Lockdown Lemonade #53 by Nalini Lasiewicz

How I got my groove back

In the summer of 2018, I faced a career choice: either seek a new part-time position or focus on my own music. I committed to music and set out to find a community of artists I could learn from, collaborate with, and be inspired by.

I found the beginnings of that community after meeting Brad Colerick, Michael McNevin and Corrina Carter in South Pasadena. They directed me to house concerts, songwriting camps, FAR-West and other musical outlets. I recorded an EP of demos. I formed a vocal trio, JNJ Band, with my friends John Sabato and Joy Love. We perform original songs and choice covers of the swinging London era. I launched a women’s song circle at my home and performed weekly as a volunteer at USC-Verdugo Hospital. I hosted my first house concert and became a regular at Divine Rebel Music’s Second Sunday and other open mics around town. My community was growing!

The lockdown began just after I returned from the Durango Song Expo to pitch my new single, WINGS. By April, everything had stopped. I eventually found my “pandemic legs” online, performing at open mics and song circles, attending classes, concerts and workshops, including the amazing Folk Alliance International. My women’s song circle was now virtual, drawing members from different time zones. I began co-writing and recording songs with others, virtually. JNJ Band met weekly – outdoors and masked – and live-streamed our rehearsals. On average, I attended 3-4 music events every week, a powerful antidote to an otherwise painful year of loss and uncertainty. Misery loves company and it turns out I had a lot of company!

For the first virtual FAR-West conference, I decided to celebrate my journey by hosting two private guerrilla showcases. “Groovin’ With Nalini” has opened new doors and introduced me to new tools for sharing music. I’m excited about the future and grateful to have this community of talented artists to learn from, collaborate with and be inspired by for years to come!

~ Nalini Lasiewicz

Nalini is a lifelong singer, songwriter, peace promoter and co-founder of the JNJ Band. She was born in The Netherlands and raised in Hollywood during the heyday of harmony bands and the solo artists of the 60’s and 70’s. https://www.youtube.com/user/NaliniL

Lockdown Lemonade is FAR-West’s response to the dramatic and drastic shifts of 2020’s global health and economic crises. For many, this cultural reckoning and political upheaval spurred a period of personal reflection and the discovery of coping mechanisms some of us didn’t even know we had. Lockdown Lemonade is a look at the bright side. With this collection of flash creative nonfiction, brief personal essays, recollections, and musings from members of our community, we hope to shine a light on the best things that can and have come out of the most challenging of times. This column will continue on a weekly basis and postings will be released at 10 AM Pacific every Monday, so watch for them! For guidelines and submission details, please contact Julie Zipperer at julieZ@far-west.org or Marlynn Block at marlynn@far-west.org Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.
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