From the age of ten Mill Hill performance artist Sian Gentle struggled with mental illness.

As a student at Hendon School, Sian experienced anxiety, depression and panic attacks, which eventually lead to a stretch in hospital when she began feeling suicidal aged 16.

But the 23-year-old has since turned her life around through therapy and meditation, and is set to host a fundraising night of music in aid of Maytree – a charity which offers support to people in the midst of a suicidal crisis.

“Everyone knew me as the loud, bubbly, extroverted person and that was because I felt like I had to put on that face and that whole bravado,“ remembers Sian.

“It just became very suffocating and I would always feel like I couldn’t breathe and I would develop anxiety.“

During therapy sessions she found she could express her emotions through poetry, which led to her developing her own brand of performance art called Spop – a blend of spoken pop music and poetry.

“It just helps to keep me calm,“ explains Sian, who is set to release her début EP, 2 Sides 1 Story, later this year.

“As I continued to write I would grow in confidence and I thought maybe I could turn this into a song and that is where it all stemmed from.“

And now she is set to showcase her talents at her Night of Variety event, which she has organised, in central London.

“I just want to be able to make people see and appreciate that some people have different stories,“ explains the receptionist, who is training to become a volunteer with Maytree.

Performing with Sian will be up-and-coming singers, DJs, motivational speakers and designers.

She says the evening is also a way for her to give something back to the people who helped her.

In the future Sian hopes to start teaching Spop to youngsters at schools in the Barnet area through a series of workshops.

“In a way I have grown and found confidence, so now I want to be able to give back and share my story and show how I have developed,“ says Sian.

A Night of Variety, Mayfair, Sunday, May 10. The night is to be held in a secret location revealed to ticket holders on Saturday, May 9.

Contact for tickets. Visit Sian’s website at, or find out more about Maytree at