so I got used to being really open about everything just in order to survive and understand it,” Hart says. “But in terms of writing songs about it I also have no problem there especially because there’s something about that piano. It has always been a security blanket. I feel like when I go to it, I remember as a very little girl, I was going before God and I still feel that way- just that feeling of angels and protection.”
She continues, “Right away as a child I knew I loved making music so knew I would make it. Whether people applauded or not, if I played in the street or if I played on the stage; it was what I would dedicate my life to for the rest of my life. I’m so thankful I found that at such a young age, especially in my early childhood it was a really, really, really tough time so it’s what kind of saved me I think, what kind of brought me out of that hopelessness.”
With a career spanning now over twenty years, Hart is starting to make herself a priority. The ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ singer is aware of her illness and her capabilities, and is able to manage the health of her mind, body and soul with the support of her team.
“I’m getting older and I want to sing until I’m in my 80’s if I’m alive that long, so I would never let them [her team] work my voice more than 3 to 4 shows per week max! Ever! So there are a lot of ground rules that I’ve laid not only for the health of my voice but for the health of my mind.”
One of those ground rules is her touring schedule, touring seven to eight months of the year max with intervals of six weeks on and 4 weeks off where she spends her time at home gardening, writing music and painting, with studio visits taking place over only three to four days.
“I’m a bi-polar, I’m a rapid cyclers, and it’s the type of illness that really shouldn’t let you work at all but through medication and vitamin therapy and sobriety and a certain kind of exercise I do, and God, and I’m so lucky I have the support of my amazing husband, that I’m able to work a job with this illness,” Hart says. “What I’ve learned along the way was that I could never let anyone overwork me ever.”
Hart is also highly meticulous with her vocal health. She checks in with her vocal coach at least three to four times per year to keep her belter in optimal form and keeps up a fairly intensive regime on the road that consists of warm ups and breathing exercises, a strict diet avoiding acidic foods and drinks, swimming, lots of water and tea consumption, and most importantly putting a zip on it.
“If you’re a really easy soft singer don’t worry about it but if you’re a belter or an opera singer, anyone that’s going to put out a lot of power, I think it’s so important to shut the frick up in between shows.”
And it works as evident from her thunderous performances; something Australian audiences will be able to witness in February as she celebrates her 2018 collaborative album, Black Coffee, with Joe Bonamassa. Cheers to good health in 2019 and grab your tickets at Ticketmaster.
Written by Tammy Walters