songwriting in isolation

Isolation is a Two-Edged Sword For Songwriters

We’ve all come through an extraordinary time. The pandemic has completely changed the world for those in the music industry, especially for those who count on live audiences in a public venue.

If you’re a member of a band, it’s meant that you had to immediately change what you do and how you do it. In-person concerts were replaced by Zoom or YouTube performances, with varying levels of success.

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Depending on where you live, musicians are finally starting to peek out from under a blanket of isolation that the pandemic has forced upon them. It won’t be long now before live performances with large audiences will finally be allowed everywhere.

For songwriters, and depending on how you look at it, isolation hasn’t been much different from the norm. Unless you do all of your songwriting in collaboration with others, you’re used to being alone, working out lyrics, melody and chords, until the song is ready for public consumption.

But isolation is a two-edged sword. Constant isolation is not a good thing in the music business, because it separates you from contact with the consumers of your product. Live performances are the best way to know what your fan base is looking for, because you can judge the subtleties of their reactions to your songs in real time.

As you all slowly emerge from this more-than-a-year of isolation from your fans, I want to encourage you all to take the opportunities to reconnect with others.

Technology makes it possible — even easy — to write music and create great performances in the comfort and isolation of your own home studio. But isolation means that you are creating art in a vacuum. You don’t get to hear a live audience react to what you’re writing.

That public audience reaction can be a vital guide for your songwriting. I’m not suggesting that you should bow to every opinion offered by your fans. If you did that, you’d never grow and evolve as a songwriter. But hearing and seeing other people react is an important part of a complex formula that helps to hone and polish the direction of your songwriting.

As your own region lifts restrictions, and as soon as it’s safe to do so, get your songs out there, live and in person, for others to hear. It’s not just for them — it’s for you.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

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