'Artistes must keep in shape' ... Entertainment players caution against burnout

November 29, 2016
Kanye West
@Normal:Bob Marley and the Wailers
Dr Leahcim Semaj
Tarrus Riley

... Entertainment players caution against burnout

Last week, international superstar Kanye West cancelled the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour, with a representative from his camp telling 'The New York Times' that the rapper was placed under observation for exhaustion at a Los Angeles hospital.

West's episode has brought to question what measures local artistes should take to guard against a similar occurrence.

"The most important thing is to treat touring like a long-distance race," Dr Leahcim Semaj told THE STAR.

"There is limited time for sleep and recovery. If you are not in good shape, you will find yourself burning the candle at both ends," he added.

Semaj recalled years ago, he was attending a concert in Colgate College in New York, and being the single black man amid a sea of white people.

It was an anomaly that allowed him access backstage, as he was favoured by one of the performer's crew members. The performer was Bob Marley.

Semaj told THE STAR that Marley said to him, "Boss, mi hungry, enuh. Mek we get some food."

In highlighting this incident, Semaj drew an example of tour life.

The Marley crew arrived to perform at the concert, immediately after completing a five-hour long drive to Cornell University from New York.

"It's not just your repertoire. It is planning and training. It's almost like you're an athlete, and you're being drained night after night. The biggest thing is planning and fitness," Semaj said.

Artiste manager Rohan 'Blue' Smith shared a similar view. He told THE STAR that artiste welfare is best managed with the collaboration of the booking agents, tour managers, and artiste managers.

"Based upon how the tour is scheduled, sometimes the only time the artiste will get rest is on the bus," he said.


Shane Brown, artiste manager for both Tarrus Riley and Alaine, said his clients are very physically active.

"They're in the gym, they're health conscious. That is something we promote," Brown said. "My artistes won't be working seven days a week. We have to make sure we schedule days off and travel days," he said.

Kanye West's Saint Pablo tour had been marred by bizarre rants from the rapper, including controversial statements onstage about how he "would have voted for Donald Trump" in the recent US presidential election.

In his last performance in Sacramento, California, West launched into a tirade that called out Jay-Z and BeyoncE, radio programmers, Hillary Clinton, Google and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, before cutting the concert short.

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