No Pain No Fame

(Photo Source: Getty Images)

(Photo Source: Getty Images)

Justin Doucette, Writer


For years, plenty of artists have been used as marionettes of their managers. These artists have been abused, supplied drugs to improve performance value, and more. In recent times, K-POP managers have been exposed to starving, underpaying, and overworking their clients. Less notably, however, it is being unearthed that musical managers are drugging immature and impressionable artists to control them. 


Smoking marijuana is not inherently fatal, the usage of prescription drugs for recreational use can be. Especially when it is unknown where the said drugs come from. In 2017, upcoming star Lil Peep was found dead on his tour bus from a drug overdose in 2017. He overdosed on fentanyl-laced Xanax. This was sadly common for the time. Other stars who had overdosed on fentanyl include Mac Miller and Tom Petty.


While Lil Peep was 21 at the time of his death and had a part to play in it, it never would have happened if he were not seduced by older, more “industrially-experienced,” pupils. Belinda Mercer was the Come Over When You’re Sober pt. 2 Tour manager. On top of that, she was engaged in a sexual relationship with Peep, supplying him drugs, and neglecting his physical and mental health. 


Thankfully, his mother, Liza Womack, has taken a stand against Belinda Mercer and the GothBoiClique. If it were not for her persistence, then this industrial abuse never would have been accounted for.


(Photo Source: Daniel Dorsa of The New York Times)

Liza Womack in 2018. “This is something that I must do as a mother.”


Since the death of her son, Womack has advocated for mental health and against toxicity in the music industry, saying in an interview with New York Times, “This is something that I must do as a mother. I feel very concerned that they not be exploited.” She goes on further, admitting, “What Gus had to live through is actually horrifying to me, and I’m sure he’s not the only person at his age in this situation.”


From the beginning of Lil Peep’s career, he was very open in his songs about his depression and drug use problems. In his song, “The Brightside,” he talked about wanting to end his life. Another song, “Praying to the Sky,” from Lil Peep Pt. 1, mentions drug use to numb his pain. 


In 2019, the CDC reported an estimated 17% of adults, aged 18-29, said they experienced varied symptoms of depression. On top of that, 1 in 7 adults has a substance abuse disorder according to the American Addiction Center.


Lil Peep, aged 21, had depression and substance abuse issues. He often tweeted things along the lines of “My heart hurts,” and “Sorry if I let u down.”. Rather than the people around him seeking help, he was offered more drugs and more alcohol so he could be controlled. 


It is important to acknowledge how impressionable depressed and drugged people are. Young people in general are very impressionable. For example, teenagers can see a celebrity do something not so smart and want to do it themselves. Someone with low self-esteem is also a great candidate for following trends because they want to be validated and loved. People who are on drugs are not coherent, that is why drunks cannot drive and make decisions for themselves.


An extremely common example of the above is when a drink is unknowingly tainted with a date rape drug. Someone who drugs another person’s drink always does it to gain control over the situation- and it almost always works.


Lil Peep was young and impressionable, depressed, and on drugs. He was barely in control of his actions, let alone his career. 


If you go on to the internet and look up, “music managers drugging artists,” there are pages worth of articles and studies that explain the mental health and addiction crisis of stars along with lists of abusive and horrible managers. 


We all know of Britney Spears and her abusive manager-father. She is one of many stars who has been taken advantage of and abused for the sole purpose of entertainment. At the beginning of 2007, it was rumored that Spears was using drugs to cope with her personal and social life. She allegedly was using crystal meth at the time she shaved her head. Since then, we have watched Spears deteriorate on social media, posting cryptic messages and making odd content by her father’s will.

Britney Spears after shaving her head, 2007, during a custody battle. (Photo Source: Ben/Dave/Victor/


It is a miracle that she is still alive today. Drugs destroy lives, especially in the hands of young, impressionable, depressed minds. Managers need to stop influencing their clients to take drugs and instead help their clients to be the best stars that they can be. 


While Post Malone is a grown man, he too struggles with depression. There was a time on stage where fans expressed extreme concern for him due to his odd and erratic behavior. This may not have been the result of manager pressure, however, who is telling him that drinking before a show is a good idea?


Members of the GothBoiClique, the musical group that Lil Peep belonged to at the time of his death, all report being drunk or high on stage. Many other artists also recall being “fed” drugs before on-stage appearances. 


It is hugely important to raise awareness for artists like Lil Peep, artists that are abused by the music industry. It is illegal to drug someone under any circumstance, and if that leads to the death of a person, then that would be considered manslaughter. People like Belinda Mercer deserve to be imprisoned as well. 


Just because someone is immature and struggling with addiction, does not mean their life does not matter. Abusive managers need to be held accountable for their horrific actions for the sake of the mental health of these young and impressionable artists.