Tornadoes and Pandemics: Processing the Past Two Weeks

I’ve built my entire professional life on the foundation of words. Right now, I find myself struggling to find the right ones, to describe what life has been like in Nashville and the world over the past couple of weeks.

On March 3, a series of tornadoes devastated a region that so many of us call home, and which serves as a second home to countless others. Then, as this week progressed, the COVID-19 epidemic that has shattered thousands of lives in other nations around the world appeared well on its way to doing so here.

Proper precautions are beginning to take shape, steadily and with more frequency. Understandably, gatherings of all sizes have been canceled, in hopes of containing the virus, and protecting our society and its most vulnerable members. For those of us in entertainment — particularly, those without “day jobs” or secondary sources of income — that likely means weeks, or perhaps months, without a paycheck. Even those with jobs in the service industry are struggling; some locations are closing altogether, and many of those that remain open are experiencing faint business prospects for as long as the pandemic continues.

We’re hurting, in Nashville and around the world. It feels cheap to even infer that “the show must go on,” when so many shows have been stopped by the sheer will of nature, and many are wondering how to get through the next several months unscathed.

Even so — and even if not physically, at present — our strength lies in our numbers and resolve. We must ensure our neighbors have enough resources, and do what we can to help those without. We must lend each other the support of a listening ear and remember that, for the different ways we all process times like these, we are all experiencing the same events. We must continue creating art, and supporting our peers and loved ones who make it, in any way possible. It can be easy for any of us to lose focus on our creative vision right now; however, this is also a time to create something beautiful, borne of the present turmoil of our shared human experience.

On our end, we want you to know that UMC is here for you. With near-term uncertainty looming, we will continue sharing your music, because our world needs it right now more than ever. We will lend our support to you in any way that we can, as artists and humans. And, we look forward to emerging from these troubled times stronger with you all.

Because we will.

I conclude this note by sharing a song from Our Lady Peace that I hold personally dear. May the hopeful and unifying message of “Innocent” remind us that we have the strength to find the light in whatever darkness we encounter. Please use this as an invitation to share a song that empowers you, as well.

“I remember feeling low.
I remember losing hope.
I remember all the feelings and the day they stopped.

We are all innocent.”

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