Music

How Mindful Music Lab’s Brittany Berger Prioritizes Healing & Wellness During the Recording Process

For Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Billboard is teaming with Brandon Holman of the Lazuli Collective on a series of articles focused on mindfulness and the professional development of executives, creatives and artists in the music community.

Today’s conversation is with Brittany Berger, a producer, songwriter, motivational speaker, mindset coach, energy healer and founder/CEO of Mindful Music Lab, a recording studio and mindful spiritual space in Miami, Fla. that aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for music industry professionals working in an often high-stress field. The author of 25 and Self-Ish, Berger works with artists, executives, athletes and other individuals to help them navigate their lives and careers in a positive, mindful way and in an atmosphere that allows them to be vulnerable and truthful to themselves. Here, she discusses her journey through music and wellness, Reiki healing and what she wants to provide for the community of musicians, producers and music industry members.

I was born and raised in Miami. I started dancing when I was four, and I was a competitive dancer until I was 18. Two of my friends now are choreographers and dancers for Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Camila Cabello, doing the Super Bowl and every single awards show. And I champion them because that could have been my path. But I always just felt like that was something I loved, but I didn’t want to take it into a greater career. And so I got into the wellness business and started teaching fitness with Equinox about nine years ago.

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It’s funny because people were like, “You should have opened a gym. Why are you opening a recording studio?” But I knew it was just my mission for healing. I wrote a book about seven years ago called 25 and Self-ish, about the positive aspect of choosing yourself. Writing that book, for me, really opened my channels of being vulnerable, being open. When you’re writing a nonfiction memoir, you have to be. And I felt stuck a little bit when I was 25. I just felt like it was an awakening for me to say, “Hey, knock knock. You’re unhappy. We have an awakening for you. It’s your Jupiter return. Why don’t you step into that?” And help other people say, “It’s okay, at 25, if you don’t have your own company, if you’re not a millionaire.” You don’t have to be the people pleaser all the time. You’re allowed to please yourself and be your priority so we can share that love of self with everybody else and allow yourself to just expand.

Through my book I got into motivational speaking, mindset coaching, learning about Reiki healing, becoming a practitioner and a master later on, and my sound healing journey, meditation. I never thought that I could meditate. I was really type A. I would rush. I would worry. Having to reprogram a lot of things, like feeling like we have to work so hard every single day to be able to bring in a certain monetary value. And like, what is success? Is success monetary value? Is success purpose? Is it your mission? And really exploring that and reprogramming that to be able to share it. And so my book was kind of the initial state of saying, “Let’s take a breath. Let’s find our joy, our inner happiness and let’s share it.”

I was already in and out of recording studios and artist’s homes, including producers, songwriters, doing my own healing. And I noticed that within the industry, there’s a lot of people who have never seen a Palo Santo stick, who are like, “Oh my God, sage, that’s some witch stuff.” Or, “I can take a breath, but I don’t have time. I don’t know how to meditate. There’s all these rules.”

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There are no rules. There are no expectations. It’s just you. What works for you any time of day works for you. I had to find my own journey, too. Some days that’s sitting down, taking breaths, having my mantras, sitting in silence. Sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes it’s journaling. It changes every day. Sometimes it’s just me and my sound bowls and it doesn’t have to have a certain structure, look a certain way.

So I was already in these studios where, it’s male-dominated, there’s no windows. And I just felt like, where is there a safe space for healing within recording studios? So within my studio, I want it to feel like a home. If someone’s in this studio, if there’s a writing camp, we all get together and share a meal first and I make everyone take a breath and we do our sage and Palo Santo and I have people share their intention, because they’ve never created an intention before. Do you feel good today? How are you? I care about you as a human. What do you need?

I felt like music is the vibrational healing frequency of the world, and we need to heal the people who are creating it so that they can help create more high-vibrational music and write lyrics that are authentic. I love hearing really heartfelt, vulnerable music. And that comes from healing and intention and breath. 

There’s so much to navigate [for artists]: loving music, being able to have all these songs, getting signed by a label and then them being like, “Change your hair, lose weight, wear this,” stripping their identity of artistry, and then they lose themselves. And then, of course, battling anxiety, not feeling good enough, imposter syndrome, depression, addiction, childhood wounds that some of them don’t even know are coming up and they try to bury it because they’re not doing this work.

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And it’s like, “We’re in the studio setting, take your shoes off, deep breath, let’s talk about it.” That’s the important part. Your music will be made, but it’s all about healing our inner core first. And I feel like that’s not being adopted into the creative process of making music. In addition to just building a community and connecting everyone together so that we have vulnerability circles. And it’s not only about the artists, it’s about the songwriters, the producers, the engineers, the managers, the A&Rs.

If they want a Reiki day, I give that to them. I have a Reiki chef if somebody wants to have wholesome soul food. I also have partnerships with really healthy restaurants that I’m grateful that I work with in the area to be like, Why don’t you order this healthy option? Because I want them to understand their human vessel, because they’re only locked into their music mind. 

I had to learn that rest equals reward and I’ve had to learn to balance that. I also love to be in the studio. I love to make music. I wish I had more time to be creative. I wish I could make more time. I’ll be in here in a session, then I’ll be doing a couple of Reiki sessions a day, then it’s admin work, making sure the business is running, doing events in and outside of here, helping other people partner together and helping them just see how important this work is.

Reiki is an energy that has built up for as many years as you’ve been on this planet, and there’s so much wisdom, but there’s also so much trauma and wounds and healing that live within our body from trauma. So for me, it is being able to clear the blockages and the channels energetically with non-touch therapy and also being able to cut back. It’s really just allowing yourself to release all this energy that’s stuck in the body.

To heal the world and really embrace and enhance the mental health of the industry is my mission. And it’s also my goal for the music industry, in addition to the sports industry and the wellness community, because I’ve been in wellness for over a decade in Miami and beyond.

I just feel like there’s so much room for our industry to bring in meditation and healing and self-awareness. I know we can all adapt and transmute differently once the gate is open to do that. We have to heal the world. This is all I want to do in my lifetime. Me being of service for this lifetime is healing the world, helping bring in this wellness industry, helping heal and raise the mental health of our industry. 

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