New Life - Michael Harren

It turns out that releasing music as an independent artist is even more challenging during a global pandemic. Who knew?

The months of March and April were especially challenging here in New York City. March started out normally enough, mostly because none of us were paying close enough attention to the beginnings of this pandemic around the world. Suddenly, over the course of one weekend, I started getting notified that my freelance teaching gigs were shutting down one by one, and it no longer felt safe to teach, perform, or even go pick up almond milk at the corner bodega.

I spent those two months mostly stunned and paralyzed. Snacks and movies. . . and guilt.

“Look at all this time you have! You have been begging the universe for this! Why are you being so lazy?”

Eventually I started to inch myself into action. I did a series of quarantine self-portraits for my Patreon subscribers, which seemed like a safe place to start testing the waters of the world again. It was a great way to start sorting out the worry and fear and hopelessness I had been trying to avoid for all that time.

Then I remembered a recording I made during The Animal Album sessions. I brought along the score for an abandoned piece of mine called “New Life” in case there was time left over with the gorgeous string quartet who played on that album. There was, and we did, and then the recording just sort of lanquished on my hard drive for a couple of years.

It was time to take a creative step, and this seemed like a good one. I dusted off the files, and tossed them into Ableton and got to mixing. It was pretty easy to wrap up the mix and send it off to be mastered. The challenge came with the actual release. It turns out that the folks at CD Baby were slammed by throngs of indie musicians like me who had turned to their creativity to cope with the current global shitshow. That rush was compounded by the fact that the staff at CD Baby was affected by the pandemic too.

Anyway, I checked the digital shelves of Spotify and Apple Music occasionally to see if it had been released yet, and finally, weeks after my chosen release date, there it was. Of course, by then it felt like such and anti-climax I didn’t tell anyone.

Until now! I am proud of this track and its history. When I wrote it to perform at the the Tentative Armor Book and Album release show, it was meant to represent a kind of birthing of a new thing coming from a seemingly dark thing. That makes it all the more relevant to this time in our human history, too.

Here are some links to the various places you can find the track online.

Or listen to it right here:

Leave a Reply