A LOCKDOWN TRIUMPH OR A CREATIVE STRUGGLE?
Seeing the numbers of COVID cases flash up on the news last year was a moment I’m sure none of us will forget. “It won’t get here, we’re too small” I thought. Fast forward ten months and here we are, back where 2020 started.
It feels a little like deja-vu right now, but with Jersey’s cases appearing to drop and the vaccination acting as this year’s beacon of hope, people are attempting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But for creatives, these past few months have brought on a whole new host of challenges to overcome.
With live gigs canceled and no idea when the likes of festivals would be back on the cards, local musicians were put in a position they could have never prepared for. “When all my live shows were cancelled due to COVID-19 I didn’t know how I was supposed to continue on my musical journey.” says Rich Allo , a local musician who says making music benefits his mental health. “But if anything, the pandemic has taught me that there’s always a way to keep your passion alive no matter how tough times get.”
It seems this time has presented everyone with similar obstacles. For me, feeling somewhat out of control of my future has been difficult to navigate. What we expected to be a short term issue has now caused all plans to change. Rebecca Lewis, who goes by Le Montais , moved back to Jersey last year. “When I first got back last March, I resigned myself to the fact that this would probably be a break in my musical career” she says. “But actually, since being back in Jersey, I’ve been able to achieve things I would have only dreamed of, such as writing and producing the entirety of my upcoming EP.”
Positive takes on the past year give a lot of hope and go to show that sometimes, space and time is all we need to create the things we’ve always wanted. However, that’s not always the case. “Everyone said to me “you must be writing so much with all this free time” but for me 2020 was the year of a music block” says Phoebe Over, a local singer and songwriter. “However, I got a keyboard for Christmas and suddenly I’ve been able to fall in love with writing songs and playing again. I’m excited to try new styles and hope to release some new music soon.”
I relate to that feeling of hitting a wall despite all your free time. That mind blank, lack of motivation and inability to harness the time into something creative felt crippling. Some people were able to see this pause on life as a positive thing, a chance to ‘make the most of’ and suddenly the competition seemed to be everywhere. It’s easy on a little island like ours to become consumed with what other people are doing and comparing yourself, but Jersey indie musician Monty Taft has learnt to take a different approach. “It’s pushed me to really work on creating consistent content and collaborate with the local talent that we have on island.” he says “We have so many experts of their craft right here with us and it felt good to work with them.”
It seems the most unexpected situations birth the most unexpected outcomes for a lot of people. The highs and lows of the past year have created outcomes none of us could have expected. “The last twelve months have been emotionally consuming,” says Jared Crespel , a local singer and songwriter. “The real challenge was getting past that in order to carry on writing, but the isolation has led to me writing an EP which will be released this year. That’s something I never thought I’d be able to do.”
Overcoming that struggle of not knowing what the future holds it seems has been a wake-up call for many of us and the music industry is no exception. At a time in which we all need a little hope, it’s nice to know that even if the world temporarily stops, the music will keep on playing.
MUSIC I’M LISTENING TO: TOP PICKS FROM MY LOCKDOWN PLAYLIST