• Philip James

How COVID-19 Is Forcing Musicians to Adapt: A Silver Lining in The Age of Uncertainty

As time passes we find ourselves learning the same old lessons in new & unique ways. Since the start of our new global pandemic, both musicians and industry professionals have been left shaking in their boots. Getting heard by the masses has been a plight of all musicians since the dawn of well.. music, but needless to say the gears of humanity are turning. The winds of change have once again returned to remind us of our temporary and yet fragile systems. With all our flashy technology, cutting edge workstations, and amazing feats of mass communication, we still fail to establish a personable and genuine connection with one another. Now to make things even worse, I can't even play to a bar full of people anymore - let alone be seen in public without a mask. Can you even sing into a microphone with a mask on? Seriously though. It's chilling to think that I stand alone now, confronting the great obstacle of every aspiring artist who wants to make it big. How do I connect with with a sea of strangers when I'm just another drop in the ocean?


I can honestly say that Coronavirus came at a horrible time for me in terms of my music career. I'm sure a lot of you reading this can relate. Just like how John Mayer states in his hit song The Heart of Life, "Bad news never had good timing". Local vendors were really starting to dig my stuff. I was booking shows all over San Diego. I was getting ready to become featured at 710 Beach Club, PB Cantina, Amplified Brewery & more. I was hosting my very own "Originals Only" Open Mic nights, and getting new opportunities to collaborate with talented musicians who were popping up all over. I love contributing to the music community in any way possible. I had even planned on taking a trip to Nashville, TN to celebrate Taylin's birthday (my good friend, mentor, & vocal coach) . I was going to be able to jam with some real professionals, and even participate in an invite only song writing session. The thought of working out of one of those famous Nashville recording studios sent chills up my spine. That's a real dream come true moment. After playing all over town trying to gain some traction, things were finally starting to look up.


And then.... BOOM! Enter the global Pandemic. Say hi to the dark figure looming over any thoughts of fun, large crowds, or music festivals. Meet COVID-19.


I probably don't have to tell you this, but being told to stay home and quarantine is the equivalent of a death sentence for a socialite artist like myself. When you are a working musician, your entire career hinges on being able to perform and get people listening. It gets us in touch with our communities and spreads our message of peace, love, & positivity. I don't perform nearly as well, or with as much passion, when I don't have an audience there to support me. That's a complete no-brainer. That doesn't mean I'm about to quit, it just means I'm going to have to roll my sleeves up and get creative.


Well I'm pleased to say, I've really made some headway in these last few months. For starters, this blog you are reading finally got kicking. This is the third edition in my growing collection. I've started participating in Virtual Open Mics to keep the music going. I even created a Patreon page so that I can perform explicitly to my most valued patrons. It serves as a virtual tip jar for those performances I'm lacking. I took an entire course online for Music Marketing. I refurbished my image, brand, & website. I hand designed some brand-new merch which you can order in a safe, contactless way, on my TeeSpring page! I've now finished video-editing six future releases, and even started working with a Public Relations expert. I'm now collaborating virtually with other musicians and working to get heard on multiple Spotify Playlists. This is the new "hustle" for your average creative. It's time for musicians to build up that digital presence and beat back COVID-19 as it tries to shut down festivals and clubs. At first it was intimidating but now I'm rising to the challenge because that's what needs to be done.


I'll be the first to admit that when this thing hit, it was upsetting. On the bright side I've learned that the show must go on. We all need to get jostled every now and again. That's a part of life. When you shake things up it forces you to think outside of the box and adapt. It opens you up to new possibilities and allows you to explore modern avenues of whatever it is that truly excites you.


So to my fellow dreamers, musicians, artists, listeners, and lovers of all things music. I leave you with one last statement. You are worthy of your dreams, so long as you find the courage to pursue them in the face of true adversity. Your unwavering dedication and commitment to yourself will always persevere.


Cheers,

-Phil


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© 2020 Phillip James Music

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