Quarantine hasn’t been easy for many, and it would have been even more difficult without music from our favorite artists on repeat. While many musicians were unable to have live performances or fan gatherings for months at a time, quite a few artists were working hard on new music while in isolation, taking inspiration from the current state of the world and spreading messages of joy, frustration, hope, fear, and love.
Artists such as OneRepublic, Pitbull, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and others released new music during quarantine, using the concepts of being together in spirit and staying strong throughout isolation in their lyrics. Alec Benjamin, a fairly up-and-coming recording artist, released a song titled “Six Feet Apart” referencing the social distancing guidelines that everyone is advised to follow in order to keep people as safe as possible. The lyrics of the song showcase the loneliness that comes with quarantine and isolation like in the opening lines, “they say distance is relative, and relative to relatives I have, I’d say I’m relatively close to breaking down because right now I feel so alone.”
Despite the loneliness that Benjamin reflects through “Six Feet Apart,” artists like Grande and Bieber focus on the love that can be shared with people who had to spend more time at home with each other as people worked remotely and were encouraged to stay home as much as possible.
Their song, “Stuck With U,” references the isolated state of the country while focusing on the relationships that grew between people in the same household through lyrics like “there’s nowhere we need to be, no, no, no. I’ma get to know you better. Kinda hope we’re here forever. There’s nobody on these streets. If you told me that the world’s endin’, ain’t no other way that I can spend it.”
The song hit number one on the Billboard charts soon after its release, showing how much people wanted and related to new music that expressed how they felt during this time.
Both of the music videos for “Six Feet Apart” and “Stuck With U” were filmed at home by the artists and participants, further encouraging people to social distance and showing that there is a community surrounding music and art even if they can’t gather together physically.
At the Video Music Awards this year, the video for “Stuck With U” won an award in a brand new category: Best Music Video From Home. More new categories were added to the awards show as well in order to honor the best quarantine performances as well as to honor frontline medical workers for their dedication, hard work, and sacrifice in the midst of the pandemic. The “Stuck With U” video itself features cameos from celebrities besides Grande and Bieber such as Demi Lovato, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Steph and Ayesha Curry, and more.
All proceeds from the “Stuck With U” streams and downloads went to the First Responder’s Children’s
Foundation which helps children of frontline workers by funding scholarships for them.
Pitbull also took part in raising money for charity with his new song titled “I Believe That We Will Win,” promising to donate all of the proceeds to The Tony Robbins Foundation, which has different programs that benefit those in poverty, in prison, the elderly, as well as children, and Feeding America, which aims to stop hunger through food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters.
Overall, the music released during quarantine served to bring people closer together in a time when we were all kept apart by distance. Artists were able to create music that represented how many were feeling and raise money to help those in need who were affected by the pandemic, showing that we really are all in this together and can make a change through art and song.
Sources: Nielson Music/ MRC Data