Every week, we ask a different local artist to provide their unique perspective on the pandemic experience from a musician’s point of view. Through words, video and music, each musician will share their story, along with an audio or video sample of a recent project, and a link to purchase their music so that you can support their work.
This week, Alana Bridgewater talks about the importance of breathing room, caring for family, and finding new opportunities at home and in the community.
"The pandemic has been a true wake up call for me in many ways. While music is my life song, over the last 12 years my focus was theatre. At the beginning of 2020 I started working with this amazing band Digging Roots and started to spend more time making music but when the pandemic hit everything came crashing down. Like many of my artists friends, there was a bit of relief that I could take a breath. I was free from obligations and free from the old adage “the show must go on”. But then the long running shows started to end and the Charlottetown Festival (of which I was to be a part) was cancelled. Theatre was deeply hit and the community was devastated. It was at that moment that I started to feel sad.
The biggest challenge for me was becoming an instant caregiver after my mother fell and fractured her lower spine. Although unfortunate, there was a silver lining. Instead of viewing what happened as something burdensome, I actually turned it into an opportunity to learn more about my mother’s past. Through our conversations, I started to write about her experiences and have since created art through her stories. I was also forced to learn how to record myself for animation, jingles and music. The industry was starting to pivot and if I didn’t learn I would be left behind. I have really enjoyed developing new skills even though I was reluctant at first. I am also learning guitar. It has been a wonderful thing.
When George Floyd was viciously murdered in front of the world, I went into myself and took a break from the shock and awe. In that time I was asked to write a piece called “The Twisted Road” for The Resilience Project, a series of video offerings that looked at how people were living through the pandemic. I was able to combine my poetry and music together to express the outrage. The response was overwhelming and so I went in and recorded the song “Anxiety” that was used in the piece. Out of this, I was asked by Necessary Angel Theatre to come on board as Resident Artist for this year. It will provide an opportunity to continue to write and create while receiving great support and, as a collective, we can continue to find innovative ways to bring art, theatre and music to the masses. The other wonderful thing that has happened is an exerted effort to combat anti-Black racism in institutions. I was asked to sit on the advisory council for the Toronto Blues Society and we are committed to making strides to break down barriers, inspire Black youth to consider blues as a viable musical career option and really build trust in the community. I am also getting to co-host the Maple Blues Awards this year alongside Johnny Max - thrilling because I’m a huge fan and good friend of Dione Taylor who is nominated this year.
Whatever the future holds, I am excited to sing new songs and write new stories and I’m excited to see what music will rise from other artists out of this time."
Support Alana by purchasing her music from Apple Music.