Creative Quarantine: Singer/Songwriter Mark Vickery

Mark Vickery

1. How are you holding up?

I’m holding up fine, considering – thanks. We knew ahead of time it was going to be a challenge with two schoolkids and my wife and me both working. The dramatic episodes of frustration are not non-existent, but they never linger too long.

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Obviously, this is a nasty disease none of us are keen on contracting. We already know plenty of people who’ve been through it. It’s quite rough. And who knows about the lingering effects – yeesh.
That said, there have been some surprising positives to emerge from this for us. Moments of solitude are not taken for granted. I was even able to write a song based on sequestration, and it came out pretty good!
For writing projects, it’s been an adjustment. I had had a system down so nice with writing on the El train. That’s shot for the time being. So I have to sneak in little moments of putting words down.
For music, it’s actually been a boon! I’m on my third project this month writing lyrics and putting vocals to tracks to my friends’ music. Their styles are all widely varied, so I really get to stretch. And yet it never seems like work.

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

That’s an interesting question. No, I don’t think anything particular was uncovered during this time (so far) that kind of uniquely solved anything. What I think we’ll all bring with us our memories of this time together. Hopefully this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. If it is, we ought to retain the moments that were happy or funny and make us reflect fondly on it.

4. Of the artists you follow, who’s handling this particularly well?

That’s hard to say. Everyone puts up a pretty good front. I know some folks who are more dynamic than most and are really longing to kick it back out there in the real world. It literally hurts them that they can’t.
I know some creative folks I’m sure are woodshedding and putting new stuff together, but they may not be broadcasting it to anyone right now. I think it’s a matter of personality: if you happen to be goal-oriented, this is probably a difficult time for you — depending on what your goals are, of course. But if you’re like me, you follow the muse when she taps you on the shoulder and don’t question it. I feel like I’m in a pretty good position to weather this storm. Certainly I don’t want to get sick from this; I’ve been lucky health-wise throughout my life overall, but one never ought to test fate — especially at my non-young age!

Mark Vickery is a singer/songwriter living in Chicago.