60 to 0
Before the lockdowns, before the quarantine, before the stay-at-home orders and mask mandates, I knew I was burning out and reaching a point in my music career where I needed to stop and think. 2019 had been an incredible year: I went to FAI in February and all the regionals, traveling from Montreal to Chattanooga to Austin to Woodland Hills to Grand Rapids, and finished the year with a train ride from Emeryville, CA to Stamford, CT for NERFA. I also completed my graduate school dissertation on that train ride (shout out to Berklee Online for giving me the opportunity to complete a master’s degree completely online). I felt like 2020 would be my year. I made new friends and caught up with old ones at FAI New Orleans and was excited to keep going. Then…everything stopped. My plans came to a screeching halt. I went from 60 to 0. And it was the best and worst thing that could’ve happened to me.
Quarantine gave me time to step back from my day job and my music. My body needed a break. My mental health needed a break. I had been performing and working and studying nonstop since I wrote my first song in 2007 at 12 years old. My only breaks were school breaks or holidays. I had been running on empty for so long and was just realizing it. So, I stepped away from it all and let myself heal and recover. It’s okay to freeze and feel like the world stopped spinning and came crashing down. It took months for me to pick up my guitar again after the shock and the aftermath of live music coming to a halt. But it’s coming back, through livestreams and socially-distanced outdoor performances. I’m writing songs again and feel like I got my identity back. It just took a global pandemic for me to find myself again. Folk community: we are resilient, and I see hope on the horizon.
Gaby Castro is an Americana/folk singer-songwriter and San Francisco Bay Area native. Her music touches on themes such as feminism, self-empowerment, mental health, and overcoming adversity. Let her music tell the stories.
In an attempt to keep us connected as we continue to find our way through these often stressful times, some in our extended community have been sharing their experiences, lessons learned and hope as they’ve dealt with Covid, lockdown, boredom, lack of inspiration, etc. We are all looking for ways to make lemonade out of the many lemons! 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 email@example.com or Marlynn Block at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.