I want to start this by saying: I hope you are staying safe and quarantined, and I hope everyone in your family is healthy. I have already been seeing many deaths on my socials and the stories are devastating.
What a horrible and F’ed up time.
We just got word that we have another 4 weeks on lockdown, and the prevailing feelings here in New York are fear and anxiety.
I have been sequestered at home in a state that vacillates between sheer joy and total sadness.
I had a baby 8 weeks ago.
The journey to bring him into the world took years of heartbreak. I didn’t share what I was going through with many people because I knew anyone I told, I would have to “un-tell” if things didn’t go right (and many things did not go right over these last 3 years).
So, I’m here on maternity leave locked in the epicenter of this mess on 24/7 newborn duty with my husband, grateful I gave birth before the hospital became a war zone.
In the few moments I have each day, I’ve noticed that my inbox is flooded with things we SHOULD be doing.
Learn production! Perfect your songwriting! Get more productive now that you are stuck at home! Etc.
Um, I’m here to give you permission to say: F- All that.
I’m inviting you to NOT do these things – unless this calls to you and you will feel better by doing them – then by all means! For those of you in this superhuman category, I’m offering my LAB 1 Music Publicity Masterclass – Click here or read all the way to the bottom for details.
For Now, I’d Like to Try to Offer Comfort & Clarity
To participate in today’s new music business, we already live in a relentless world of hustle even in the best of times. There’s a nagging list of “shoulds” that a lot of us have right now. Mine is accentuated by my son (if there’s ever a time to let go of the “should” it’s with a newborn).
So Stop The Hustle and…
Give yourself permission and space to grieve. Take time to feel pain and grieve before you even try to take your next indicated step. The world won’t ever be the same and there will not really ever be a “back to normal,” especially not the music industry. We were one of the first to feel the immediate impacts from Covid-19 and will be one of the last to recover.
As my Governor said – this is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be many losses big and small during this pandemic. I came across this coping guide and found it very helpful. I especially love the part about the five stages of grief. Take time to register that you may be having some of these emotional or physical symptoms and make sure you are not isolating yourself. Yes, I get the irony, this will take extra effort.
Take Breaks From News & Social Media
I have spent many days crying from fear of the unknown – and as a person who usually ignores the news, I have been taking in more than I’m used to in my efforts to keep safe. As artists, you are probably empathic, too, and that means that news emotionally hurts. Give yourself blocks of hours in the day to shut off the TV and the phone and focus on self care – whatever that means for you.
This is so crucial! All I have wanted to do is eat crap and binge Netflix, but we all need to make an effort to care for our minds and bodies. Drink water, sleep as much as you can, and don’t forget to move your body.
It does not take much space, and is great if you are in a major city and hesitant to go out. My friend for 20+ years (and music producer), Derek Beres, is offering free classes. Yoga with Adriene is on YouTube. Lululemon is hosting free Instagram Live sessions that feature yoga, do-anywhere workouts, meditation, and self-care tips.
This will bring down your anxiety. Insight Timer has a giant and free meditation library. Enso is a meditation timer, designed to enhance your mindfulness experience. I also love the Calm videos on Youtube.
305 hosts one of NYC’s most popular dance-cardio classes. In light of the COVID-19 closures, founder Sadie Kurzban is now offering free live streams 2X a day. The Get Down NYC is hosting virtual dance parties. And my one of my favorite humans, Mark Kanemura (he used to be one of Lady Gaga’s principal dancers), is throwing a great dance party every day from his apartment in LA – follow him on instagram and expect confetti, rainbow flags, and wigs!
Practice Tender Discipline
One of the people I am most grateful I have ever found is Jocelyn K. Glei. I love her newsletter and her podcast, Hurry Slowly. In this short episode “Who Are You Without The Doing?” she addresses why being tender with yourself helps you find clarity. It will also give you permission to stop over-committing if you are doing that now.
Make Gratitude Lists
I know you may be rolling your eyes at this but when you can start with gratitude and really acknowledge what is good, you might just experience a profound shift in your perspective.
My practice is to fill an entire page in a composition book – that’s approximately 29 grats. Write by hand, don’t type. It is important to write, as it makes a connection with your hand and brain. Start with “I’m grateful for” before each and every thing you write to solidify your gratitude. Don’t overthink – just write.
I’m grateful for this warm cup of coffee
I’m grateful for my health
I’m grateful for my son
I’m grateful that I can hear birds singing
I’m grateful for blue skies
I’m grateful for my cat
I’m grateful for music
Celebrate 5 Successes Every Day (No Matter How Small)
Another practice that you may find helpful (I wrote about this in my first book Music Success in 9 Weeks) is to write down your 5 successes each day before you go to sleep. Even if they are tiny successes, you are acknowledging that you are doing positive things every day. In a world where we are surrounded by negative things, this will feel good.
Example (here’s mine from yesterday):
Connected with a dear friend on facetime
Was kind and patient with myself
Did 2 loads of laundry
Cleaned my bathroom
Ate a healthy meal
Take a 30,000 Foot View
Erik Philbrook from ASCAP shared this Rich Roll podcast on Facebook. It’s long and discusses this pandemic from a global perspective.
“As we emerge from this planetary wake up call not as victims, but empowered — armed with greater clarity to reimagine and actualize a better, more sustainable, purposeful, intentional and fulfilling life experience for ourselves, our loved ones, future generations and frankly the world at large… Like an addict’s moment of clarity, the pandemic presents a singular occasion to break the chains of denial that imprison us…”
Share Whatever You Can – Your Music, or Your Expertise
The thing I have loved most about this time is watching so many artists share through social media, and especially through live streaming. If you feel up for it and have not already – please do come online and share some music. Your fans and friends would love to see you.
If you don’t make music, now is a great time to share whatever you do make. As you know, I make things to help musicians get ahead, and I am now sharing my Music Publicity Masterclass. Hundreds of artists have taken this since I launched it last year, and I want you to have it for free. I will also be doing some live Q&As over the next few weeks while this course is being offered.
Until then, I send you all my love and light.