The Word is Bond has asked independent musicians from all walks of life to share their experiences coping with COVID-19 during this very tumultuous time. Our first voice is UK R&B/jazz newcomer and BBC Sounds featured artist Alice Rowe. She shares with us how the pandemic has sparked creativity through the building of a home studio and what resources have helped her as an indie artist trying to survive. 

Guest Post by Alice Rowe

I must admit: At the beginning of lockdown when the news of COVID-19 hit, I felt deflated. I was supposed to start the staggered release of my March EP, but due to what was going on in the world, I didn’t feel it would be morally right to release music completely irrelevant to the horrific events. In addition to this, I wasn’t in the correct frame of mind because of my anxiety. I needed to feel positive within myself and my surroundings in order to put the music out there. 

In terms of the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the industry, I would say it has had the most effect on the live music sector. I know personally I haven’t been able to gig or perform live and the festival season has been completely canceled. This is distressing for many up and coming artists who rely on gigging and festivals for income or to get themselves out there. I think the Spotify COVID-19 relief fund is a good way to donate to artists. I’m pretty sure it’s as easy as using Cash App or PayPal, so you can help fund what they would be losing due to getting no gigs or money from tour sales. If there’s an artist you really like it can be a good way to help them. 

Rather than gigging, I have been able to interact via Instagram lives, which has been good for building up my online presence. I feel good about this because if it hadn’t been for the lockdown, I don’t think I would have ever found the confidence to do a live show! That’s one positive. At the beginning of lockdown, I didn’t feel productive at all, I didn’t feel like writing or even singing. Not being able to go to the studio or be around other creatives is very unmotivating. I tend to overthink as a creative, procrastinate, and want to do things freely at my own pace or when I become inspired, but it just wasn’t happening! It then just so happened that (thank God and my dad) that my dad had finished building our log cabin at the end of the garden. I think he had hoped to move in there but I’ve now converted it into my own home studio! I thought this is where I’m going to make it happen, and I did! 

I think I’ve written more songs in the studio now than I’ve ever written in my life! I’ve realised that productivity is about not overthinking and getting things done, and I’ve been able to reflect on so much during this time. The beautiful thing about it is that I can put it to paper and create something special in the form of music. I’ve learned how to produce, improve my piano skills, write songs better Most importantly,  I’ve finally found my sound— something that took me years to figure out, but it took an event like COVID-19 to happen for me to find it. Although I miss the studio, home studios are the best! With the likes of the internet, you can connect with others and learn from each other. I have been grateful for this time to create. I have been screaming out for it, and, finally, it arrived (in a very weird way). 

The Spotify COVID-16 Relief Fund supports over 20 music alliances and organizations of content creators around the world through its crowdfunding initiative. Spotify matches donations dollar-for-dollar. 

Watch the debut video for Alice Rowe’s latest single, “Do You Feel Me,” written about her experiences in lockdown:

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