Songwriters Respond to Quarantine

Contributed by Brenna Joslin

Over the last few months, the whole world has been turned upside down by the novel Coronavirus. For many of us, this may be the first pandemic of this nature in our lifetimes. The entertainment industry has been affected massively, with hundreds of venues, restaurants, and bars closing to help prevent the spread of illness. Songwriters and artists globally have taken the hit. Writers rounds, live band shows, and touring all play a major part in how many creatives find success in the music industry.

The real question is: how are we going to bounce back?

Millions of people globally have taken to social-distancing and self-quarantining. For Wyatt Edmondson, he’s been self-quarantining for a week and knew the weight of the situation when his gigs started getting canceled, “It really set in when I read the CDC announcement of the 8-week stalling of events of 50 people or more. That’s like every gig, anywhere.”

Edmondson believes songwriting thrives in the face of adversity, and he’s not alone. Songwriters everywhere have taken to doing what they do best, writing about what they know and the world around them. 

With all of this confusion and uncertainty, I just went to the only thing that makes sense, and that's my music. I started writing a song about a week ago that originally wasn't going to have anything to do with this virus, it was supposed to be about mental health. Then last night as I was working on it, I realized it started taking another form, so I just went with it. - Oliva Farabaugh

In order to cope with the financial stress of losing such a significant source of income, most people are taking this time to hone their craft. 

Being alone without outside distractions can be a bit unnerving at first, but also is excellent for reflection and personal growth.  While it seems like we have a lot of free time at the moment, there is actually a lot we could be doing at home that we weren’t able to do when we were playing out, so this time is testing the limits of our creativity and dedication! - Hanna Ross

One writer, in particular, brightened his dark situation by creating his own custom song business. 

It has been an awesome experience learning about people’s stories and giving them something special like a personalized song. It has also been amazing seeing people come together and support musicians and small businesses because the majority of us are really hurting. - Ryan Fine

When asked what advice they had for songwriters and artists getting used to newfound free time, there was one common theme: create.

My sister Hanna and I are diving into practicing our instruments, spending a few hours a day on theory, scales, and learning new songs, which helps our songwriting by widening our composition range. - Madge Ross

As musicians and songwriters, we have the ability to help bring comfort and an escape to those around us through music. In place of the gigs that I was supposed to have, I will be doing [online] live events to help bring people peace and some entertainment as we wait out this storm. – Olivia Farabaugh 

Write. Anything. Good or bad. Positive or negative. Get it down. Grow. Practice. Set up your PA in your living room and put on a show to your cat. Don’t waste this time. As a full-time, every weekend touring artist, this is a chance to recharge a little and workshop some new ideas and improve on some dusty habits. We can all come out of the gate ready for a slam dunk once this season is passed. Just start doing. - Wyatt Edmondson