Iggy Azalea: Demi Lovato Inspired Me To Get Mental Health Treatment

By David Konow 04/06/18

Azalea opened up about mental health treatment, stigma and the intervention that led her to a "mental retreat."

Iggy Azalea

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea had her big breakthrough in 2014 with her hit "Fancy," but since then, her career and personal life have endured a lot of ups and downs.

Now Azalea, born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, has revealed to Billboard that in 2017 she went to what she calls a “retreat” for her mental health on the advice of her management, and inspired by pop singer Demi Lovato.

Azalea figured she would be an underground success, and when her career skyrocketed, it was “like landing on Mars. I just think it’s a lot for anybody to digest.” 

Along with the fame and accolades, she got into a number of online brawls via social media against a few rapping peers, and had to deal with the floodgate of trolling that her success opened up.

Azalea admitted that social media “was making me feel physically fucking ill,” and she canceled a tour in 2015, telling fans she had a “creative change of heart” and wanted to finish a new album.

In reality, Azalea was actually “mentally exhausted, and I wasn’t really in a place to start making new music, honestly.”

Azalea revealed she was taken to a meeting in Arizona, then became “annoyed” when she realized it was an intervention for her mental health.

“I thought I was coming in to speak about something else,” she recalls. “Then they were like, ‘We think you need to go away to this place... We need you to go and speak to these people and make sure that you’re mentally prepared to come out with new music.’"

Azalea says, “I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t like the idea of being sent away somewhere. I was pissed.”

Then the rapper thought of her friend Demi Lovato, who has been very public about her mental health struggles and decided to get help, spending two weeks in what her rep calls a “mental retreat” with “intensive therapy.”

“I’ve never really sat down and had an honest conversation with professional people,” Azalea says. “It was good to say something to somebody who could give me the tools and information on how to make my life manageable when I’m feeling those things. So it was really useful—I’m glad that I went.”

Azalea also wrote a song about her mental challenges, "Savior," and while it’s not a hit, it’s an important song for her personally. She even performed the song with Lovato onstage at a recent gig in New York.

After getting help, Azalea says, “I really wish there was more of an infrastructure within the music industry to make sure that the artists have people they can go to. Like physical therapists in sports. The teams have people looking out for [players], that make sure they’re okay in every element, and the music business doesn’t have that—they just throw you out there.”

Azalea also realizes that the stigma of mental health makes it hard for many people in the industry to get help. “I wish it was more normal to say, ‘You’re about to be in an extreme situation, and this is a person we have over here if you want them’—instead of feeling like you’re at the brink before you can bring it up.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.