"I am a weird mixture of being very resilient on the one hand, and quite vulnerable on the other. It started with school, which was like a prison to me. I am extremely introverted, and I love to be alone a lot. So being around many people in school for many hours a day was tough. Once a month I had this horrible stomach cramps, and for 8 long years (until I finished the German version of High School) nobody found out why. I went to doctors and hospitals, but no one ever had the idea it was psychosomatic. So when I finished school, I realized something was missing - my cramps! And for the first time I made the connection! In the following years my physical reaction to stress and wrong environments shifted from my stomach to my back. Once, when I had an overwhelming amount of challenging new jobs (for the first time I worked as arranger for a real orchestra, and at the same time I joined a new band with technically demanding music as guitarist), I literally could only crawl on the floor; the pain in my back was like a hot poker. Weird enough, once again it took me years to understand that it was a mental problem.
Also, I often had periods where I felt a certain melancholy. A lot of darkness, an inner weight pressing down on me. Strangely, that mostly happened on tour (I was touring like crazy during certain years, with up to five different bands). I couldn't understand it: I lived my dream, being a "rockstar", seeing the world, you know, the whole package. But it didn't make me happy. I tried to change that, tried meditation, mantras, positive reinforcements etc. Only worked for a short while.
So, it took me almost 30 years (!) to connect the word "depression" to what I went through. And it needed a very tough period, when I really hit rock-bottom, induced by a lot of difficult circumstances and toxic encounters (the latter is a subject on its own; I wish I could warn people who have similar tendencies like me, that there are people out there who are toxic to the core. The problem is you don't recognize them until it's too late). You see, I read a lot, I am overall a studious person. But I was never really interested in psychology. It always appeared to be a soft and somewhat blurry science, with the human mind appearing in so many different variations. But after this downfall, I started to devour books and articles about psychology, and it helped me a lot.
To cut it short, talking about strategies: I think that people, to start with, don't consider who they really are. For example, it is absolutely essential for your happiness that you know if you are rather introverted or extroverted. Look at me: Like most young musicians I was dreaming about touring and playing a lot of concerts. But the touring life is mostly an environment for extroverted people. No privacy, tour buses with 12 or more people on it, meetings with fans and journalists, after show parties etc. I need to re-fill my batteries (every day) from contact with people, but on tour it is hardly possible. Nowadays I have my strategies. I withdraw quickly to my bunk most days instead of going out with the guys, and on off days I take a hotel room. And I simply don't tour that much any more.
I love being in my studio, producing music, composing, recording, optimizing my equipment, practicing etc. Funny enough, it is exactly what I did as a teenager before success came. I also appreciate routine, because the creative chaos and the real adventures happen in my head. I don't need to be abroad for that.
Another advice is to treasure your integrity! Don't let people treat you disrespectfully. Be nice, think if you can change something instead of expecting it from others, but walk away if your gut tells you somthing is wrong. I didn't do that at certain times, and it always came back around to hit me.
Despite all of this I built an iron discipline over the years. Even in my worst year I was still very productive. I believe in learning, growing, overcoming laziness, day by day. If there's a word written on the inside of my head, it's "consistency"!
Life is a constant process of creating an environment that suits you, and adapting to the things you can't change.
As a live and studio musician Oliver Palotai is internationally touring as pianist, keyboarder, guitarist and bassist. Further he is a songwriter, producer, mixing engineer and orchestrator for classical symphonic arrangements and film music. Since about 15 years he is also teaching and giving workshops.
He founded his own band Sons Of Seasons in 2007, signed by Napalm Records, releasing two studio albums so far. Since 2005 he is also a member of legendary US Prog Symphonic Metal act Kamelot. In the past he was member of the bands of Metal queen Doro Pesch, Blaze Bayley, former singer of Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, one of the most important guitarists of rock guitar history and one of the founders of the Scorpions, and Circle II Circle, the project of ex-Savatage singer Zak Stevens. He contributed besides that to many projects in Jazz, Pop, classical music and Metal.
In the past years he was touring through Asia, America, Europe and Australia. He played in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok, Tokyo, Osaka, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Budapest, Sofia, Helsinki, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Madrid, London, Dublin, Brussels, Stockholm, Göteborg, Oslo, just to mention a few.