Quarantine motivates Biola’s musicians

Student and alumni music artists navigate and push through the challenges COVID-19 has placed in their way.

Niki+Small+and+Jordan+Yarbrough%2C+performing+as+their+duo+Similar+Opposites.

Courtesy of Jordan Yarbrough

Niki Small and Jordan Yarbrough, performing as their duo Similar Opposites.

Lauren McBride, Arts and Entertainment Editor

For those who rely on group collaboration and public displays of their work to fuel their creativity, quarantine was either the best or worst thing to happen. With live performances and many other aspects of the music industry on pause, student and alumni music artists have been forced to think outside the box. However, for some, quarantine may have given them the exact creative boost they needed.

UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES

Though COVID-19 may have brought plans for the spring semester and summer to a halt, artists rushed to find new ways to put their work out there. Sophomore worship arts major Jordan Yarbrough, who specializes in everything from praise and worship to rock and roll, discovered a variety of ways to continue to perform and collaborate with other artists. Though many of his gigs for the summer were cancelled, he now plays live music at the Orange Circle in Anaheim every Sunday night. 

“With band settings, the biggest thing is COVID and trying to make sure everything is safe,” Yarbrough said. “That can be difficult.”

In his experience, there have been times when the band has had to navigate social distancing on small stages and wearing masks while singing. However, he has been blessed with many opportunities, including working with a nearby studio, recording and producing projects and even shooting a music video with Faith Evans, wife of rapper The Notorious B.I.G. In addition, he started a band called Similar Opposites, who he has been performing outdoor shows with.

Biola alumna and singer-songwriter Boston the Girl has found that since other creative people now have more free time, it is easier to seek out and discover people who are open to creating together. For her, this has opened up opportunities for things like weekly virtual writing sessions.

“They all have an empty plate in front of them and they get to choose how they fill it,” Boston said. “Before this, we all had the plate filled for us, and now we get to do it ourselves.”

SPACE TO CREATE

Suddenly having the space and time to create has been another positive experience for many artists. Boston, who graduated in the spring semester, has enjoyed the combination of the extra time and the elimination of pressures from school. It is a rare opportunity to choose how to spend her time when it comes to creating.

“All of these things I have to decide for myself because no one else is asking me to do it anymore,” Boston said. “So, it’s kind of made me more motivated to show up every day.”

Sophomore cinema and media arts major Ryan Jachetta used the extra time he was granted to drop an EP titled “the beauty of sadness” under the alias 2 The Sun. A collection of songs about quarantine and the subtlety of life, Jachetta recorded the entire project in a single day, something he would not have been able to do otherwise.

“For the music side of things, quarantine has been more of a blessing, challenging me to better my craft and experiment with music in ways I haven’t thought of before,” Jachetta said. “While some days lack inspiration, when I am inspired, it is the highest quality of work I have ever made.”

ESSENTIAL MUSIC

For many, the seven-month quarantine has made people realize how essential music is to their lives and how powerful live performances can be. Yarbrough recalls a story from the summer when he went and sat at the beach to casually play music with a friend. By the end of their session, a crowd of what seemed like around 30 people had gathered to listen. The experience made Yarbrough realize that people have a hunger for music.

“Being able to play music out in public this summer, it’s been a blessing just being able to see everybody’s face light up, dancing, having fun and living life as they should be,” Yarbrough said.

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