I hope everyone’s been doing well and staying consistent (as consistent as you can be during these unprecedented times). For this blog, I’d like to write about quarantine and how my relationship with music has blossomed from it. During quarantine, I wrote a lot of music. Now, I’m in the process of recording that music, and hearing it come to life. The most exciting part of all of this is getting MY voice back. I’ll dive into that deeper.
During quarantine, my band, “Happy, Hollow”, broke up. I’m sure we weren’t the only band to break up during this pandemic, so hopefully, some of you find this relatable. To give you a short summary- we as a band ended up in physically different places. We decided it was best to go our separate ways (again- this is the short version). Another thing to note, I loved Happy, Hollow with all my heart, but it was starting to become very hard to write music for the band. I felt like I was losing my voice, and wasn’t able to write the music I wanted to. I was starting to feel like the music wasn’t as authentic as I’d like it to be. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and the music I write is very personal, so authenticity is extremely important to me as a consumer, and as the artist. Anyways, once the band decided to break up, I was in a writing slump. I had been for a while. I’ll touch base on that again later. For now, I’d like to detour into something very sensitive that I feel a lot of female songwriters, and musicians need to hear. Something that I had to overcome from this experience the past year.
I want to start off first by saying- DO NOT ever let anyone tell you your music isn’t good enough, what you have to say isn’t important enough, or even that your music is boring. If someone does say these things to you, whatever you do… DO NOT believe them. It’s a hoax. It’s a lie. It’s a cover-up for their own insecurities. As a woman, some men in this industry get freaked out when they see us do things better than they can because they are so used to seeing themselves as the best. They are threatened when they say these things, that is where those negative words are coming from. This happens a lot. For some women, they stop writing for YEARS because of it. Luckily, I only found it hard to write for a couple of months. There was no freaking way I was going to let negative words coming from someone else’s insecurities stop me from expressing myself.
Now that we’ve touched on that, I’ll get back to my quarantine story. When trying to get out of the creative slump I was in, I reached out to my good friend, Spenser Wilson. I asked him to send me something I could write lyrics over. I wanted to get out of my head, and not worry about chords, or anything other than lyrics and melody. He sent me this great acoustic guitar demo. I wrote and sang a verse and a chorus over it. I sent it back, and we realized we had something cool here! He lives in California and I live in Texas, so we continued to send the session back and forth until we had a finished product. I cannot stress enough, that after just writing ONE verse and chorus, my creativity came flooding back through the gates. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting out of your comfort zone, and out of your own head. The song we ended up writing/recording together was called, “Managing”. This is one of the first songs of my new endeavor simply called, “Virginia Louise”. Spenser is helping me produce a lot of the songs and has always been so good at writing unique guitar and keyboard parts for my music (just wanted to give him a quick shoutout).
Now I have four songs that are all in the process of being recorded right now. I couldn’t be more excited to share these deeply personal songs with the world. They feel like me, and I haven’t written music like this since before Happy, Hollow.
I know this story is pretty personal. I thought about writing something different, but I felt readers would benefit from knowing that it’s okay to be in a creative slump. It’s okay to have things end. It’s okay to be in a completely different place than you thought you’d be because of this freakin’ pandemic! Don’t be too hard on yourself. I definitely am (to a fault). When I start something, I have to finish it or take it to the next level of success (what I wanted to do with Happy, Hollow). What I’ve found though, is that “Happy, Hollow” (as heartbreaking and as big of a decision as it was) breaking up was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I am writing so freely now, and working with people who understand my music. It feels so authentic, and it feels like me. Besides, who wants to put music out there, that is just a facade of who you want people to think you are anyway?
Follow your hearts my fellow sound engineers, and don’t let anyone rain on your parade.
P.S A GREAT podcast I’ve been listening to over quarantine is “Dear Young Rocker” on IHeartRadio. It’s available on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Truly a fantastic, relatable, and funny podcast. Give it a listen!
Virginia Haladyna is a musician, songwriter, performer, and freelance recording engineer based out of Austin, Texas. Upon graduating from The Recording Conservatory of Austin, she went on to intern and work out of the world-class Orb Recording Studios. She has recorded three full-length albums, EPs, and multiple singles for local Austin bands. As well as recording other artists, Virginia records and mixes her band Happy, Hollow. She’s assisted sessions alongside established musicians, producers, and engineers the last five years and plans to continue honing her craft for many more.