Every Monday and Wednesday morning, Ian Davis and Brandon Holman jump on Clubhouse for a 20-30 minute exercise they offer to the creative community to “reset” and “tap into your highest and best self” on their Mindful Creative room that has more than 200,000 followers.
“It’s people in entertainment and in tech who are all coming into our room knowing that every Monday and every Wednesday from 9-10 a.m., there’s a safe space in the app where people can meditate and unwind,” says Holman, label partnerships manager at TikTok. “And we we just became a home.”
Mindful Creative was launched in August when Holman reached out to Davis — whom he met in 2012 at the first-ever Made In America festival in Philadelphia and since then it’s been a “platonic relationship” — to propose joining Clubhouse and start a meditation club. “Back when Clubhouse was just starting, it was just a lot more tech investors, leadership sort of conversations. I was like Ian can really hold space in this creative wellness lane that no one on the app is doing right now,” adds Holman.
Davis, certified mindfulness and meditation teacher and founder of creative consultancy Age of the Creative, was instantly drawn to the idea of helping others heal via a virtual space. When the pandemic hit, “I fell into like a quick space of depression just because I had a really big revenue pipeline lined up for Creative Vibes Only and that just disappeared,” says Davis, who in February released his book [My] Daily Vibe, a 365-day journal for creatives to be their “highest and best self.”
He adds, “I was able to pivot our experiences virtually and I’m grateful for my team that encouraged me to do that because I didn’t want to do it, but I did and became magical. And the pipeline that I lost, I got back through a whole other sort of space I never imagined.”
Now, nearly a year since the launch of the Mindful Creative room, with frequent visitors ranging from music executives to D-Nice, and in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Billboard has teamed up with Holman and Davis for a series of interviews with executives and artists about how they stay mindful.
Before the series starts rolling out next week get to know more about the duo behind Mindful Creative in the Q&A below:
To start, can you both share a little bit about yourself and your journey to mindfulness and healing?
Brandon Holman: “I’m currently at TikTok at the label partnerships team focusing on independent music, and a big part of my my passion is mental health and wellness. The reason that I got into tech was because I sort of left the music industry. I had early internships at labels and some management firms. But I wasn’t really happy with the toxic culture, the ego driven culture of a lot of executives at the time.
That’s when I realized I was so much more than my title. I’m so much more than my employer. I started practicing self-worth, relinquishing my ego, my identity from the job that I do. And after that moment, that’s what put me on my spiritual path, my healing journey. My big dream was to eventually come back to the music industry, but be at the center point in the convergence of tech, music and entertainment. I started doing my best to let my peers and friends know that I’m a resource just from from having gone through it.”
Ian Davis: “I worked in advertising and marketing as a producer, then going out and working with a lot of artists and creatives directly, some notable in music on brand partnerships and sponsorships. I continued to do that but then realized I didn’t want to be responsible for creatives on a day-to-day basis, but I still wanted to serve and help. And so I started a creative consultancy to provide tangible resources for creatives because the art and creative community solve a lot of the world’s problems but they’re not t the forefront of opportunities, they become disposable and transactional. That’s why I started my company. During the pandemic, music and movies kept us going so we were able to actually see the value that the creative community plays to the world and to society as a whole and global culture.
I was like there might become a time and place that I might need to really facilitate something or provide some sort of tangible resource like workbooks. And I wanted to be qualified to do that so my intention was to just get into a meditation training and I ended up getting certified as a mindfulness meditation teacher. It’s actually grown in a different capacity and I consider myself a vessel. I want to serve the creative community and help them be their best selves and not just talk about things and have conversations, which are great starter points but there needs to be more.”
Since you’ve started this journey, have you seen a significant change in the entertainment industry’s focus? Like is mindfulness and mental health a priority now? If not, how do we get there?
ID: “My hope is that we do get there. I personally think that with the pandemic going on, there has been more of a priority like everywhere, not just in music, on just well-being overall. I think the work I’m doing is a part of that. And I want to help drive it. But companies and corporations need to have wellness strategies for their team because if they don’t, they are not going to thrive and be well. But it can’t just be a moment or something that happens only with the pandemic. There has to be a continuity because that’s when real change happens.”
BH: “I think that collectively the industry is just scratching the surface of what it could look like. I think the big question is, how are things going to be once people fully do return back to the office? Are we going to fall into the old patterns or are we going to continue to pave the way from all the groundwork and foundation that we’ve been building as we’ve been focusing on on self, our families, on wellness and mental health during the pandemic? The pandemic is an unfortunate situation, but there are some benefits and positives in culture and society that have resulted from this horrific and horrendous event.”
What’s the reaction been like on Clubhouse?
BH: “Clubhouse has has really helped us grow. And it also has created a part of the industry that is open to dialogue and vulnerable conversations with executives and creatives in the industry. Not only do we have a formal practice where we can sit and meditate. People come up for feedback at the end of our sessions, people really open up about what they’re going through, celebrate the wins, but also talk about the losses, whether, you know, their parents contracted COVID or they themselves had it. It’s been really amazing to see.”
What would Mindful Creative session look like outside of Clubhouse?
BH: “I could totally see this at Coachella, at Sundance and all the times that Ian is in town and we mob out to all these parties and events, it’s like, can we have the branded experience with all of our resources and all of our network? But like, you know, we’re meditating, we’re having these conversations. We’re focusing on on our diet and nutrition. I want to be drinking green juice at Palm Springs instead of going to Neon Carnival or Revolve — like that is way more cooler. And those are the things that I think managers, agents, like all the people behind the scenes actually need at Coachella versus parties.”