The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the ability of many artists to make music. But Cleveland singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan says the isolation freed his creativity and challenged him to develop new skills.
Flanagan used this time to write a daunting amount of new songs and taught himself how to record them from home.
He decided in November of 2020 that he wasn’t going to play gigs until a COVID-19 vaccine was available.
“But I didn’t know like how long it was going to take,” Flanagan said. “When I decided that I wasn’t going to play gigs, I was like, ‘Well, what am I going to do?’ And I was like, ‘Well, there’s Bandcamp.’”
He began releasing two songs every month in January 2021 as a way to become more disciplined and use the goal as a way to inspire creativity.
Pivoting during the pandemic
Flanagan has worked as a full-time musician for the past five years after leaving his warehouse job in 2016.
“You find that you make things work if you don’t give yourself options,” Flanagan said. “You know, I quit my job and said, ‘I’m going to do this,’ and I just committed to that.”
The global shutdown during the onset of the pandemic forced the musician to think of other ways not only to get his music out, but also to continue earning a living as an artist.
The guitarist and songwriter has collaborated with a seemingly endless number of musicians throughout Northeast Ohio.
The shutdown enabled him to hone his skills in a new way, in the form of finessing his songwriting with new tracks monthly.
“I had this song called ‘The Arsenal’ that I put out. I added some vocal harmonies and added some guitars. I kind of finished it on my own and put that out,” Flanagan said. “I put it out on Jan. 1, 2021, and I was like, ‘I’m going to do this every month.’”
Bandcamp Fridays began in 2020 as a way for the music platform to support artists by waiving fees.
All payments acquired on musicians’ material went straight to the artists, and this inspired Flanagan to make new music and release it according to the newly created schedule.
“You’d be surprised at how fast it makes a month fly by if you just have two songs that you need to create and finish from top to bottom.” – Ray Flanagan
Flanagan learned how to record from home throughout the process. He decided to release two tracks at a time by drawing inspiration from 45 records.
These vinyl records have both an A side and B …….