Isolation Drills: Cliff Hillis

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.

Hillis: It’s crazy how the world changed so quickly right in front of my eyes. When the news started to break about COVID-19 spreading in the U.S., I was in Florida doing some gigs. And washing my hands more than ever before. By the time I returned to Pennsylvania a few days later, I immediately self-quarantined and have been sheltering in place ever since.

All of my immediate gigs have been canceled, including a couple that I was really looking forward to with Rhett Miller from the Old 97’s. Like everyone else, I’m not sure what the future holds for live gigs, so I’m working on a few things I can do when I’m housebound.

I knew I wasn’t the only person affected by a loss of work and income, so in an effort to entertain and help out, I decided to do a Facebook Live show every Sunday where I donate half of all tips I get to a different local charity each week. It has gone over really well, so I decided to make it a regular event, 12:30 p.m. every Sunday.

I’m also using this time working on my own music and have been writing and recording songs for an alter-ego project I have called the Inside Passenger

Luckily, since I have a small studio at my house, I’ve been able to finish some ongoing mixing and mastering projects, including a new record for a fantastic singer/songwriter from Minneapolis: Hayley Lewis and her band Corzine. Check her out! I have some other projects that I can do remotely, so that helps, too.