When I packed my stuff (read toilet paper, cold medicine, a suitcase, two guitars and food for a month) in my 2005 Honda Civic to go hunker down in a studio in Berry Hill, I had a strange gut feeling about how important this moment was. I took a picture of the car ready to explode and let the one pillow I took burst out of the back window on my East Nashville driveway.
I was on my way to do my COVID-19 lock-down in an independent studio where my friends and co-workers offered me to stay when I mentioned not trusting my roommates to take this issue seriously. And I had no way of making it back home to my family in France since the country was already shut down and the pandemic was reaching its peak. I didn’t need another proof that the Universe had my back in unexpected ways...but here it was: of all the places I could be stuck in the world during these strangest of times, it had to be a recording studio in Nashville.
The first night alone was intense. I could not wrap my head around what was happening. I wrote several songs in less than two hours. I was also playing around with a few covers. Bella Ciao. Live Forever. Elastic Heart. Original songs too. I totally allowed myself to be first degree with it all. And it hit me. I had to release music urgently. Because everything felt urgent. I know better than to release a song just because I’m excited about it. No plan, no PR and no touring equals failure every time no matter who you are. But in this case it was not about the song making it, it was not about any of those industry rules. I just knew what I knew.
Over the next two days I recorded my version of Sia’s Elastic Heart and started producing my first electro song as well (it had been brewing for a long time), which will be released on a bigger EP at a later date. This song will also have what I call an Acoustic Apocalypse take. Because it is the first song I wrote during my quarantine and the first version of it was just acoustic. The Acoustic Apocalypse collection will be made of spontaneous recordings that aim to capture the vibe of a lock-down: The absolute silence in a neighborhood where few people actually live. Where I don’t live. The recurring threats of tornadoes that continue to pop up on our phones and outside our windows. The pandemic that hit Nashville before we even had time to recover from the devastation of March 3rd. I only had time for one personal thing each day: checking on my family back home who happened to be in the two most infected regions of my home country. Then going back to work. As a music producer, songwriter and promoter, I had actually never been so busy in my life.
But I was and I still am counting my blessings. The lock-down continues as I write these words. But I am safe and able to work and make music. And all over town, many of us kept making music from day one no matter what. That, to me, is the very essence of Nashville. It’s got strong blood coursing through its veins that pumps to a metronome and flows with grace. And I get to be a small part of it all in a world where anxiety and uncertainty has fully taken over. I was and I am, somehow, still making music in Music City. That will make one hell of a story to tell one day. And I’ll have the picture to prove it.
This guest post was contributed by Pauline Andres. Pauline Andres is a Nashville based producer and singer-songwriter. She’s released two and a half (it’s complicated) LP’s and is currently working on a new EP for 2020 and an LP to be released in 2021, depending on the speed of the apocalypse and when musicians can get back together. Her work was praised and featured in Paste Magazine, PopDose, KEXP, added on several official Spotify playlists as well as radio shows in several countries. She writes, produces and promotes for indie musicians mainly based out of Nashville and Los Angeles. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook. More info paulineandresofficial.com
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