Musicians find their rhythm in lockdown

Jared Dean
Jared Dean

Charles Green
Staff Writer 

During these surreal times, musical artists around the world have had to adapt to the challenging circumstances of their daily lives being turned upside down. From shows and tours being canceled, to artists being restricted to creating from the confinement of their bedrooms, the current situation is rather bleak. But with disappointment tempered with optimism, musicians are finding new ways to create music for the future. 

University of La Verne senior criminology major Jared Dean has been adjusting to life being a music artist stuck in isolation. The R&B rapper known for his tracks “Hit Back” and “Need Me,” has been taking advantage of all his newfound free time. 

“I now have the privilege to record and make music whenever I want, so the quarantine for me has actually been a great opportunity for me to record and make music,” he said.

Dean, who has only recently jumped into the music industry, has been trying to make positive of the current bleak situation by attempting to reach people stuck in quarantine glued to their phones and listening to music.  

“It’s actually almost a good scenario to have people inside and on their phones, because when I make a post about my music, well guess what, more people are going to see it and listen to my music than they would be living their regular lives,” he said.

Dean is fortunate enough to have a studio at his home and has been hard at work doing his utmost to release new music for fans during the pandemic. On April 12, Dean released an EP called “R&R” and as recently as last week brought out a single “S.L.G.”

Dean is already working on another EP to come out at the end of this summer as he tries to ride the boom that he believes the music industry will undergo in the coming months due to the coronavirus. 

Jon Moody
Jon Moody

“You are going to see albums dropped right after this is over, so there is going to be that influx in music and we are going to see the A list artists drop even more stuff because they are going to want to profit by going on tours,” Dean said. 

One artist who has faced the devastation of a tour being canceled is British multi-instrumentalist Jon Moody. He and Ned Franc form the British dance funk duo Franc Moody who are known for their hits “Dopamine” and “Dance Moves.” 

The group was booked to tour the United States in May following the release of their album “Dream in Colour” and was scheduled to perform at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles May 5. 

Despite Moody describing the cancellation as devastating, he believes there will still be many positives to come of the lockdown and predicts a surge of released music in the coming months. 

“I think all the creative minds out there finally now have a chance to really show off, and dwell into their head and create art, music, literature, whatever it is they are doing,” Moody said. 

He also said he finds himself fortunate to have a studio at his home in England and is relishing the opportunity to create new music during his isolation. 

“If somebody said to me, lock yourself away and write an album, I’d be like, sick, that would be great, so Ned and I have been working on a lot of new tunes,” Moody said.

With Franc Moody being a band who specializes in DIY music, a form of music where everyday objects are used to generate sounds, a heap of creativity is expected to come out of this period. 

As for returning to the U.S., the group is working on new dates, plus more venues and would like to be back by the end of the year. 

Oli Dewdney
Oli Dewdney

“If we can get back out there and there’s a venue that can take us, then we will be there in a heartbeat,” Moody said. 

Oli Dewdney is another British musician dealing with the current realization that he will not be touring to the U.S. Dewdney is the bassist for the British indie guitar band Sports Team who were set to support British band Bombay Bicycle Club on their most recent American tour. Known for their hit singles “M5” & “Fishing,” Sports Team were to play at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles May 6 before the pandemic postponed the gig.

At the beginning of lockdown in the United Kingdom, Dewdney and his fellow band members retreated to a house with a studio in Cornwall, England, and began working on new music in absence of their packed tour schedule that also had them starting their own tour in June around the U.K. 

“It’s been a good opportunity for us to keep on working on new songs and try to get a second record together,” Dewdney said.   

With British lockdown restrictions tightening, Dewdney and Sports Team were then forced to return to their own households where they have come up with many ways to stay productive. Last week the band played a festival in the game Minecraft and are currently filming a new music video from each of their own homes. As challenging as this has been, Dewdney said these activities reflect the reality that musicians face during the pandemic. 

“I think there are a lot of people picking up new skills and maybe that will lead to more interesting creative stuff coming out of the woodwork after all this,” Dewdney said. 

Sports Team’s debut album, “Deep Down Happy” will be released June 19. 

Jammie Hannah, a British cinematic pop singer, has also been coming up with new ways to be creative but emphasizes it is not as easy as it seems for artists to come up with new ideas on the spot. 

Jammie Hannah
Jammie Hannah

“All the creators and friends that I have spoken to in the industry have all been really struggling and are not all wanting to be creative,” Hannah said. 

Hannah who is known for the single “Sound of My Youth” and his version of “Bad Romance,” was four shows into a U.K. tour supporting Louise Redknapp when coronavirus emerged.  

Being a self-proclaimed over-thinker, Hannah has put pressure on himself to be productive and write new music from home but has found it challenging compared to being able to vibe and create in a studio.  

One way Hannah has been creative though is by singing to his neighbors weekly. In the courtyard of the iconic Television Centre in London, Hannah has been bringing the sounds of opera, film and pop to others in isolation. He said the heartwarming act has gone down well among residents, much to his surprise, and has brought great joy to his lockdown life. 

“People came to their balconies with a glass of wine and they were cheering and dancing, and it gives you goosebumps because it makes you realize how something so little can have such a profound impact on people,” Hannah said. 

Hannah’s newest single “Magic” will be released Friday.

With all four of these artists releasing new music in the coming days or months, readers can find them on all major streaming platforms.

Charles Green can be reached at charles.green@laverne.edu.

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