It’s crazy to think that only a year ago, it was looking like a promising year for Chicago music culture. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events labeled 2020 as the “Year of Chicago Music” in late 2019, NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago was amazing, and there were a lot of concerts and festivals planned for the summer. It’s crazy to think that was only a year ago, in-person events were still allowed, and no one was wearing a mask yet. The pandemic emerged in March and it put a severe halt in creative plans, to say the least. It’s been a year since all that has happened and a lot has changed. I sat down with 6D Co-Founder and CEO, Shaunda Brooks-Green, who had some words to say about the changes we had to make during the last year and how we can move forward.
“This time last year, we were all very hopeful, looking forward to the new decade as a whole and what it might bring, ESPECIALLY working in music and events. A few notable events at the beginning of the year like Classick Studios’ “Kilpatrick House” event with Smino, BET’s “Twenties” launch party, and All Star Weekend made me think 2020 was going to be the best year until the pandemic hit,” she said.
A new year always brings new goals and resolutions anyways. We all were awaiting a fresh start, especially with the new decade. But alot of our plans came to a halt.
“We were really forced to sit down, re-evaluate who we are and what we represent in this industry, and restructure how we do things.”
Sometimes taking a step back is a good thing. Many people took advantage of this time to regroup and restructure their goals, which led to a lot of dope content and projects. What once felt like a major roadblock, actually opened the door for more innovation.
“I’d like to think people have gotten a lot more creative when it comes to releasing new music, projects, and events. It’s not easy with everything being virtual but we’ve made it work this far and continue to find more ways to be innovative in the new year”.
People have definitely gotten more creative when it comes to releasing new projects, utilizing digital platforms to better their businesses and brands. I know the pandemic has really made me take a look inward to better myself and think outside the box when it comes to executing ideas.
“Self-improvement is key. You can still be your best self and do the things you love, even with added restrictions for safety. We have learned and utilized new skill sets that can be applicable to anything for years to come, even when outside opens back up.”
Even though it’s been rough, I believe that this year has proven that our determination is unbreakable and forced us to explore different things remotely. We will always look forward to when things get back to normal, but we will definitely be completely different people when they do.
- Written by Zach Fulcher
Written by Zach Fulcher
It’s been a weird year for entertainment. Coronavirus hit us pretty hard and left a lot of artists wondering what they should do when dropping new music in the pandemic. Standard outlets like concerts and music festivals have been out of the picture, but hasn’t stopped new artists like Jack Harlow, Roddy Ricch, Pop Smoke (RIP), and King Von (RIP) from skyrocketing to popularity. What this means for the future of music is that we will continue to see artists emerge mostly from streaming platforms and social media, since digital is the primary source of music consumption.
Many celebrities have taken to Instagram Live because they are bored just like us. They have used the platform to talk about the proper precautions against COVID-19. There has also been a surge in live stream performances by artists on Instagram Live, Twitch, and even Zoom. In November, Gucci Mane and Jeezy battled on VERZUZ and drew 1.8 million people. Drake and Torey Lanez also broke records with “Quarantine Radio'' back in March.
Since it might be awhile before we see a return to in-person concerts, live concerts on platforms like Instagram Live might be the new norm we have to accept. Experts are unsure if concerts will ever be able to return to what they once were and even if they do return, it is very unlikely we see a return to large crowds in the next couple of years. That totally depends on how we will continue to handle it as a nation and what happens with the rollout of the vaccine.
During quarantine, many people have tried to find ways to ease their boredom, i.e spending countless hours on apps such as TikTok, Spotify, Apple Music, and Netflix. TikTok has become wildly popular over the last two years and especially during the pandemic. TikTok allows users to make videos with an open music library, and a lot of the popular tracks this year have garnered massive streams on all the major DSPs. For example, a TikTok user named 420doggface208, had a massively popular TikTok of him riding on his skateboard, drinking cranberry juice, with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” playing. The TikTok video helped catapult the single back into the charts, and Fleetwood Mac experienced it’s best week ever on streaming platforms. This year, TikTok revealed its users in the United States have gone from 11 million in 2018, to 100 million in June 2020. It is more important than ever to create a TikTok to make your brand more popular.
The case is the same for movie theaters as well. Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have had the upper hand for a while over companies like AMC, but the excitement of going out to see a new movie in a crowded theater with friends is still there. Now, theaters are closed or in limited capacity and it seems that the fates are sealed. Warner Bros. has already announced that it will release its 2021 movies in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service. For now, all people can do is upgrade their televisions at home and buy more streaming services, this may be the ultimate future even if things start to go back to normal.
What do you think? Comment below if you prefer the digital age of entertainment over being in-person.
By Zach Fulcher
Well, Chicago is shut down again. We lose more freedom because some people can’t do the right thing and wear a mask. Another shutdown is going to be tough, especially during the holidays when we should be celebrating with our friends and family. There really is no end to the torture of 2020, but at least we’ve made it this far. One of the ways I’ve been taking care of myself during the pandemic has been online shopping.
We’ve enhanced our style and expanded our brand at 6D (see blog post from May about finding your style and budget). With most music studios closing, we like to share some of the best deals out there for music equipment that are both affordable and necessary for you to create at home. All of these suggestions are for online shopping.
First, look at Guitar Center’s website. Guitar Center has been struggling with the pandemic and the company is filing for bankruptcy. Guitar Center has an entire page on its website dedicated to the best daily deals on guitars, pro audio, drums, accessories, and more. They promote a deal each day and there is also a 15% discount off your total purchase if it exceeds $199.
Most companies have Black Friday deals and some even have early deals right now. This website can keep you up-to-date on how many stores offer deals and which stores offer the best deals. Right now, Sweetwater is offering up to 60% off in early deals. Amazon always has great deals and has the widest selection of equipment, but if you’re looking for something more local than Amazon or Guitar Center, I would suggest Chicago Music Exchange. Chicago Music Exchange keeps a fresh selection of equipment and is offering a chance to win equipment in a big giveaway.
Getting the best deals right now during the pandemic and Black Friday can be a massive improvement for your brand and your career.
Take care and continue to support each other!
Want to win a chance to perform at Mini Windy (Fest), Windy Fest 2021, and a ton of other prizes? Enter our JAM at Windy Fest contest on the Windy Fest Instagram page!
We’re choosing 2 winners to win the following:
- a performance slot at Windy Fest 2021
- complimentary 2-hour recording session at Insomniac Studios
- 1-on-1 coaching session with a music industry professional at @whozthebossmusic
- live interview and music played on 6D Radio, powered by Que4 Radio
- performance slot at Mini Windy (Fest) next month
- live interview and music played on 6D Radio, powered by Que4 Radio
Follow ALL the Contest Rules listed on the graphic for your entry to count. HURRY! You must do everything by Wednesday, 9/30‼️ We can’t wait to see your entries✨
What does J. Cole, DJ Khaled/Drake, and Joey Bada$$ all have in common? They all realized that the pandemic has our attention spans in disarray and in order to get us to focus, they have to spoon-feed us their new tracks. EPs have always been a thing in between bigger album announcements, but lately artists have been releasing 2-3 song packs to give us a taste of what's to come and keep us entertained while we social distance.
This is a great approach to releasing music as an independent artist right now while funds are low, creative juices are flowing, and you want to keep your audience tuned in to what you are working on. Don't let your art and strategy cease because the world is on pause. You can also still be creative with your marketing rollout for your smaller drops as you would an album or mixtape:
- Give your 2-3 pack of singles a title of it's own, depending on the mood of the music
- Release each pack of singles in chapters, based on things you've felt or experienced during the pandemic
- Get custom cover art made for the song pack, instead of each individual track to save cash
- Record a video for one of the singles or mashup of all of them
- Host a virtual streaming party for the release
These are just a few examples of how you can get innovative with sharing your new tunes with the world. Social media is a powerful tool but make sure you are thinking beyond posting on your timeline when considering dropping new music. There's a wealth of new content out there, how do you make yours stand out?
The year 2020 has gotten off to a rough and patchy start. Ever since Future and Drake’s “Life Is Good” track was released, ironically… life has been the opposite. Specifically zeroing on POC, we have endured harder times decades and centuries before this and at the moment, it seems as if history is once again repeating itself in the sense of trauma. From unarmed black brothers and sisters in the streets dying at the hands of cops, pandemics hitting our communities 10x harder than our white counterparts and racists blatantly making themselves known with no consequences; WE ARE SUFFERING!
Now more than ever, we are living and growing as a generation of activists who are ready and willing to stand up in our truths and bring these issues to light one way or another. But while we are showing our feelings of hurt and anger on the picket lines, figuratively and physically, our body is slowly taking the effects of our efforts. Being a young black millennial woman myself, I have experienced firsthand effects of trauma and the deterioration of my body while advocating for not only myself, but my clients for almost a decade. The effects are noticeable. Details can sometimes be gruesome. But being a social worker has allowed me the opportunity to understand what I should and need to do in efforts to live a mentally and physically healthier life in a world that just does not value black lives; my life.
Briefly, I will give the clinical definitions of trauma. I then will share some self care tips that I have learned and techniques I have used with vulnerable populations I’ve worked with. At the end of this post, I hope that you:
The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) that is primarily used by clinicians and researchers define trauma as “the response someone has to an extremely negative event; with effects so severe that they interfere with a client's ability to live life.” Unlike stressful events, when traumatization occurs, you are unable to utilize your fight, flight, or freeze responses effectively because your state of equilibrium can not be returned to. I know as you read that definition a specific event came to mind; maybe even multiple. Breonna Taylor, Trayon Martin, Rodney King, the crack epidemic, slavery and the list goes on. But everytime something infects our community, we are affected and internalize the madness that ensues. Here are some ways I have learned to combat those feelings of distress and trauma while going through rough feels.
Find a healthy outlet
Many of us have hobbies that we enjoy and at times do not want them to become tainted or associated with just a response to dealing with trauma. So figure out something else you can be entertained with that will keep your hands and mind at work. Keeping a healthy distraction can keep you from being destructive to yourself, others or the community. When I realize I need a mental break from the outside world, I have three main activities I turn to: cooking, working out and traveling. But some additional hobbies I have picked up during trying times such as the ones we are currently living are reading, learning to build an in-home garden, music, dancing and yoga. Some of the best art, music, poetry, photography, literature is created during difficult times.
Keep a supportive circle
Friends and family can be some of the best people to talk to about how you are feeling. Sometimes, they are not an option. This is the time to identify those you know will positively support you. Once you identify those individuals, be considerate before you lay everything on the table. Ask them if they are okay mentally to speak to you about what you are experiencing and if you can have a talk. You all have heard the saying “your strongest friend can be going through the most” and “check on your strong friend”... these are facts! Make sure that you are prepared to effectively respond to this support if they too want to vent. Even just being in the same vicinity with positive energy can be all the healing you need.
If you are an advocator and you do it well without causing yourself or others harm, do that. Some people are natural born educators and live to speak up for vulnerable communities. Find a platform that fits you. Someone will see and hear your message loud and clear. Your message will hit an audience that will encourage others to stand up and take action as well. Being creatives in one of the most advanced generations gives us unlimited outlets and platforms to let our voices be heard.
Now I know some people are saying “Girl...we can’t travel during times like these!” Yes, you all actually can. Sometimes removing yourself from the exact place that triggers you is the best option. Some people have the privilege to hop on a plane and go to paradise while others take a quick 2hr road trip to Milwaukee over the weekend. Leaving the place or environment that is triggering you may be your only means of support at times and I myself am a full advocate, as long as you are not neglecting psychological or safety needs. Take that trip, clear your mind, come back refreshed! Experiencing a new community can open up your eyes and mind to new ideas and mindsets to living a healthier life.
Just as you cleanse your body of toxins when you want to go on a diet and look good for Summertime Chi, cleanse your mind of toxins. Sometimes all you need is to cleanse yourself of social media, bad vibes, and negative people. If you are self aware and know for a fact that seeing Karen's act like Karen’s raises your blood pressure, hop off of social media and engage in one of the other self care tips I previously mentioned. If your friend Marcus has REALLY been doing and saying some outlandish comments...CUT HIM OFF! Having a friend you know is toxic is like dealing with an uninvited guest at an invitation only event. Bye Felicia, you gotta go. You do not have to be present on social media knowing that without a doubt, you are going to internalize every post down your timeline and become triggered. Cleanse yourself of these things and when you feel as though you are of sound mind and heart to address it, then return.
Seek clinical or professional help
When all else fails! More and more in these times I see my black and brown counterparts seeking refuge or support in mental health clinicians although most of us grew up being told that going to church was the only way to seek help and healing. Recognizing that you need professional help is the literal first step that it takes to change. There is a reason that mental health clinicians exist and right now is a perfect example of why they should be used. And get this, they are typically covered by your insurance! Research therapist in your area that you would want to speak with and learn more about what they specialize in. Most times therapist profiles are easily accessible online, affording you the opportunity to learn about a therapist before you set your first appointment. Alternatively, telehealth spaces such as Talk Space are available where you can contact a therapist at any times of the day, depending on the subscription you have. But mind you, all therapists are not alike and some can be outright unprofessional in practice. If you find a therapist that works for you, stick with them; the longer you are with them, the more they learn about what you have experienced throughout your life and can suggest ways of working to cope. If you happen to find a therapist that is not your cup of tea, you can always find another one. You are the expert in your own life and know what you need in order to begin healing. Note: just because you are a POC, does not mean because you find a mental health clinician of color they will be a good therapist. Use your own discretion. There are too many instances where I have been treated like a part of the family rather than caseworker. Set and keep your boundaries professional!
At this point in time, taking care of yourself is your main priority. Being connected to the world is necessary but not at the cost of your health. To minimize the negative impact for future generations we are raising, we must start today. By sharing knowledge and understanding we can assist with guarding and healing our temples as POC and pass on healthy habits to the ones that come after us.
A. Pointer, MSW
Follow her on IG: @aunty.lishia
As we’re all remaining hopeful that’ll we’ll soon be returning to civilization, now could make a good time to update our closets and prepare for upcoming appearances, photo shoots and performances. We’ve created a 4-Step Guide to stay fly during this pandemic and not go broke at the same time.
1. Discover Your Personal Style
By first answering the following questions you’ll able to better grab a handle on who you are as an artist and what vibe you’d like to create.
3. Utilize Your Resources
Now that we’ve figured out who we’d like to show our audience we are; let’s get creative and use what we have around us to pull off our looks! The first resource to take advantage of is our pre-existing closet. Take a glance through your closet and see what pieces you already have go along with your “vibe”. Whether the color is right, the pattern is dope or the fit is a hit; pull those items out. Now, let’s challenge ourselves! Use your “Inspo” board to create new looks with old items. There are three ways I like to pull this off: layer, repurpose and flip.
4. Think Outside the Box
It’s cool to follow fashion trends and be privy to what’s hot right now, but let’s find staple pieces that can stand the test of times. Every now and again, it’s great to buy pieces relevant to the current fashion climate; however, finding pieces that you can wear years down the line if you’d like might be a little better. The way to achieve this is by answering these few questions before purchasing:
We are in day one million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and twenty-five of social distancing. Not really, it’s probably only been about two months, but it’s still starting to take a toll on many of us. Understandable. Insecure is only 30 minutes long, and you’ve completed the shot-for-shot challenge over 20 times already. As a creative, we often need inspiration to produce our art. And, in these times, it may seem impossible to find. So instead of pounding our heads into the wall and praying for monumental creative thoughts to flow; maybe let’s switch gears. Now’s the time to nurture what’s already there until new ideas sprout. Whether it’s a project you’ve already dropped but didn’t have the time to really promote because life was happening, or it’s some dope work you’ve kept locked away in the vaults; now is the time to water those flowers and watch them bloom!
We’ve dropped a few gems below to help increase productivity and further your brand, while you have the free time. Literally, the whole world is on pause; take advantage!
Last week, our founders hosted a "Creating while Quarantined" virtual workshop via Instagram Live, where they gave tips and tricks on how to stay creative during this difficult time. As promised, our team has come up with a list of local and national resources we discovered for artists and creatives. This include grants, free books, discounted services, and more. See our full list below:
Arts for Illinois Relief Fund
FREE Resources for Creatives, Influencers, and Entrepreneurs
FREE Virtual Workshops via Center for Creative Entrepreneurship in Chicago
Musician Emergency Response Program
Emergency Funding for creatives
Complimentary book - "Artist Management & Marketing: A Beginners Guide"
BeatStars Online Summit (FREE)
#PashFam Free Community Resource Bank
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We are excited to launching our official site! Stay tuned for event announcements, industry tips, and so much more about the emerging local music community in Chicago. Follow us on Instagram for more updates as well.
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