Best laid plans… what gets me about this whole thing is how arrogant as a species we are.
“We’ll be alright” – ignoring quite apt near-prophetic warnings from George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Gates about a potential global virus.
Life in lockdown hasn’t been too bad for me. I want to say though that in no way am I saying that lightly. I realise that far too many people have died and many more will before we beat it.
I’m writing this from the middle of the 2020 Corona virus pandemic. Getting down my thoughts and feelings from the perspective of someone who hasn’t been effected apart from the lifestyle.
As musicians, we in Alpha Tide haven’t really made much money from our ventures. We are sort of in mildly privileged positions in our living arrangements so we’re not too bad. Like most we’re frustrated that we can’t go out and play: I’ve been uploading videos of ‘Quarantine Covers‘ on YouTube and been involved in an encouraging daily vlog on Instagram.
We had great plans for 2020 in Alpha Tide, sadly they didn’t really include festivals as most seem to have sorted their lineups before even telling us they were open.
Our second album was beckoning us to work on. With us having introduced Insomnia, Ikigai and Chances into our live set, we had begun on two new songs that were very nearly ready. Tom even played new(ish) song ‘Bulletproof’ on the ‘Together at Home’ Instagram gig back in March.
With the frustration of normal life being put on hold, it’s got many people questioning something. As a band who are firstly about our faith, it raises many, many questions.
We do not despair though, and we believe our fear isn’t to be listened to (although honestly sometimes it can be overwhelming). The big question I ask is’do we really want to go back to this world full of assumptions?’
Taking stock and slowing down has become part of the norm for these few weeks. I am also challenging my own assumptions and the main one for me is ‘what is success?’
I’d love Alpha Tide to be the next Coldplay or U2 or Foo Fighters but we’re not really any of those bands and what we offer is different.
We wanted Alpha Tide to be redefining the landscape and on the surface you might say we’ve not made a dent at all. Our listens on Spotify and Apple Music aren’t very high, festivals don’t want to book us and radio stations don’t play our songs.
Let me tell you three stories that have changed my opinion of success.
I know a family where the parents have separated and two teenage daughters were both struggling to deal with their close family splitting apart.
There have been several of us loving them through this heart rending situation. One person told me recently that after a particular hard night, they wanted to listen to Alpha Tide as our music brought them comfort and familiarity while their world turned upside down.
Another (now) friend actually began her own faith journey after seeing us up close and recognising that our integrity on stage reflected us off stage. What we sing about being the reality in our lives.
This has led to healthier relationships; deeper connections with people and a mission to help and support young people.
We’ve gotten to know a few lovely people on our journey in Alpha Tide. One of these friends sadly passed last year. Such a beautiful soul, he messaged me a few weeks after being told he hadn’t long to live to personally say he’d come to faith.
Whether you see eye to eye with what we believe is not the point here. The point is that after taking stock; what is important has greatly changed.
Success to me is now not about playing on big stages (that would be nice though) and it’s not about getting our music ‘out there’ (also would be nice) but about those three stories you’ve read above.
As I started off saying: this virus has caused a lot of us to reassess what’s important. We’re thankful for the technology to communicate but we’d much rather people be in person – and some of us have decided to make a bigger effort when we can get out there (I know I will).
I’d like the world to change: I’d like to see justice ‘flow like a river’ in our country where currently the rich seem to have more benefits than the poor (more on that another time).
My conclusion is this: having the time to reassess is good. Taking a breath and slowing down is good because you know the success I want to see is touching people’s hearts. And THAT is ok with me.