The rise of COVID-19 has caused significant loss of income as well as other challenges for artists worldwide. This post is part of a series of interviews with artists affected by the COVID quarantine.
Christine, What kind of art do you make, and how did you first understand yourself as an artist?
My art is music! I’m a songwriter who writes for my own independent releases, for sync placements in film and television, and for music libraries. I think I first understood myself as an artist when I realized that something came alive in me when I played or created music, in a way that didn’t happen anywhere else, and in a way that allowed me to connect with others, myself, and God.
How has your recent shift to writing collaboratively changed your art practice or identity as an artist?Collaborative writing has totally revolutionized my creative process, and I think really speaks to the idea of playing to your strengths. Melodies have always come to me much more easily than lyrics, and because of that I would often get stuck on a song trying to come up with words to express what I was trying to say. Writing with lyricists has been really life-changing. Having someone else drive the lyrical side of the writing process has taken off a lot of self-imposed pressure I always felt to come up with original and creative ways of saying very familiar things. There is some crossover, and I do contribute some to the lyrics just as my co-writer contributes some to the melody. But it has freed me up to focus on writing melodies, which for me has always been the fun part that comes naturally.
How has COVID-19 changed your art practice? What are your biggest struggles right now with continuing your craft?
All of my co-writers live in different states and countries, so we were already writing via Skype or Zoom which fortunately we can keep doing. However, most artists like me who are aspiring songwriters but who have not *yet* had any hit songs on the radio or huge film/tv placements make 90-95% of their income from live gigs in bars/restaurants, corporate events, weddings, etc., which have all obviously come screeching to a halt during the COVID-19 crisis. The loss of work and the uncertainty about when I’ll be able work again, and to what capacity, has brought a lot of anxiety into this time, which has definitely affected my capacity to create.
Do you have any advice for other artists who are struggling either emotionally or financially during this time?
I think my advice would be to keep trying to show up if you can, whatever that looks like for you. For me, I know that I have not “felt” creative at all during this time because I have felt bogged down with anxiety about the future, and have definitely wanted to cancel co-writing sessions. I think art is equal parts inspiration and discipline, and I’ve been challenging myself to show up anyway even when I don’t feel like it, even if that means I need to give my co-writer a “disclaimer” that I’ve been a hot mess lately.
Christine Parker is a songwriter based in Southern California. Drawing on such musical influences as Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Brandi Carlile, and Shawn Colvin, Parker’s pure voice, authentic lyrics, and catchy melodies hook the listener from the 1st note. Learn more about Christine and her music here. More importantly, LISTEN here.
Support Christine and other artists who need support as a result of COVID-19 by purchasing our Artist Relief Tee.