Sam Fender cancels shows to look after his mental health

<span>Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA</span>
Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Sam Fender has cancelled a number of forthcoming shows and announced he is “taking some time off the road” to look after his mental health, after admitting that he was “burnt out” from touring.

The 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Newcastle posted the announcement on Instagram, saying it would be “completely hypocritical” of him to advocate for discussion of the topic without looking after his own mental wellbeing.

Apologising to fans, he said he was cancelling upcoming headline shows in the US, performances with Florence and the Machine and his appearance at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas.

“My friends and colleagues have been worried about me for a while,” he explained.

A host of fellow artists were quick to respond with messages of support. The Irish post-punk band Fontaines DC said: “Good man”, while Gwyneth Paltrow commented: “This is beautiful. We love you. Look after yourself.”

Fender said: “I’ve neglected myself for over a year now and haven’t dealt with things that have deeply affected me.

“It’s impossible to do this work on myself while on the road, and it’s exhausting feigning happiness and wellness for the sake of business. My friends and colleagues have been worried about me for a while and it’s not going to get better unless I take the time to do so.”

The announcement came shortly after Fender announced a homecoming gig at Newcastle United’s stadium, St James’s Park, scheduled for 9 June 2023, in what he said was a “childhood dream come true”.

Fender performed on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in June. A month earlier, he won an Ivor Novello award for best song, for the title track from his album Seventeen Going Under, and is currently shortlisted for the Mercury prize 2022.

• In the UK, the charity Mind is available on 0300 123 3393 and Childline on 0800 1111. In the US, Mental Health America is available on 800-273-8255. In Australia, support is available at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, and at MensLine on 1300 789 978