Renowned singer and songwriter Lauren Aquilina has called it quits aged 21, after her career took a strain on her mental health.

The British-Maltese artist broke the news to her fans on social media this week, as organisations around the world were raising awareness about mental health.

“I’ve known for a good few months now that this Lauren Aquilina album  [Isn’t it Strange?] was not only going to be the first, but also the last.

“I’m so lucky to have had some incredible experiences while being a full-time artist, but unfortunately for me, the cons now outweigh the pros, and I’ve been pretty unhappy for a long time,” she said on Facebook and Twitter.

Ms Aquilina, whose Maltese father moved to England when he was young, visited Malta every summer until aged 16. Her family would fly over to take a break and also to visit her grandparents, so she has “really happy memories” of the island.

Unfortunately for me, the cons now outweigh the pros, and I’ve been pretty unhappy for a long time

The young singer’s career kicked off properly when she was aged 17. She released her first EP, called Fools.

Last August, Island Records and Universal Music Group released her debut album Isn’t it Strange? She told her fans on Monday that when she realised the negative impact her career was having on her mental health, she knew that something needed to change.

“I was obviously sad when I first realised it was what I needed to do,” Ms Aquilina told this newspaper when contacted.

“It’s very strange when you realise that you’ve got everything you ever wanted, but you’re just not happy. However, since chatting to my team and then announcing it online, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of relief.”

Still, she knows she has made the right decision and is excited about the future again. You have to trust your body and brain, and make the right decisions for your health, Ms Aquilina added.

“People don’t realise how much money has to be spent on an artist these days for them to stand a chance in such a crowded market. And if money’s being spent on you but you’re not doing as well as everyone hoped, it puts people in difficult positions.

“I’ve always struggled with anxiety attacks, but earlier this year, I was diagnosed with severe depression and put on a course of medication.

“My team were freaking out because so much money had been spent on my album but no big UK radio station would back me, and I kind of just lost it.”

But now that she has taken the decision to take a step back, this will not be the last her fans hear from her. Ms Aquilina’s plan is to continue writing for other artists.

Songwriting has always been her biggest strength and something she feels very comfortable and happy doing.

She would also like to help aspiring artists and may set up a blog where she can give advice and run online master classes.

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