saving grace | 

Ireland’s most viewed music star on TikTok reveals struggle with mental health issues

TikTok star Robert battles mental health problems but is determined to put on the best show he can when he gets on the road

Robert has more than two million followers

Robert Grace has had huge success with his songs Fake Fine, Not OK and Hate Me

Robert Grace has had huge success with his songs Fake Fine, Not OK and Hate Me

Robert is a huge hit

Robert will take part in First Fortnight

Eddie RowleySunday World

He’s Ireland’s most viewed music star on TikTok this year, but Robert Grace reveals his life is a constant struggle.

The 29-year-old songwriter and singer, who has 2.3 million followers on TikTok, was forced to cancel his live shows last month due to mental health issues.

Robert, who comes from Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, has openly revealed his personal challenges and gained a massive following through his hit songs such as Fake Fine, Not OK, Hate Me and Fckd In The Head.

Robert Grace has had huge success with his songs Fake Fine, Not OK and Hate Me

“Over the last year I found out a lot more about myself through my song-writing,” Robert tells the Sunday World.

“I started going to therapy as well and that really helped. I don’t take medication at the moment, but I think that can be a huge help to a lot of people too.

"I have taken stuff before and it has helped, but for me I really want to try and see if I can sort it out myself. And if I can fantastic, and if I can’t and need a little bit of help that’s there as well.

“At the start it seems a bit daunting, and then the more you sit with it you realise it’s completely fine to be feeling that way. It will get better and whatever you’re feeling doesn’t last forever, only for a certain amount of time.”

Robert Grace has had huge success with his songs Fake Fine, Not OK and Hate Me

Robert, who is married with two young children, says he’s never been able to find the root cause of his problem.

“It’s a weird one,” he reflects. “For a lot of people it can be a past trauma, something that had happened in their life that they haven’t really dealt with and then it comes back around later in life and they don’t really know what’s going on.

“For me, it’s a weird situation because I had a great childhood and so much support and love from family and friends.

"So I’m still trying to figure it out. The thing is, you could have everything, you could have the best family, you could have all the money in the world and unfortunately that doesn’t save you from having a mental illness.

Robert is a huge hit

“Sometimes I wonder why was I ever sad, or why was I feeling that way when things are so good. A lot of it is to do with my career as well; things that I want to happen, things I want to do, and accepting that I can’t control everything, I can only do what I can do.

“When I’m working super hard to get somewhere and it doesn’t happen, that can have a huge affect on me. Music is my job, my hobby. Literally everything I do in my whole life is music.

“I have set fairly high standards for myself and what I want to do. Sometimes they are a bit far-fetched and if I don’t reach them those things can set me off. It’s mainly battling with myself is my biggest issue. It’s not really something that anyone else does, it’s all internal.

Robert will take part in First Fortnight

“Sometimes it makes me want to stop and give up. When it happens I find it hard to do anything. Even though I’m doing well on social media, I find it very, very difficult when I have those weeks or days.

“It’s the usual kind of thing where you just do not want to get out of bed. You kind of convince yourself the world is nearly ending. It sounds silly, but you just get so engrossed in whatever thought has come into your head you feel like it’s the worst of the worst and that it’s never going to get better. It’s a hard thing to explain. I get super lows.

“I was meant to do a tour last month and coming up to it I wasn’t doing great at all and part of me was going to force myself to do it. But I didn’t want to go out there and do half-assed shows and not enjoy them. I didn’t want people to come out of those shows feeling that they weren’t great. I want my next tour to be the absolutely best it can be.

“I’m on the right track now. I’m definitely a lot better and I’m getting there. I wouldn’t say I’m a hundred per cent yet, but I’m definitely doing a lot better, thankfully.”

  • ROBERT Grace is one of the artists taking part in First Fortnight’s Mental Health Arts & Culture Festival from January 2-16. See firstfortnight.ie


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