A Day in the Life: Social Distancing with Mr. Popular

Quarantine has been taking a really big toll on me without me realizing it. After a few weeks of seeing no one close to me, I had no motivation to do anything at all. I was sick with a cold for the first week of isolation and it took a lot for me to get out of bed, let alone get any work done. I thought I might have the virus but my doctor assured me he didn’t think I did and to just rest.

Once I was a little healthier I started running and developing something of a routine. Unfortunately, this was often thrown off track by random bouts of depression and exhaustion - due in part by the continued isolation. I almost always make music alone for Mr. Pop stuff, so part of this was familiar to me. However, what allows me to work alone almost all day is going out at night afterward and being with friends. Without this paramount option to look forward to, I’m a mess. Thank God I was able to go back to my hometown and spend time with my family because that restored me and filled my love tank enough for me to get through another couple weeks or so.

After being alone constantly with little to no hope of the situation changing anytime soon, I looked for new ways to entertain myself. I saw a Tik Tok where someone pulled a noun from one cup and an adjective from another and drew the outcome. (Ex. Long Legged Baby Yoda). I thought I could do something similar with music by picking an artist and a song topic and voilĂ  - Mr. Pop Song Generator was born.

I definitely have an effective strategy that I’ve been using for them since day one. Once I get the artist and topic of the song in my head I literally just start singing a melody and scratch lyrics right away while recording. Then I build chords and structure around the melody and scratch lyrics until I get a decent hook going. After that, I’ll write the verse and pre and add more production to make it sound professional and expensive. Every now and then I’ll start with chords or drums, but for almost every challenge so far the hooks have essentially come out of thin air within the first few minutes of starting.

It’s worth mentioning that 90% of the challenges are completely authentic in the sense that I have no idea who the wheel is going to land on or the topic of the song. The only one I “rigged” to my knowledge is the Cardi B one because I had lost my voice and was waiting for it to heal.

As fun as the song generator can be, my heart is really in the original music I get to release as Mr. Popular. Quarantine is a frustrating time to release music because you can’t go out and celebrate and you can’t play live shows to promote the release of anything. But in the same breath, no one has ever really been through something like this before and the songs that people listen to and enjoy now will never be forgotten by them. I have an opportunity to make an indelible mark on someone’s life in this season and I don’t want the weight of that to be lost by my petty bitterness regarding quarantine.

The process is certainly different because I don’t really get to see people’s reactions in real time. I can’t have a party and show everyone the new music, but I can still see the online response (which is everything these days anyway). At the end of the day I get to make a living making art and I’m so thankful for that.

I make new music all the time which usually ends up being a few demos a week bare minimum. I’m almost always trying to improve my craft even when there isn’t much to write about. Fortunately I’ve recently become a little more open to stepping out into romance again and allowing myself to be known. There’s often a point in the beginning of a relationship where someone will, in one way or another, give themselves permission to like someone else - to indulge in the butterflies and fantasize about a future with the love interest. For a really long time I didn’t let myself go there because of self preservation; the kind that stops you from getting hurt but also stops you from feeling extensive joy and connection. I’ve decided that feeling a little too much is better than not enough. Slowly but surely my heart is opening up again and it’s terrifying.

Once the social distancing ban is lifted I look forward to hugging people. My main love language is physical touch so I’ve been dying a little inside. I also look forward to seeing where this new interest goes. As insightful as it’s been getting to know someone without touching them a single time, I’m sure physical contact will add a new and exciting dimension. That’s where I’m at and as frustrating as a lot of this can be, there’s still a lot to look forward to.

While practicing social distancing, listen to my latest album, "Flair for the Dramatic":