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, R&B singer Russell Taylor—whose new single and video, "Come Morning," is out now—shares his Quarantine Diary
In mid-March all my work started shutting down—first the studio, then the home collaborative sessions, then the lunch meetings for future business and then...my East Coast spring tour got postponed. Full work stop. As I sulked my way through acceptance, I scrolled through some of my unreleased "maybe" songs (I've been recording new material for about eight months now for a new project) and come morning crashed into my spirit. I wanted to release it now because it sounds like "connection" to me. I need connection. We need connection, especially right now. I immediately got to work with production edits in Los Angeles, mixing in Atlanta and mastering in Charlotte. And then via a chat with filmmaker Dominga Martin, we came up with a video treatment that would bring 30 Instagram strangers together into one piece of art while being in different cities—countries even. I am not sulking anymore. This is what art is meant to do; artists are meant to draw folks out of the grey.
[9:30 a.m.] The alarm knocks me hard in the head. I was up until 4 a.m. doing edits on the video "Come Morning" with Dominga. I open the curtains and let in the sun. Usually I check emails and texts, the news and then Instagram right away. But since Quarantine 2020, I am part of a 21-day meditation group with time deadlines. I focus on nothing but sunlight, quiet and an uninterrupted mind for meditation. Next step is my Treasure Map—it's basically a vision board but in picture book form. Then a cup of strong coffee, some fresh green juice with turmeric and collagen while texting and emailing.
[11:30 a.m.] I have my first conference call with Dominga to review final video edits and promo clips. Next I have a call with my publicist Ra-Fael for song and video placement pitches. I think to myself, "Self, what were you thinking? All this during quarantine?" [Insert internal judgy head shake.]
Back to emailing, texting and calling everyone I know to tell them about the new record. Coffee-fueled frenetic actions ensue. LOL.
[2 p.m.] It’s lunch time. I’m making egg salad with fresh celery and capers, some homemade Sorrel on ice. I turn on the news and check the updates for the day though I know I shouldn’t because of the stress of it all, but I just can't help it. Trump is on. MUTE!
I check TikTok. I just joined and I want to see if anyone has followed me or my measly four posts yet. Note to self: Damn, these people are good. I gotta step up my lipsync skill set! I must practice TikTok.
[3 p.m.] Time to switch gears and put on a T-shirt and cap. I have not had a professional haircut or beard trim for six weeks now. A hat is essential business attire! I wash my face (did I remember to brush my teeth?). I brush
them again (probably for the first time), wash my face, moisturize, brush my beard, throw on a cap. I'm off to Instagram Live for a guest spot on Trina’s (from TvOne's "Sister Circle") at 4 p.m. to discuss the release of the new song and the video. It ends up being 30 minutes because of the jokes and laughs. We all needed it. Thank God for laughs.
[5 p.m.] Time to get some exercise! I need more coffee. I forgo the yoga/resistance band station I have set up as part of a COVID-19 exercise challenge and decide to take the bike out for some fresh air. 50 feet into the ride, the back tire explodes. Have I eaten that much??? Note to self: STOP EATING EVERYTHING.
OK, the bike is out of play. Instead, I walk just over five miles, and though it starts to rain, I don’t rush home. It’s just rain, I won't melt, and somehow it's even more relaxing. I switch from listening to Teddy Pendergrass' greatest hits to listening to my own rainy day playlist. No stress, just be. Wait—I hear another one of my "maybe" songs, but it is only half done. This could be the next quarantine jam. Note to self: make a note to revisit. You make a lot of notes.
[7:30 p.m.] I take a hot shower. I am having leftovers for dinner—shrimp and veggie stir fry. A nice glass of my favorite CocoBon wine while I get caught up on HBO's "Westworld." I have another glass of wine. Let’s make a post on Instagram. Operation rabbit hole initiated.
[11 p.m.] I must have fallen asleep..."Westworld" is watching me. Get into bed. I call my father to chat about his day and make sure he is feeling OK and taking his temperature at least every other day. I read a bit of Children Of Blood And Bone and it hits me that I didn’t set up my mic today. I didn’t write a thing, I didn’t sing a thing. I did work on music stuff all day, but I didn’t "create" anything. I wanna create more things. OK. Note to self: I gotta make time tomorrow for something creative...For me. Maybe I’ll finish that song from the rainy walk or even start a new one. Or I could paint something. I always wanted to paint. Or I could make a cake. Maybe I should make a cake now. Should I google making a cake. Wait. Stop eating everything.
Ok, I might need a melatonin tab; let me go to sleep :)
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.