Photo: Ana Sanchez
Quarantine Diaries: SYML Is Working In The Studio, Recording New Songs & Watching "The Last Dance"
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, platinum-selling Seattle artist SYML shares his Quarantine Diary. SYML's new single, "The Dark," is out now.
[7 a.m.] You know we got our kids those alarms that turn green when it’s "OK" to wake their parents. What that looks like is our kids, Finlay (5) and Josie (3), have been waiting like hyenas on the edge of their beds since 6 a.m. just staring at that clock and waiting for the kill. 7 a.m. hits and we are awakened by the hyenas clamoring on top of us to start another day. Here’s the amazing part: my wife has trained our children to go play independently for an hour after they wake us up. So even though the waking is abrupt, we get about an hour to lay on our phones and talk about the day to come. This has been a pandemic game-changer.
[8 a.m.] Coffee. It’s too cliche to say that I am from Seattle and just MUST have my coffee a certain way. What’s true is that we got this machine right after we got married, eight years ago, and have done the tedious math to make sure we are indeed saving money and feel good about how much money we spent on it back then. The beans are from Costco. Coffee is for closers.
[9 a.m.] Marion (my wife) heads to her home office and I head down to the studio. I am reminded daily of how fortunate we are to be able to continue working from home during this time. I was on tour when the lockdown began and we missed about two weeks of shows. As an artist, cancelling shows is hard. But as a fan, having a show canceled SUCKS. It’s just one example of how being together is important, and I can’t wait for that to come back.
[9 a.m.–9:30 a.m.] Emails and phone calls, followed by work. Another pandemic life saver has been our sweet girl, Maggie, a nine-month-old labradoodle. We’ve taken a lot of walks together while I’m on the phone.
[9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.] I love having multiple songs or productions in progress at any given time. I've found that I am most efficient if I have something else to bounce to when one thing isn’t clicking. It also keeps it fun instead of banging your head against a wall. It’s impossible to ignore what is happening in my country, and our world, at the moment. Thankfully, there are many ways that we can be helping ourselves and each other to become better at living together in community. I believe music and art are great vessels for questioning, challenge, peace, and of course, love. I have been inspired recently. This is one of my new songs that was recorded while in quarantine. It’s called "The Dark" and it’s about only being able to get to the "light" by going through the darkness.
[4 p.m.–7 p.m.] I have loved this time for one main reason: spending time with Marion and our kids. The past few years I have spent almost as many nights away as I have with them. As hard as it has been, being together has never been better. During this window of the day, we are usually outside, especially since summer is amazing here in the Northwest. If we have time during the day, this is when we work out. Marion and I have been “training” for a half marathon while in lockdown. We did one a year ago and are pretending like we have another one coming up in a few weeks.
[7 p.m.] Dinner. Cocktail. Adult Time. We love eating together as a family, but we probably only do it about half the time. For food we’ve been enjoying: various bowls, grilling things to put in bowls, ordering things that come in bowls—basically basic bowl life. On the drink front, our summer vibe has been tequila and mezcal cocktails, with the occasional sparkling rosé, as you do. The perfect pairing for a summer meal is a bonfire, which we also enjoy frequently.
[10 p.m.] Time to have another drink and watch something (or work more). We tore through Season 2 of "The Politician." Since then I’ve been loving "The Last Dance." I grew up watching Michael Jordan so the nostalgia is huge when watching this. What an incredible story, and the cast of characters is wild!
[12 a.m.] Sleep. Since being off tour, it’s been nice to fall asleep before midnight. Occasionally I will work late in the studio, but I do so knowing that my kids are probably already up and staring at their alarm clocks, waiting to pounce.
If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website.