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.
Hackett: When lockdowns began in March, I was not someone who took to their instrument right away and channeled it all out into a brand new album. I was very much frozen in my mind for months with the inability to write or even find joy in my craft.
I live with severe anxiety and depression, and as the months of isolation progressed, I found it increasingly difficult to take care of my mental health. It wasn’t until recently that I started writing again and getting my portfolio together.
I’ve tried to embrace the swells and lapses of creativity when they come. This year, my intuition led me to rediscover poetry. Growing up, poetry was my first love, and music came after. I think I kept these separate from each other for a long time. I suppose as a songwriter I access this part of myself to some degree. It feels different now.
Recently, both of these have shown themselves to me as two perfect entities that become something new and beautifully particular to myself when combined. Art is so cool that way.
I have a new set of songs now that I think are really different from my previous sound. I’m trying to create art for the sake of art and challenge myself in ways I have not before. I just started recording a new record, and it’s been thrilling.
During the pandemic, I have also focused my energy into radical birthwork and reproductive justice. “Reproductive justice” is defined by SisterSong as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. As a doula, I provide support for births, postpartum recovery and abortion.
I try to provide as much information as I can about reproductive justice to my artistic community, because the two cannot exist apart from each other. Musicians have abortions, give birth, miscarry and adopt, but there is definitely a stigma around it.
The hush-hushness of this topic stems from reproductive oppression, and it is present in every community in our country. It will continue as long as music is gate-kept by those who take away bodily autonomy, limit their view of birth and abortion to one gender or silence it altogether.
I hope to one day live in a world where reproductive freedom flourishes and that speaking about abortion is as normal as speaking about taking a sip of water. I think we are moving in that direction.