Mike Martinez

One year into our shutdown, the impact on our region’s artists stretches beyond economics. Some artists say the psychological effects have been as devastating as the financial ones.

On our March episode of "The Porch," we devote the hour to artists of this region coping with their mental health through a year of turmoil. BPR News is airing the program 9am March 19 and 3pm March 20.

For this online version, we've divided the episode into six separate interview segments below. You can listen in any order. You can also listen to the complete episode here.

For anyone seeking immediate mental health help, here are links to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) and Hope 4 NC, an around-the-clock support line run through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (855-587-3463). The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a helpline (800-950-6264), with around-clock crisis counseling available by texting "NAMI" to 741741.

Mike Martinez, vocalist-guitarist of the Asheville band Natural Born Leaders, speaks in this video chat with BPR arts producer Matt Peiken about participating in the protests in and around Pack Square and channeling his anger into his songwriting.

Natural Born Leaders


Mike Martinez doesn’t like talking about growing up in Union, N.J., but he will say moving to Hendersonville as an 18-year-old saved his life.

“I was getting in trouble in ways I don’t necessarily want to talk about, but I was not headed on a good path,” he said. “I’m not even sure I’d be alive if I lived in New Jersey.”