Isolation Drills: Brian Walker (A Day Without Love)

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.

Walker: 2020 has been a difficult year for me to say the least. However, I have pushed myself through many creative challenges. Year to date, I have had eight releases including, two additional EPs and two features. That’s approximately 20 songs that I have released in 2020 in a digital space.

It may sound impressive, but it’s been a lot to manage while also losing friends and family to COVID-19 and other diseases. This year, I lost my aunt to cancer, my cousin to AIDS and my uncle to COVID-19, and I was not able to attend a funeral due to pandemic restrictions. I was not able to cope with the ritual of being around others, so I turned to music as a way to cope.

I started to learn banjo, ukulele and how to make beats. I dove further into my vocal lessons with Renée Drezner and taught myself piano. I had to write music as a way to cope, and when I would turn off from music, I turned to prayer and meditation.

Life is full of challenges that change our perspectives and expectations of ourselves. The pandemic gave me a sink-or-swim mentality. I am currently waiting for a studio to be built to complete my full-length record, which will be released in tandem with a documentary about inclusion and consent culture.

It would have been too easy to give up, but my resilience tells me that I need to work around and challenge myself instead of giving up.

I lost my nine-to-five this year and have been receiving many rejections from job applications and digital networking events. I lost touch with many friends because of a lack of physical contact. I stopped weight lifting, which was a way to push through my own stress because gyms have been shut down.

I could have given up, but instead I decided to work around, and I started to become more disciplined about my podcast. I started to get into freelance scoring for brands. I decided to write more concept albums and try new sounds. I decided to work out more, learn yoga and do at-home exercises.

I don’t like this period of time, but it has brought gratitude in my life and allowed me time to focus on myself more than I have before. As a mental-health survivor and advocate and a fighter, I hope to be a leader of change and support others to be better in their creative and life journey.