Artists of all kinds are still struggling to find their ground every since we were hit with the unexpected pandemic of COVID-19. Although the world has changed tremendously, artist/musician and teacher P.D. Brody found a way to keep his musical expression alive, keep his spirits up and keep the money flowing.
Before the pandemic escalated, Brody was living the rock star life, hitting the road and going on a country wide tour from places like California, Austin, TX., Memphis, TN. and newly discovered Staunton, VA. while getting his name on the music map, meeting and making personal connections with people, connections that would last a lifetime. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, those connections were made in a different way. And, even though Brody is blessed to have another career in teaching special needs children, his passion for playing music was still hanging in the balance.
"Everything was rolling, making real good money, and I was tired as hell but it was working and all just coming together. I was in my groove, and I remember it was March 14th, had 3-4 gigs in a row that weekend and that Monday everything shut down," Brody said. "Literally hero to zero."
We are all trying to adapt to this new reality in the hope that the pandemic will end soon, although it is impossible to predict how long it will last and what consequences it will have for all and for Brody that is no different. Emotions are flaring and panic is on the rise but one must make it work, by any means necessary.
"I am blessed to have another career. I have means to pay the rent, put gas in the car but it sucked, music wise. It was very strange to not do anything. I went to nothing, being in my apartment for weeks on end," Brody explained. "I wasn't gigging or playing. I lost my callouses in my fingers and it was just not the life I was used to living."
To have someone playing music, doing what they love while lifting spirits in the most meaningful yet subtle way is great, inspiring and needed in these dark times of lockdown uncertainty and isolation.
Brody did just that by doing at home livestreams like Facebook Live to play music and doing small outdoor live shows. With restrictions lifting day by day, people were able to enjoy outside again and in turn Brody could make his connections with people through sharing his music. It's all about creating a safe yet creative balance in times of uncertainty.
"Daddy Matty's BBQ in Madison had a patio where I could livestream and play outside. It was advertising for the restaurant and people could come out to listen to some tunes. I was pleasantly surprised by the neighborhood that embraced me sitting on the stoop playing guitar," Brody said. "People would come by in their car taking a video, drop by but it was refreshing because people were appreciative of it."
Brody, though he had to switch up in terms of creativity for his music playing, thankfully he was still able to teach his students in a creative and productive manner via Google Classroom. Music this way didn't stop in his or his students lives despite abrupt change in routine.
"It wasn't the scale in which I was used to playing at but I still felt that I was creating my art and still doing my thang." Brody said. "I became more appreciative as well, and I had to hunker down. I work with special needs children as well and I never knew how much I needed that and music to co-exist until this point in time."
If anyone has learned anything from this pandemic, it is to be thankful for what you have because anything can change in a blink of an eye with no absolute warning.
"As far was music teaching, it's been harder to articulate what I want my kids to do as far as exercises and playing cause I'm not physically there to show them. There's a certain art to when being in room with somebody when they're teaching you how to do something," Brody continued. " It's cross disciplinary for me and my kids handled it pretty well, they really put forth an effort and they're engaged and have adapted to it."
A forced pause on our relentlessly busy lives has compelled many of us to take an uncommonly hard long look within ourselves at how we’re doing life and luckily Brody is able to easily adapt to change. Music and teaching are both his passion and livelihood and as long as he has both, his motivation won't dwindle.
"God forbid anything like this occurs again, I have a safety net," Brody continued. "The two worlds coexist and there is happiness in having security."
A pandemic may have shocked the world and this country but even so, there are still other issues we are unfortunately still dealing with. Police brutality in midst of disease.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron had the audacity to say that those with a platform shouldn't speak on injustices such as the murder of Breonna Taylor and Brody, being a platform himself like so many others felt that just isn't right.
Brody shared his personal stance on the subject.
"I think there's a responsibility of anybody that has a platform to reach any number of people, small or large to say and do the right thing. It would be irresponsible of me to not say something," Brody said. "I released a video a while back after George Floyd on my experience with racial profiling by law enforcement. I was thinking that I was going to be the next hashtag and it's scary not just what happens to us but what happens afterwards because no one is getting repercussions."
We are battling a pandemic, police brutality and all kinds of injustices day to day and no matter if you're an artist, celebrity, or teacher and musician like P.D. Brody, it's important for you to speak up, be heard and do the right thing.
"The door has been opened for me to say something, and seeing people I look up to say something gives me the encouragement to do the same." Brody said.
Check out P.D. Brody's schedule and social media pages via his website: http://www.pdbrody.com/index.html