Jonathan Harnisch once said, “The strongest people are those who win battles we know nothing about.” He was right. There are so many people that have to go through so much while hiding it from the world. These people are not just your everyday run of the mill person, there are countless musicians who have had to deal with similar experiences. Just because they are celebrities does not mean they have picture perfect lives.
It has been proven numerous times that so many of our favorite artists have suffered at the hand of their toxic and controlling managers. For years, artists remained silent, unsure about what to do and, in certain instances, oblivious to the indicators until now.
The boy band Why Don’t We is a prime example. Ever since their formation, they had been abused by their manager David Loeffler but only now are they speaking out about it. When they came out with their accusation, Loeffler filed a lawsuit against the members of the band and their business partner Jonah Marais for an “anticipatory breach in contract.” While the band and Marais filed a lawsuit against Loeffler for “verbal, mental, and financial abuse.”
The band went on to reveal that Loeffler, “…would not only live with us during the day, but controlled us 24/7, setting an alarm that would go off if any door or window was opened. Needless-to-say, we were not given the security code to the alarm, essentially making us hostages in our home.”
Why Don’t We is far from the only band or artist that has been exposed to the toxicity of show biz. One Direction member Liam Payne had developed serious drinking problems due to the constant pressure he was put under at such a young age. He stated that he’d often get drunk before going on stage to deal with the stress they were constantly under. In an interview with Jessie Ware on her Table Manners podcast, Payne expressed that,“The problem we had is that [management] used to sell the tour before we’d written the album. So they’d sell the tour and be alright, ‘We’ve sold the stadiums.’ ” He also told Ware that the level of fame he experienced scared him and made him feel self destructive. The intensity of the stress they were put under is apparent to anyone when you think about it—they put out five albums in five years and had four highly successful world tours. There are so many teenage artists that have been harmed by the music industry. Both Why Don’t We and One Direction were lucky to have broken free of their controlling and down right abusive management.
Ultimately what managers want to do is make the most money for themselves and oftentimes they will go to unimaginable lengths to achieve just that. The music industry, much like many other industries, does not have a union HR department, health insurance, or any sort of guarantee of non abusive behavior in the studio or with your management/label. The lack of checks and balances in the industry just goes to show the dire need for many systemic changes that better protect artists from mismanagement. The more that large, well known artists come forward about the abusive situations, the more it can help smaller artists who are just entering the industry and prevent them from having to deal with the same thing.
Photo Source: “Directors Cut: We Made It” was released on March 3, 2020. Louis Tomlinson/Youtube