Martin Bauman talks mental health, hip-hop, and biking 7000kms across Canada

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20% of people have suffered from mental health issues or know someone who has. Our guest this week is Martin Bauman. If you have been a longtime listener of TCUS podcast, you probably recognize his name. He had been a great contributor for over four years! He interviewed hip-hop artists like Mac Miller, Kardinal Offishall, G-Eazy, and many artists that had been featured on our podcast.

On this episode, we talked about how hip-hop can be connected to mental health. Martin answered why he quit his full-time job at a radio station to be able to bike across Canada to raise money for mental health.

You can follow his bike journey this summer on his Instagram (@shotbymartin) and donate to Martin’s ride for Mental Health.

Aside from hip-hop, we talked about regret, self-confidence, and warm showers. Enjoy!

On Why He Quit His Job [@17:21]

Chedo: You quit your job. A full-time job salary job. You went to school for radio broadcasting journalism and I went to school for radio broadcasting as well. We all know how tough it can be when you graduate from college to get a job right away in the market especially in radio. For the people that don’t know it’s a really tough industry to really get a good job. When you graduated, you got a job.

Martin: I did. Yeah.

Chedo: And now you quit the job to be able to pursue this journey for this summer. Why did you quit your job? After hearing your story, did your put your employer say… “Wow! This is inspirational, Martin. We’ll let you have the summer off and come back in September.” Why wouldn’t they let you do that?

Martin: They probably would have had that conversation and I’d be willing to have that conversation. But, for me, it is one of those things that… I guess by conventional logic it is a crazy thing to do. You get this job right out of school and everybody tells you [to]… “Hang on to whatever job you can and treat it like this lifeline at this precious thing that you’re never going to have again. I don’t know. I just feel like that priority is a little bit shifted from the way I see things. I feel like there’s a way of life that a lot of people go through where you’re almost viewing life as this ladder where you progressed from. You are born and at the bottom of this ladder. Then you progressed and progressed through school and then you graduate school and get a job somewhere. People only think of progress as progress through education. And then getting a career… And then maybe getting married and having kids and retiring. It’s [a] very linear mold of progress and a very one-dimensional concept of what a meaningful life looks like. I just don’t quite feel the same way. I feel like there’s more to life than that sort of way of thinking about things. I’ve never been too intimidated about doings things a little bit differently.

So for me, it was more important to me to do something that really meant the most to me. At this time in my life, that was the bike riding. I was not hesitating at all to put my career on hold. Get a chance to do something that really meant the most to me this time. I thought my career [could] wait. I can come back and find another job somewhere if need be. Maybe I go back and then up in the same place or end up in the same market… Who knows what’s going to come? But I just knew that I would really have regretted it had I not taking the chance to do what was most important to me at this time. I think I’ve heard so many other stories of people when they grow old people or who are well along in their career and they say, “I wish I would have done something like that.” I’ve heard that so much since I’ve made this plan of doing the bike ride. People telling me, “Oh yeah my wife and I or my husband and I… we had this plan to do this bike ride and then we never did it. Or people telling me “I wish I did something like this and I never did it.” I think it’s just a matter of if you don’t go in and really pursue what you’re most interested in doing and go after it now that it’s so easy to just push it off and push it off. Then never happen. So it was important to me. Imperative to me to follow what I really believed in. In this case, if that means putting a career on hold then so be it. I know I’m not going to regret the chance to do something that is really a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me.

Connection of Hip-Hop and Mental Health [@31:28]

Chedo: Let’s talk about hip-hop and the connection that hip-hop has with mental health.

Martin: I am sure a lot of us who love this culture… We all have our own stories of just what an amazing force it can be in your life. For me, that was definitely the case. When I look at my own story, for me it was a lot of it has to do with the way you see yourself and self-worth and self-esteem. So for me that process… grade 7/8 was really a low point for me. Actually, there were times when I didn’t even really want to look in the mirror for weeks at that time. [I] wasn’t really comfortable with doing that sort of thing and it took me awhile to get through that. And then simultaneously as I sort of discovered hip-hop… I think it’s such an empowering genre. So much of it is filled with self-confidence and self-affirmation. These rappers that are saying [that] you can do anything you put your mind to. These rappers saying these lines… like “I love myself!” or “I’m the best!” Anything like that can fill you up with so much energy and so much confidence. That for me was like the perfect antidote at that time.

So this transition from grade 7/8 into high school as I felt more and more in love with hip-hop and got deeper into it that became a voice for me. I started out in hip-hop, first as a fan, and then as many fans go you kinda go… tryout at least one element of the culture. For me, I started trying to write some raps. I tried break dancing and that didn’t go too well. So I am stuck at the emceeing and that was a way for me being a shy kid that wasn’t too comfortable in my own skin at times finding a voice. First, it was just in my the corner of the room writing down on a scrap of paper and then type it on my computer. But eventually, you record those raps. Then you rap them to your friends and you get this confidence. It just grows and grows. So for me hip-hop was this force where I was able to find confidence within myself. [It] really help[s] with myself image in terms of just listening to hip-hop and listening to artists talk about similar experiences and to be able to write about what I was going through. [It is] a very therapeutic thing to do creating art in any form and hip-hop is absolutely an art form. That creative aspect was another moment that allowed for so much progress and so much growth. It continue[s] ever since then.

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