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Some Exclusive Writings from Alex

Some Exclusive Writings from Alex


I hope you’re well! I really enjoyed the past few days in The Club where I had the chance to welcome many new friends from all over the world and already share about music, life, and fantastic personal stories - all things I’ve always been a huge fan of!

I would like to congratulate all the Vinyl Vault winners for The Son of Hannah LP draw that occurred earlier today! It’s been such an incredible experience for me to be live on Alex’s YouTube channel with you all, sharing about the perks of The Club but mostly the heart and soul of what the SFCC is - and has been for the past decade - all about…! I think we should repeat this way more often! It gave me a few ideas about our communications, how meaningful they are to us, and how I’d love to bring them on a more interactive level! Please, always feel free to answer this letter with any suggestion, question, or comment about The Club. I’m always looking forward to growing and making things better!

For those of you who just joined The Club and had the chance to win one of the 18 vinyls earlier, you’ll also have the chance to get a personal handwritten letter from Alex! While you’re waiting for the doorbell to ring, there are plenty of great things for you to discover in The Club, like all the stories I shared behind almost every song from Alex’s album Windows in the Sky, all the music we’ve been releasing on vinyls over the past two years that you can download for free, as well as last year’s Old School membership package items that you can start collecting! They’re all handcrafted and designed by Alex himself with his creative atelier team based here at the Montreal HQ! 


Alex is a columnist in the well-known and respected magazine Canadian Musician, which he’s been a faithful reader of since the first time I met him back in 2002! He’s been writing previous stories about what it is to be a DIY artist with sometimes hilarious, sometimes disastrous stories about our unique journey as artists-entrepreneurs! I wanted to share a part of his fourth letter exclusively with you since this should come out in March! I’ll share the entire work in another missive shortly! 

Enjoy and please, keep this for yourself - for now! 

I was about to write about going back on the road when I read the humbling and moving page Catherine Harrison from Over The Bridge wrote in the latest Canadian Musician edition. That, along with the interview from The Strumbellas' lead singer Simon Ward and Isaac Wood stepping back from Black Country, New Road, inspired me to share about my own recent emotional fumble.   

It’s incredible to realize that it’s been 2 years since everyone’s lives have been profoundly impacted by the pandemic. I thought it would be a 2-week thing. I was starting my solo journey after what I would later realize was an undiagnosed depression following my father’s passing, which led me to take a break from my 10-year tenure as Your Favorite Enemies’ leader. My album Windows in the Sky was collecting positive reviews all over the world, I had 2 years of tours aligned, was set to play at the Tokyo Olympics… Then 2 weeks turned into months, months led to a first tour postponement, then a second, and so on… but I kept on going. I was locked down with my band and crew for weeks, which allowed me to keep the high-speed motion I was on. No matter what hit me, it was all about going forward. I had to be the first in line, all systems ready to go, when everything would open again.

While everything I have built seemed fragile, I kept on going. I didn’t care about the red lights. A close friend told me that I had all the symptoms of burnout, of mental exhaustion. I laughed... until it freaked me out. I have a new record to finish. I’m halfway through writing a book. I have a movie score on the way. I have a label to look after, a studio to operate, a merchandising company, a vinyl plant I want to open next spring. That’s why I’m tired and stressed. Ain’t this the reality of every artist-entrepreneur? Nobody else will come and save the day. I can’t miss potentially crucial opportunities. If I say “no” now, I might not have that call a second time around. If I’m not ready, someone else will take my place. I can’t slow down, let alone stop. 

My health began to deteriorate. But I didn’t care. I already made it through sinus cancer and toured China right after surgery before, so it can’t be worse. Came dizziness, imbalance, blurred vision, sleeplessness, lack of energy, anxiety… I carried on, released more projects, made more business acquisitions. I was one of the first Canadian artists to tour all over the UK and Europe last October. I was indeed the first in line when the world slightly re-opened for a second. Whatever the cost, tiredness is only temporary anyway. I had won that crazy rat race and outgrew the waiting game. 

I didn’t see the Omicron variant coming up. Opportunities canceled, releases pushed back. I had to deal with the horror of having more friends take their lives. And just like that, I collapsed. Burnout, momentary depression, or mental exhaustion... It wasn’t about me willingly deciding to take a break anymore. It was me being broken… Beyond repair.

It was difficult for me to accept that I had reached that point. I was in denial, frustrated, bitter. The future wasn’t a concern anymore, as every day became a battle against sorrows, sadness, and a profound sensation of failure. Days became weeks. And if I refused to see the reality of my condition at first, I made the best of it when I did. I slowly transitioned from “doing” to “being”. I reconnected with the fundamental passion I had for music and arts. I joined online support groups and decided to write handwritten letters, to send postcards. I wrote a few blogs about mental exhaustion, about being damaged. My health became the most important project of all. It was slow but steady. The most challenging elements remained being at peace with declining offers that wouldn’t be beneficial for my inner reconstruction and emotional restoration. It wasn’t about the fear of missing out, it was about being happy to choose me over anything else. And that is still a work in progress… 

I wanted to share my story not because I think that I’m the only one who had it though over the last 2 years but to offer a perspective to those who, just like me, are so deep into their own process that they might lose perspective about their health or what should matter the most in their lives. We are often seen as having the most fun of all jobs (which is sometimes an accurate presumption), but this ostracizes us and it provides the perfect excuses to keep going no matter what. 

But there’s no weakness in putting a knee down. On the contrary, this is synonymous with taking care of what matters the most to your friends, fans, business partners, family members, or whoever’s precious to us: ourselves. So please, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need to. Take a break if you need one. Listen to all the voices imploring you to slow down. It’s never too late to make the right call, even if, just like me, you don’t have time for any of that burnout and mental exhaustion stuff…

- Alex 

Take good care my dear friends..! Always feel free to share and open up if need be...! 

Speak very soon! 
Your Host and Friend, 

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