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.
Devon: Do you know how to yoyo, penny board or sell stuff on Facebook? I didn’t, until quarantine.
It’s wild to think that the whole world has hit pause. This situation is unprecedented, and we are experiencing a ton of humanitarian detriments in the midst of it: sickness, unemployment, economic uncertainty, mental-health crises, civil unrest and so much more. But for the purpose of this reflection, I’d like to highlight a few positives that I have personally been experiencing during this wild, unprecedented time of quarantine.
For the last few years, I have been based in NYC, pursing my dreams of being a rock star. These days, I’m at home in Philadelphia, spending time with my family and quietly working on musical world domination. This time of quiet and of reflection has been a really awesome opportunity for me to focus in on my new music, to get creative with my songwriting and with my production style, and to become excited about the new landscape of digital marketing.
Partnering with other artists and with organizations such as Sam Ash and Digital LA for livestream events has been a blast, and co-writing with musicians all over the world via Zoom, rather than just collaborating with local musicians in my city, has been eye-opening with regard to how connected we really are as a population. The pandemic has affected all of us as a global community, and realizing the ways in which we are all collectively working toward the same future has been really cool and inspiring.
I’m now in the process of rolling out my new Sitting Up Straight EP, and I’m super stoked to share with you the first single, “Never Mind.” This project has been a great experience for me in learning to be a more experimental lyricist/producer, to be less precious with song structure, to be more trusting of what feels good (and what doesn’t), to sit up straight and to take up space. It was also my first exploration into soundscaping and creating my own little sonic world where nothing that anyone said could reach me.
It’s my pleasure to welcome everyone into that world now, as well as rejoin reality myself with a slightly new perspective! And thanks to quarantine, I was forced to get creative with the visuals for the project. I am loving the end results of the DIY-style videos, and it’s my pleasure to share with you the quirky lyric video that I made on my own for “Never Mind.”
In addition to music, I’ve been working on some other personal growth and development projects. (Yes, yoyoing and penny boarding are directly related to personal growth and mental-health/emotional satisfaction; I highly recommend both activities.)
Late last year, I wrapped up my yoga teacher training and became a certified yoga instructor. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I am so grateful to have built that foundation for my yoga practice before going into quarantine. Moving mindfully—on the mat, in the recording studio and through daily life—has been a huge help in keeping me present and in keeping me motivated. I’ve been teaching a few of my friends yoga via Zoom classes as well, and I’ve loved the connection and the energy that sharing my practice has brought me and my community during quarantine! It’s amazing how interconnected we are as humans, and it has been a joy to witness all of us grow stronger together.
Overall, I’ve been using this time to learn, reflect, create and share, and I am grateful that this pause has given me the time to pursue some opportunities that I otherwise might have been too preoccupied to notice. The creativity, the adaptability and the collective strength that the world is demonstrating—and this digitally connected time with friends, with family and with ourselves—is totally wild and unprecedented. But I hope that these aspects of the quarantine stay with us as we rise up and return to normalcy, because they rock.
P.S. My new single, “Want To Know,” is out today. Check out another one of my DIY music videos, filmed in quarantine: