It hasn’t been easy.
Recording artists, musicians, entertainers, and songwriters alike have been blindsided by the sudden halt to live performances. And truth be told, it’s messing with our heads.
Despite future uncertainty, some have been trying to make the best of the time everyone unexpectedly has on their hands – and staying creative in less than ideal circumstances.
As for multiple Latin Grammy and JUNO Award winner Alex Cuba, he’s trying to remain buoyant
“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions,” he admits from his Smithers, B.C. digs. “Some days are more positive than others. When I’m feeling positive, that’s when I go to my craft, write songs, and record myself. My music is positive and uplifting, and we need that now more than ever.”
However, Cuba, who releases his latest single “Concéntrica Canción” on June 12, admits that the pandemic has unearthed some surprising sentiments.
“This time is making me want to be the most upfront and vulnerable I’ve ever been with my music,” he says. “I never like leaving my audiences with a sad vibe: I always find a way to throw an optimistic spin into everything I do. Now with the quarantine, I feel that creativity is more present, maybe because of this luxurious extended vacation,” he laughs.
East Coaster Rose Cousins had only completed two shows of her Bravado tour when governments shut down venues. “I spent the first couple months just trying to switch gears,” she says. Cousins’ adjustment from performer to writer hasn’t been as difficult, due to an annual June tradition.
“This is usually the time of year where I’ve gone on an island writing retreat in New Hampshire with friends from Boston,” Cousins explains. “This is the first time in 10 years we haven’t. I’ve also done six co-writes through Zoom, exercising those creative muscles. For me, June is very blossoming.”
Like Cuba, Cousins is continually acclimatizing to the current reality.
“It’s a constant adjustment,” Cousins admits. “I wish I had clear answers on how I’m dealing with things and what it means. This isn’t like we’ve experienced the pandemic and now I can write about it. I’m connecting with myself in a different way. I spend a lot of time by myself – from where a lot of this last record was written – and as someone who proclaims to be well-adjusted on their own, it’s a different layer, because it’s not chosen isolation.”
Reached in Los Angeles, TR/ST’s Robert Alfons is embracing his isolation, in lieu of touring behind his band’s latest album Destroyer Part II. “I have much more time to be working on ideas, and find myself being more focused with less to do outside of my yard,” confesses Alfons.
He’s been busy collaborating, and is contemplating the release of several projects during this enforced hiatus. “I love albums, but I do feel there’s power in presenting an extended piece or a collab,” he says. “I have all sorts of things I want to release. An album is just an option.”
He’s coping by keeping life simple. “When I’m being told to stay at home and make stuff because you can’t tour, there’s a positivity and productivity that’s the upside for me.”
Nate Hilts of the Dead South said he took a wait-and-see attitude when the pandemic hit. “At the beginning, it was a big shock to the system,” says Hilts. “To be honest, I didn’t pick up the guitar, because I didn’t know what was happening. But the band and management talked on what we could do, and we filmed some isolation videos.“
At the moment, Hilts says creativity is far from his mindset. “We were geared to have a 2020 of touring, and then take winter off to start preparing a new album.”
Instead, he’s been catching his breath. “I’m not going to lie: it’s been years since I’ve been able to sit at home for a little bit,” says Hilts. “The schedule has been a couple months on, a few days off, for years. Eventually, that starts wearing on a guy. You don’t even realize how tired you are. I started implementing positive routines in my life and re-connected with family and friends, and now I’m just taking time to better myself.
“I know a lot of people who are doing that right now.”