Isolation Drills: Joy Ike

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

My name is Joy Ike, and I’m a singer/songwriter writer who lives in Germantown. The last six weeks have been a bit surreal for me. I think everyone can fairly say that they have to blink a few times each day to remind themselves that all of this is real. At the same time, as someone who is on the road a lot less than I used to be, I’m used to working from home. So being home for long periods of time is familiar and welcomed. However, I have to regularly remind myself that so many people aren’t experiencing this season in the same way. This is a very difficult time for so many people in so many ways. That grieves my heart. I’m reminded of how important it is to check up on my loved ones, friends and people who pop into my mind randomly.

90% of my income comes from performing out, so that’s on hold for now. However, I’ve been so grateful for the support of my fans this past month. Their donations and purchase of merch through my online store has been sustaining me single-handedly. I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for them.

I’ve also noticed that I am way more creative then I’ve been in a long time. The time and mental space to create without distractions has been priceless. I recently wrote a quarantine-related song and put out a music video just a few days ago. While sitting at my piano several weeks ago, I was considering the fact that I had spent my first week of quarantine reconnecting with friends and family that I hadn’t talked with in such a long time. That’s the spirit that this song was written in.

This time has also allowed me the space to launch a consulting component to my music that I’ve been wanting to do for years. After running a music marketing blog for a while and doing contributing writing for Bandzoogle and Indie On The Move, I started this year with the plan to do more artist coaching for young artists and those trying to cast a better vision for what they do. This down time has given me the space to formulate and launch that. Any artists who are interested in the free group chats can sign up for Cultivators and consultations.

Last but not least, during this time I’ve put together a page on my website where my fans can contract me for assisting them with the skill sets I’ve learned from running my music for the last 15 years. So I am also doing graphic-design work and website setups for those who would like support in that.

Even though its been a highly creative time for me, I am trying not to fill all the moments of the day with productivity, which can often be a distraction. That can be hard for me, but I know that if I don’t leave space to take in what’s happening to the world, I might as well be living in a bubble. At the end of the day, we are in a new normal, and I’m trying to be ready for that on all fronts.