Creative Quarantine: Singer/Songwriter Danny Schmidt

Danny Schmidt

1. How are you holding up?

We’re doing well.  I’m sad for the pain and anxiety of the world, but to be perfectly honest, the lockdown has allowed me to spend more time with my family, and more time with the creative side of being a musician.  I’m getting to spend a much higher percentage of my time writing and recording, and less on tour planning and booking and promoting, etc etc. 

We’re lucky, too, in that Carrie and I both have similar flexibility, so we can hand off childcare duties in a more fluid way that’s made our lives much easier than some.

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

Our tours have basically cancelled from April 1st through the end of the year.  So that’s changed the nature of how we divide our time, and also the nature of how we earn our income.  Online shows, plus a few creative merchandise decisions, have mostly filled the gap, though, so we’re not feeling a great deal of financial stress.  We know we can’t last like this forever without ever touring again.  But we’re able to last a pretty good long while.

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

I definitely want to find a way to maintain a balance in my life that allows me to write more, like I’ve been able to in quarantine.  Part of that is the practice of blocking off some time commitment every day to the practice . . . even once touring demands start tugging at my sleeve to answer email upon email.  I want to be able to keep the writing time non-negotiable once things get “back to normal.

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

You know, to be honest, this is gonna sound like a cop-out, but it really isn’t: Every one of my artist friends has done a great job of finding a new rhythm and a new balance.  It’s been really inspiring to see everyone adapt.  It’s almost like watching water flow downhill after a big rain.  It’s gonna find its own winding paths, and it will inevitably find an efficient path down to the closest stream.  Early on there was lots of chatter among the scattered tribe of songwriters, sharing ideas and figuring out some best practices.  And then over the course of experimentation of the first few weeks, everyone started settling into their own groove that worked for their strengths and their schedules and their circumstances, and that fit with their relationship with their own audiences.   And those paths have become quite varied.

Named to the Chicago Tribune’s list of the “50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years,” Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has amassed a cult following for his poetic, poignant lyrics. With a craftsmanship and emotional depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt, Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer. Sing Out Magazine proclaimed that: “Schmidt is a force of nature: a blue moon, a hundred-year flood, an avalanche of a singer-songwriter. His songs are a flood of poetry, mythology, folk wisdom, and surprise. He is perhaps the best new songwriter we’ve heard in the last 15 years.”