When first given the assignment, I spent a few good weeks thinking about what I might want to write about. I ultimately decided on how COVID-19 has impacted the live music industry in Utah. I wanted to choose something that I was interested in, and as a musician, I was very curious to find out how local music venues and musicians are doing during this pandemic.
To find sources for my story, I did some research on local venues and read every article I could find about the live music industry written within the last year. Some venues were already featured in news stories, like The State Room in Salt Lake City, and Velour in Provo. These articles sounded similar to one another because music venues are facing similar hardships.
I decided to broaden my scope by reaching out to a local musician, Jordan Saucier, whom I discovered via Instagram and a mutual friend. I also contacted the owner of Keys on Main, which isn’t just a place that holds live performances by local musicians, but a bar as well. My third source was the founder of a nonprofit based in Salt Lake City called Excellence in The Community, which was recommended to me by my professor.
The people I interviewed were great resources for my story. They all were directly affected by the pandemic and because of social distancing mandates, lost a lot of their income. They had to adjust in order to stay afloat while everything was shut down. Additionally, they are members of our community and their struggles should be heard.
I ran into a few obstacles while working with my sources. Some of the people I originally reached out to never responded to my inquiries. One person even scheduled a Skype meeting with me but kept canceling at the last minute. Because I had a deadline, I had to scramble to find another good source.
After speaking with my three sources, I had more than enough information on each of them to write a story. It was difficult to decide what was important for my focus and what was unnecessary information. I even felt a little bad about not putting certain thoughts into the finished story because I learned so many cool things, but not all of it was relevant to the focus of my story.
The actual writing of the story went well. It was hard to figure out what sort of lead would be the most effective, but once that was done, the rest of the story came easily. After the first draft, I had to edit most of it, but it turned out well-focused and readable. I learned that writing comes easily to me, but I have a few habits that aren’t great for news writing, and I will need to refer back to the AP Stylebook to help me.
I felt that Jeff Whiteley, the founder of Excellence in The Community, had a lot of interesting things to say about the organization that I unfortunately could not made work with the focus of my story. The reason for why he started the nonprofit is inspiring, and I think I would like to write a separate piece about the organization and what they are doing to help Utah musicians and the local community.
If I could only use one word to describe myself, it would be the word “creative.”
I am a musician. I’ve been singing all my life and it is my absolute favorite thing to do. I used to be in musicals and piano lessons when I was young, but once I started guitar lessons at the age of 14, I fell in love with the instrument and grew even closer to music. By 15, I was teaching guitar lessons in an after-school program. I didn’t think I was anywhere near qualified enough to teach, but it ultimately helped me become a better guitar student.
After graduating high school in 2016, I started teaching guitar and voice lessons at the studio I took lessons from for six years. I currently have 50 students that I see every week, and I have come to love teaching almost as much as I love making playlists.
I will be releasing my first single this year. It’s amazing to see a song I wrote for fun one day turn into a professionally produced single, and I’m very excited about it. I hope releasing this song leads me to more opportunities in the music industry.