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Hip-hop artist Archie Green on mental health and music

Archie Green
[photo courtesy Archie Green]

By Carrie Wise

Hip-hop artist Archie Green listens to music all day long. He doesn’t even like to walk between his car and apartment without listening to music.

“It’s therapeutic for me,” Green said.

Finding a song for his mood is better than grabbing a cigarette or drink. It also helps him deal with what’s going on in life.

“Basically, I score my life,” the 31-year-old Shaker Heights resident said.

Green knows listening to music isn’t always enough to get him through tough times, though. He openly shares in his own music – and in conversation – how he turned to therapy to help with depression.  

“It’s not talked about in the black community,” Green said. “That’s the mentality a lot of us have.”

Green hopes his transparency can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.

After graduate school in New York, he struggled to find a job. He left the city and returned to live in Northeast Ohio with his parents.

In 2013, he was cited for driving under the influence after a night out with friends and lost his license.

“I felt like I’d be a burden (asking for rides),” he said.

He also felt isolated.

After Thanksgiving dinner with family in 2014, he said he felt like he had to be alone. It was then he decided he had to seek help.

“After going to therapy I realized I had depression,” he said.

He wrote the song, “Layers,” about this experience.

“You know as an artist we are charged with being authentic and telling a true and real story,” he said. “That’s really the only way people connect with your music.”

Another artist with roots in the Cleveland area, Kid Cudi, shared with the public last month he is dealing with depression and headed to rehab.

When musicians share those experiences it helps, Green said.

In an effort to start a conversation about mental health in the black community, Green organized an event at the Warrensville Heights Public Library, “ Peel Dem Layers Back: Raising Awareness About Mental Health in the Black Community.” The free event features Green’s music video for “Layers” and a discussion with mental health professionals on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Green also performs on Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.

Listen to Archie Green on Tuesday's Here & Now featuring the Sound of Applause between 12- 2 p.m. on 90.3 

Archie Green

Carrie Wise is the deputy editor of arts and culture at Ideastream Public Media.