"Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll" — often used as a kind of summary of the music industry — is being challenged today as sober positivity and mental health take center stage.
National initiatives such as 1 Million Strong aim to enable the assimilation of sobriety within the music space by supporting one million people in recovery from addiction by the year 2025.
The sober-active community, in partnership with Stand Together Foundation, Stand Together Music and The Phoenix, has worked to unite the music industry, including artists and fans, to create welcoming sober spaces and encourage open conversations about recovery, according to Stand Together.
This includes Megan and Rebecca Lovell, sisters born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.
They make up the Grammy-nominated country rock band Larkin Poe.
The duo joined Fox News Digital in an on-camera interview to discuss their involvement with 1 Million Strong and its efforts to raise money and awareness for addiction recovery.
The sisters said the initiative resonated with their own passion for breaking the stigma of substance abuse in the music industry.
"We were really struck by the importance and the sincerity with which they approach advocacy for addiction and for recovery," lead singer Rebecca Lovell said — "especially as musicians who tour within an industry that is disproportionately affected by addiction."
"It just feels like a really natural fit for us to be able to join forces with people that we truly believe are doing excellent work," she also said.
Elder sister Megan Lovell acknowledged her own struggle with mental health issues — and emphasized the importance of "speaking openly" about the "troubles" that so many other musicians experience.
"Drawing people around you is really important because I think that if you feel alone and afraid, it can exacerbate your mental health issues," the lap steel guitarist said.
"And in really speaking openly with folks, you feel so much less alone — and it can actually really, really help."
While alcohol is "prevalent" at most music events, whether it’s backstage or among the crowd, Megan Lovell suggested there's a need for sober positivity.
Rebecca Lovell admitted that the stereotypical sense of "hardcore," "full-on party" touring life is "very rarely" the reality of the lifestyle that also serves as a livelihood for musicians.
"It’s not sustainable to ‘party hardy’ every night if you’re expected to give your fans a great show," she said.
In their 18 years of touring, Larkin Poe has rejected creating a "parody experience of what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll touring musician," Rebecca Lovell explained, by prioritizing human experience.
"We want connection. We want to put on really present shows … having constructive relationships, healthy relationships. That's how we interpret our rock ‘n’ roll," she said. "That's what feels rock ‘n’ roll to us."
She added, "And I think being willing to say that and not feel like you're being like a ‘nerd’ or something … It can be very cool."
Megan Lovell chimed in, "Having good mental health and healthy relationships can be cool, too."
Rebecca Lovell said that embracing a sober-active lifestyle boils down to "living within your own truth" and engaging as an individual.
"We've toured for many years with many different people … at different stages in their own journey with sobriety or being in recovery," she said.
"It really comes down, I think, to being able to know what's good for yourself and to have a community where you can openly discuss, so that if you do have questions, or you are feeling pulled in different directions, to have a community with whom you can discuss and to not feel isolated."
Larkin Poe recently attended the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in Louisiana, where 1 Million Strong hosted a sober-supportive wellness retreat.
The sisters stopped by the 1 Million Strong tent, which offered a space for allies to hang out and support others, which Rebecca Lovell described as an "incredible installation."
"People who were seeking a sober environment were able to have a safe space to exist in the greater context of the festival," she said. "And that's, I think, what we're talking about — seeking inclusion for everybody on their many walks of life."
Larkin Poe’s relationship with 1 Million Strong has so far allowed them to further promote mental health within their fan base, Megan Lovell said, as they've also written music on the topic in songs like "Mad As A Hatter."
As the Larkin Poe community grows, Rebecca Lovell encouraged fans and those seeking help with addiction to "prioritize mental health" without regard for being judged.
"Being willing to remove judgment from your own experience as a human is really key to being able to live more fully in your life," she said. "And that is absolutely the goal."
She added, "Remove the fear and just try new things."
She also said, "When we are able to exist within a space of curiosity of what more we can find within ourselves, that's a beautiful space within which to exist."
The organization 1 Million Strong is supported by a long list of artists who’ve also signed onto the campaign, such as Melissa Etheridge and The Chainsmokers.
Some 56% of music industry professionals cite problematic substance use, according to a 2020 survey by Tulane University School of Social Work
Another 2020 study by Tour Health Research Initiative (THRIV) found that 34% of touring professionals suffered from clinical levels of depression, while 45% reported drinking alcohol regularly.
Of the 40.3 million people struggling with addiction, according to The Phoenix, only 6% have access to traditional treatments.
For more information on how to get involved with 1 Million Strong, anyone can visit 1millionstrong.com.