As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, GRAMMY.com reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, singer/songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews shares her Quarantine Diary. Courtney's forthcoming album, Old Flowers, drops on July 24.
July 15, 2020
[8:30 a.m.] It’s a sunny summer morning in Nashville, Tennessee. I have awoken from an insane apocalyptic dream—asteroids falling, bridges collapsing, the whole affair... So I decide to wash away the strangeness with some yoga. I roll over and make my way downstairs to the floor. On my mat, I search for a new class on YouTube I haven’t taken before. My search leads me to a petite, tough lady with a mighty flow. The zen trance works, and I make it through the whole video this morning, so I consider my nightmare erasure a success. Or maybe it was the Palo Santo?
[9:30 a.m.] Across the living room and into the kitchen, I put on a pot of coffee. While it’s brewing, I make my habitual yogurt parfait, decorated with homemade granola and berries. Friends often tease me about my obsession with parfaits, sending me funny pictures from around the world when they eat one on tour. They’ll be smitten to know that even in quarantine, I eat a parfait almost every morning.
[10 a.m.] Once I prepare my breakfast and coffee, I travel to my studio and writing room. Last week, some musicians and I safely got together to film a Tiny Desk concert, so I have to listen to and approve the mixes. I talk to my manager about some upcoming live performances we plan to film. Afterward, I, unfortunately, go down an email rabbit hole (including my 10-minute New York Times briefing, the only news I allow myself to consume these days, for sanity).
[11 a.m.] After all the behind-the-scenes work, my pen calls to me, and I begin working on some poetry. I’m working on releasing my first collection of poems sometime next year, so I have to dedicate a solid two hours every morning to meet the deadline for my publisher in a couple of months. Writing in the mornings is my forte. Something about the clean slate of morning makes it easier to speak with clarity. I see my neighbor, Debbie, wave through my window as she mows my lawn. She’s the only one on the block with a mower, so I enjoy seeing her pop her head out, unannounced, mowing my lawn... the Southern hospitality is real.
[1 p.m.] My porch is humming and jingling with the sound of windchimes, which beckon me to water my garden. All of my tomatoes have recently ripened, so I’m going to make sure there aren’t any waiting to be picked. When I arrive at my garden, I find enough tomatoes to last me the whole summer—an entire overall’s worth! So, I make lunch with them, using salt and pepper, and then proceed to finish the poem that I was working on before.
[2:30 p.m.] After writing, I've decided to take my version of an afternoon siesta, which means painting...
I’ve picked up painting in quarantine as a wonderful way of passing the time. Right now, I’m finishing up a portrait of my kitchen table. I’m using lots of subject matter around my house for inspiration. On tour, I have always been a journal doodler, so it’s exciting to explore color in the context of my doodles.
[5 p.m.] It’s time to put on my high top Converse and go for my daily walk. Hiking and walking have both been a massive mental health booster in quarantine. Most days I drive to the park near my house—an expansive, nearly always empty park, with miles of walking trails. I’m so thankful to have trails like this so close to home that are so desolate! On days when I am feeling adventurous, I’ll drive an hour or two out of town and hike in more mountainous areas. Luckily, there’s an abundance of waterfalls in Tennessee to discover, to happily feed the solitude when Mother Nature is involved. She is very healing. Walking is my sacred space and gets my gears turning for song and poem ideas.
When I arrive, I see the local deer clan braising the fields. Better than T.V., I tell ya.
[6:30 p.m.] Seeing as I have enough tomatoes to feed the partridge family for a year (only boasting because it was my only fruitful harvest. Turns out I’m a terrible gardener), I decide to make a tomato avocado salad for dinner. Rarely do I eat meat, maybe only once every two weeks as a treat. At the beginning of quarantine, I was attempting and failing to cook like a five-star French chef, but now I’m back to making what is easy, what I know. As an Arizonan born and raised woman, I cook a lot of Mexican food. My new album is coming out next week, so I need all the extra time I can get in for work and creative endeavors.
Usually, at dinner time, I call or FaceTime a friend or family member. After talking to one of my best friends tonight, we lamented, "imagine the day we don’t talk about our perils involving coronavirus?" With a very sad laugh, we sheepishly continue the COVID conversations. I cannot wait for that day to come, and to perform onstage again.
[8 p.m.] After a busy day at, essentially, the liberal arts college I’ve created, I strum my nylon, in my favorite open tuning, in bed for an hour. Then, I pick up a book I’m currently reading that is breathtaking, "The Lady and the Monk." Tomorrow, I will wake up, and live a different version of today again, and again, until this is some apocalyptic dream I had long ago.
Lights out, sweet dreams.
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