Hustle Healthier: A Manifesto on How Touring Artists and Professionals Can Put Their Health First

Laura Escudé
22 min readFeb 19, 2020

In 2016 Kanye West was hospitalized for 10 days during his Saint Pablo tour for exhaustion.

Famed comedian Dave Chapelle also spent some time in the hospital after being run down from traveling a lot for the Chapelle Show.

There are countless other examples. It can seem like we’re not doing enough to bring our vision to life, so we want to push even harder toward our goals.



Hustle harder.

Hustle until you drop.

For years I followed these directives, which serve as the music industry’s prevailing ethos on what it takes to succeed.

My Health Crisis

On February 15, 2016 I was in line for a Grammy afterparty. All of a sudden, an intense pain started in my abdomen. I decided to leave the party and drive home, where the pain continued to intensify. Once home I could barely walk so I took an Uber to the hospital, doubled over in pain.

Two nights before this I was on stage with Miguel at The Forum in LA, the night before that at Kanye’s Pablo album release at Madison Square Garden and the night before that at a show in San Francisco. My way of coping with overworking and stress at that time was to “reward” myself with alcohol and food after shows, so on the 14th some friends and I went out to celebrate a “singles” Valentines Day. Something I ate or drank that night affected me so intensely that it drastically changed the course of my life.

For weeks I laid in bed hooked up to tubes and machines, knowing I was physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually drained, but unsure of how to heal myself. I wondered if it was even possible — I never felt so sick and helpless in my entire life. The doctors had no concrete explanation which compounded the whole situation and made me feel helpless. I was discharged from the hospital still not feeling well and not knowing what to do. My creative energy, which I used to perform, compose, design shows and run my company, was tapped. The experience was terrifying.
And what I learned later, it was also the most important experience of my life.