How Music Has Helped Me Over Lockdown
Updated: Apr 13
It's March 23rd 2021, one year on since the national lockdown first started in England. I remember when I heard the news of a lockdown and seeing Boris Johnson sat doing his announcement on tv, I was just heading home from university for the Easter holidays. Like most people, I had the mentality that I’d be straight back for the summer term in four weeks time, who’d have thought we’d still be here a year later!
This post is about how powerful music has been for me in this crazy year we’ve all experienced. It has been the one constant through it all for me, giving me the best highs but also being responsible for some of the lows.
Music gave me that escape from the realities of the terrible situation we were (and still are) experiencing, and I feel like I’m really lucky to have a passion that has allowed that.
Last March, at the start of lockdown, I remember the very first evening I began work on producing a single for Dan Quinn called ‘Garden,’ (check it out here) a song we’re both really proud of. This song for me sums up those first months, being sat in the garden with the sun shining, working on my masters essays, facetiming friends, it was sort of blissful in a weird way? I had a great schedule of playing games (Call of Duty Warzone) with my friends till 4am the night before, waking up around 12, university work till 5pm, work on the production of Garden, facetime my loved ones, then repeat.
And then things started to get tedious, Garden was eventually released on May 29th, and the months were droning on by. It felt like the days would go by in minutes and yet the weeks would take years. Despite this, music would be part of my daily schedule every single day. I would spend hours watching YouTube tutorials on Logic Pro X, download plug ins to experiment with, and write random songs. In short, music gave me that escape from the realities of the terrible situation we were (and still are) experiencing, and I feel like I’m really lucky to have a passion that has allowed that.
It gave me a sense of purpose which I feel like we were all longing for during the first lockdown, as it was so suddenly taken away for so many people.
Along came summer and a really talented artist called Jack Patrick (check him out here) sent me some of his songs to work on. Of course they were exceptional, and I added all I could to make them better. ‘Tell Them’ was one of the first and ‘Why Do You Wait For Another Day?’ the second, both songs I’m really proud of! Jack doesn’t know it but I’m so grateful to him for letting me contribute to his songs because it gave me a sense of purpose which I feel like we were all longing for during the first lockdown, as it was so suddenly taken away for so many people.
Over the summer months, a musical project with my friend Max Rhodes called ‘Noon A.M.’ started to take shape. People have often asked me where the name came from as it's quite random. So Max and I used to have drunken nights a couple years back where we’d write and record random songs to put on SoundCloud. We would stay up till way past midnight and find that our songs would usually come together around midnight, so the name is a weird way of saying midnight: Noon being 12, and A.M being, well, AM. So, 12AM! Anyway, so this was a big step for us, as we had wanted to start a proper project for on a long time. Being in Noon A.M. led me to write about the emotional experiences I was having over lockdown; our song Somebody is all about how I felt so meaningless and hopeless on a daily basis, and Come Down is about loneliness and how everything will be alright! Music was a vehicle for me to make sense of these emotions I was having. I found that other people really related to the themes I was writing about too which was so heart-warming to hear!
One of the highs of lockdown that music was responsible for was being played on BBC Introducing 4 times. When you get the email to tell you that they’ll play your song a few days before and it feels like nothing else! Just pure excitement. If you’re ever releasing music DO NOT forget to upload it to the BBC Introducing uploader.
As a musician/blog creator, I always find myself comparing what I make to other people, especially in lockdown where we have so much time to scroll through social media and overthink.
Despite the highs, my passion for music has also led to some of my low points in the past year. As a musician/blog creator, I always find myself comparing what I make to other people, especially in lockdown where we have so much time to scroll through social media and overthink. Although I try my absolute hardest to use this as inspiration and put it into productive energy in my own projects, I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring me down seeing how great other people’s content is to my own. I’m learning more and more than it’s so important, in basically every form of life, to not bring yourself down when you compare yourself to other people, but use it as inspiration to improve yourself.
Overall, without music, lockdown would’ve been a much lonelier, colder place. It has given me a focus when nothing else did and allowed me to express the emotions I’ve felt as a result of being stuck in my room all day. I’m so thankful for the highs its allowed me to have through this period and grateful to be able to improve myself from the lows.
I’ll end by saying: throughout lockdown I so often believed that I was nothing special at all, just part of the crowd as a result of doing nothing in my room all day. But looking back, there was more achieved than I ever realised, even if intangible. I want you to know that if you have ever felt this way too, it is not true, and you are great and an individual contributor in society. A wise someone once told me to write down everything you’re grateful for sometimes, it helps a lot! If its anything, you’re amazing for reading this far.
(last three photos all by @tobiasmantaray)