Creative Quarantine: Musician Charlie Short

Charlie Short

1. How are you holding up?

The quarantine has been both challenging and relieving. We lost my father in law in January, and navigating the logistics of settling his estate has been a challenge, logistically and emotionally, along with some other personal stuff. That said, the quarantine has allowed me to let some things go, and that’s been a big relief.

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

Tremendously. Prior to the pandemic, I was taking a lot of paid gigs of all types, and those are all gone. Cover band stuff mostly, a weekly restaurant gig, all done, probably for good. Additionally, one of my main projects in an improvisational group that relies on us being in the same room, we haven’t seen each other in person.

In addition to the live work, my recorded output has changed. We’ve been sharing tracks in the improv group and that’s been awesome, and two of my original music projects have recorded a few songs. What’s great about recording remotely is there’s so much listening to the notes and inflection in the music. When you’re in a recording studio together, you can feed off each other’s energy, but when you’re remote, you’re forced to respond to people’s notes, and for me it’s an awesome challenge.

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

Something that I’ve been better about as an artist is being more true to myself. That might sound cliche, but it’s been really refreshing. With so much of my interactions being online or through my podcast, I’ve found that I feel better when I’m just being honest, whether it’s improvising or covering a topic I care about, it’s easier to do the work when I’m being myself. I found a day job that will help me avoid taking paid gigs in the future so I can focus on the work that inspires me when this is all over. That doesn’t mean I won’t collaborate or take chances, but the bar will be much higher for what I say yes to.

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

Many artists and musicians I follow are increasing their online output while locked down. Of all the people doing new online content, some of it slick and some of it not so slick, it’s been Jamaladeen Tacuma that surprised me the most. Normally, in April he hosts the Outsiders Music Festival in Philadelphia, but this year he had to cancel. In its place, he created a half-hour showcase of many of the artists that would have been at the festival, and while not the same, it had an inspiring vibe and pushed me to more creating.

Charlie Short is a singer, bass player, songwriter, and podcaster. You can find most of his work on his website His weekly podcast, Charlie Likes Music, can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.