The last 18 months or so have been full of ups and down for those in the music industry. One thing I think everyone can agree on, is that it has been a time of learning, self-reflection and growth. Lessons big and small have happened to us all. Some artists have shared lessons they have learned through these uncertain times.
“The calming comfort of a familiar song is a welcome companion when circumstances prevent you from being with the ones you love.” - Reliable Alibi
“Over the last 18 months I’ve been able to reset my way of thinking about playing shows and playing music in general. I think I was caught up in the daily grind and forgot how important it was to connect with people on a personal level through music. You could say I was jaded. Coming out of the pandemic though I learned to really appreciate each opportunity to connect with people and have been making more of an effort to do that, both on the stage and in the studio.” – Kris Rodgers
"Well, I guess we have learned to use technology better. We have done
livestreams, band meetings using facetime, putting more energy into our
songwriting. But you know, nothing is the same as a liveshow and now
we are LONGING for that! One thing that might be good is that people
took live music for granted and now, when it all opens up again, people
will be more excited than ever" – Oliver Miller (Amaunet)
"Over the course of the pandemic we've learned a lot about ourselves and what we need to have in our lives to feel good and feel safe. I think we relearned a lesson that has been brought to us time and time again by life's struggles and only motivated us further to complete our EP and start releasing music again: we need music and we'll keep doing it no matter how insane or uncertain the world becomes because that is part of who we are as people. Both Stewart and I leaned heavily on our love of music during the worst parts of our lives and that has been especially true for us during the pandemic. The power and importance of that relationship is not lost on us and we will always be grateful for it."
- Hand Drawn Maps
"In lockdown I remembered how much I love to play music for people . So much so, that I came out of lockdown with a residency (outdoors of course). I’m grateful to get to play for people, but I value their lives too, so I don’t want to ever put anyone at risk. So I learned patience as well. Patience with the information, medicine and the world."
- Ben Stalets
"What I’ve learned is that now, (more than anytime I’ve seen since dealing in music), is a time to really put across a succinct message, and honestly ask yourself if the world needs the song you are working on. And if you decide it does, work and perform that song with as much humanity as you can. Ignore peer approval at all cost, and live inside that song for its own purpose of existence. The stakes are greater than the surface is showing."
-Mikey James (Singing River)
"In these dark times, I find our world unified by music. No amount of darkness can dim our light and though I mourn the loss of live performances, I am not aggrieved or feel oppressed. For my music sets me free"
- Lyia Meta
"The most important thing I learned is to have your own back. From something as small as asking for that extra side of dip you want at a restaurant to the big things like speaking up when you're uncomfortable, you can't truly love yourself, have trust in yourself, or rely on yourself until you can take a really honest look at all the parts of you and commit to being there for that human no matter what."
-Lauren Howard (Panda Forces)
"Personally, i never felt any certainty in the music industry, and since i only truly entered it a couple of months ago, i learned everything in the turmoil of the past 18 months. so i guess you could say that the state that the industry is in is my starting point"
- Lia D'Sau
"We’re never gonna take concerts for granted again - anytime we can get in front of an audience now feels lucky, so I just wanna have the best time I can at each show."
"After years of being a professional musicians and being addicted to the grind and constant hustle that comes with that life, slowing down and refocusing on just the music aspect has been eye opening. As much as I love my career as a performer I am only able to connect because the music is vulnerable and sincere. I hate being stuck indoors but it has been amazing to work on my song writing skills and fall in love with it all over again."
"I’ve learned that originality is more important than ever. Those who are thinking of fresh ways to bend their sound, captivate audiences, and write songs that spur on conversations are those that stand out amidst the chaos. With live shows being so rare and uncertain, developing your online presence is a necessity. "
"What I have learned in the last 18 months is not to take anything for granted. Having had covid along with my girlfriend that almost passed away, I don’t take health, family, friends or tomorrow for granted. I am now saying yes to more things. Really living every day. I also don’t take music or live shows for granted and I did before. I have been playing live since I was a teen, nonstop. Now the last time I was on stage was February 2020. I can’t even imagine how I will feel when I finally get back to it. Lots of emotions."
- Liz Borden
"The biggest thing we learned in the last 18 months is how important it is to play live shows. Not being able to play left a huge hole in our lives, but we had to still make forward progress with the band without them. We focused all of our energy on writing new music and preparing our live show for the time that we could finally perform again. Hopefully, people can get their shit together-mask up and get the vax so we can make that happen!"
-One Flew West
“Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has shown us just how precious time really is. We were all backed into a corner & isolated from each other which definitely felt discouraging. We learned new ways to collaborate from afar and discovered just how much passion we all have for music. We persevered while other bands called it quits, and rediscovered the reason we started playing together in the first place. The pandemic kept us apart physically but brought us closer together creatively.”
-For Lack Of A Term
"What we learned during quarantine was that even under unexpected and overwhelming circumstances, it's still possible to make progress and create something meaningful and substantial if you have people around you that believe as strongly in the art as you do, because their presence and commitment to that shared vision can be enough to overcome any doubts or concerns about what may happen when the work is done."
-Michael Garrity (Nora Marks)
"We may not be able to control the wild or scary things life throws our way, but we are in control of how we handle it and how we carry ourselves through it. Make decisions that are best for the greater benefit."
"I think, more than anything, over this past year I learned the power of experimenting not just with our music, but with connecting our community as well. Without the physical spaces to gather and continue making those connections, the emphasis has evolved to creating safe spaces online through live-streaming and experimenting on different platforms to bring back as much of that experience as possible. I truly feel that even with minimal shows over the past eighteen months, there have still been so many ways to build connections in our community. It all starts with becoming fearless in the content and music you release out into the world."
-Hunter Jergens, The SS-SR
"I feel like something that a lot of us musicians do too much is question ourselves or our work, or try to make everything as perfect as humanly possible before releasing. Singles, albums, artwork, videos, they're all just a chapter of time in our lives. This pandemic showed me that things can change in an instant, and to not go crazy overthinking how I should make every song or every release perfect. I'm imperfect, life is imperfect. I wrote a bunch of music during the pandemic and I'm so grateful I wrote each song from start to finish, really showing where my headspace and heart were in the moment. It means so much more to me to know that I created and completed something in a totally weird time in mine and everybody else's lives (for lack of any better way to say it without going too in depth). The pandemic showed me to stick to my gut with my art, and release what makes me happy in the moment because we've all seen how everything can instantly change!"
"I think my biggest takeaway was learning how to trust and not rush the process. As much as I missed live music, not having it for that period of time allowed me to really focus on writing and recording. I stockpiled so many ideas because it was the only outlet I had."
"I think the biggest lesson I've learned is to keep creating and keep pushing out content. These past 18 months have taught me that nothing is guaranteed, life is precious and messy and we’re all just doing the best we can. I get so in my head with everything I make having to be “perfect” and at the end of the day- WHO. CARES. make shit YOU are crazy about, put it out and start making the next thing. Who cares what everyone else is doing or what they think. The only opinion that matters is your own so be good to yourself and just keep creating. We all could always use more art"
"Life felt pretty stagnant during the pandemic, and trying to build a career as an independent artist during a brutal time of turmoil and uncertainty can be a rough challenge, as it was for me. I felt like I was constantly shifting between places with no true momentum. This stagnancy did stifle an important part of building my career as an independent artist: being able to finally go out and network with other creatives in the city of Chicago this summer—safely—has been a game changer for me. I personally barely knew other musicians, producers, and local connects before this summer, so it had felt like I was figuring out everything on my own without a system of support.
An important thing I learned through spending a whole year fighting my circumstances and trying to create opportunities for myself is: you don’t have to rush the process. It’s okay to take a step back, re-evaluate, and be kinder to yourself, especially when we’re living in a time of brutal uncertainty. And when you’re desperate to get things moving, it could—unfortunately—open doors for others to take advantage of you (e.g. capitalizing off of independent artists). I’ve personally fallen into this trap and it hurts, mentally and financially. I’m putting this out there so that other artists are aware that this is a real thing. Navigating the music industry is tough, and combine that with the pandemic, it becomes a cumbersome mix. I think acknowledging that is important in validating our struggles."
" There's always life obstacles that will attempt to derail and hinder the progress. I might be delayed but never denied !"