• Andy Shearer

Day 153 - Beth Malcolm: Musicians In Lockdown

Born and raised in Perth, Beth Malcolm is blessed not only with a great voice but is also a phenomenally talented songwriter. This version of her song Choose My Company, performed with the Glasgow collective Fat-Suit, is fantastic on every single level. Today, Beth tells us a little about how lockdown has affected her creative life.

"These past months have gotten me thinking about the ebb and flow of creativity. For young folk musicians like me, the calendar year dances between periods of excitement and stagnation. I always feel most creative when I’m busy. In the recent months, there have been fewer high octane moments to focus the mind; gigs to practise for; set introductions to write. 


I have heard from many people that they expected to use this time to write that album that needed writing, or pen that play needing penned. In honesty, this spring was one of the longest plateaus of my musical life. With months having passed since I'd played live, and festival gigs cancelled or postponed, I only played my keyboard a handful of times in March. 


And then in late May, I found out that one of my songs won a national competition. I had written it earlier this year in a single evening when I was juggling my teacher training job, singing at the Royal Oak in Edinburgh as often as possible, and generally running on toast. 


And it was like the torch paper had been lit! I couldn't get away from my keyboard! I was searching around for wee scraps of paper to find half-baked songs from a year ago and finishing them off in one joyful afternoon - throwing in a few jazzy 7ths for the giggles. 


Back on the upwards swing. 


Creativity is a curious beast. Performing live is a huge part of musical identity, and I had no idea how important feedback, in any form, is to feeling creative. 


For so many of us, music in some genre, form or tongue, provides the soundtrack to every celebration, and the refuge from the chaos of life and strife. Yet, the future of live music feels uncertain, and it has been an anxiety-ridden few months in the Scottish folk scene. But I know I'll still be chasing the revelry. Whether it be screchin' oot Freedom Come All Ye at 4am over the chitter chatter on College Street, or up on a real stage in front of real humans again. "


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