Kirsten Cohen Photography July 9th, 2020

Today marks the second installment of this photo series. My goal with this series is to help our amazing local musicians in some small way, and bring some awareness to what they are doing during these crazy times.

Our music community in Colorado has impacted in numerous ways by the current pandemic. Colorado Music Relief Fund is providing relief for artists until August 1st.  Check out their website and please consider donating! I love what their website says about how important it is to support live music in Colorado:

“Live music is central to Colorado’s culture.Our musicians, their crews, and our venues are iconic and beloved across the world. Music is a force in the experience economy; attracting tourists, new residents, and business leaders to the culture of Colorado in good times. In times of hardship music is our salve. In this pandemic, everyone is hurting. The economic and fiscal impacts on Colorado’s rich music industry resulting from COVID-19 are already significant. Music employs over 16,000 Coloradans and generates 1.5 billion dollars annually and the vast majority of that revenue relies on public gatherings. These activities are unlikely to return to ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future. The music industry will not be back to work for perhaps a year or longer. Whether it is navigating unemployment, small business loans, or other quickly disappearing relief funds, the music industry is not getting the lifeline it so desperately needs.”

Today I am featuring Jonah Wisneski – a good friend and a fixture in the Denver music scene. We chatted while I took few photos on his back porch in Denver where he practices daily. Read below for a few experts of our chat.

Kirsten: Jonah, tell me a little bit about what has been the most challenging, as well as any positives about the pandemic for you as a musician.

Jonah: Having spent the last 11+ years as a full time, professional musician, I’ve lost my entire livelihood as a result of the pandemic. I always knew music was more than just a “job”, but I’m not sure I fully realized how much being a musician provides in my life. Besides being my income, it provides my emotional outlet, my creative outlet, my social outlet, and it drives me in life, taking up the bulk of my time. It makes up one of the largest pieces of what makes me, “me”, and going from performing 3-4 times a week (while rehearsing/recording/practicing during the rest of it), to suddenly being stuck at home, has been a MASSIVE adjustment. It’s been tougher than I expected, and I’m still learning to navigate it…

On a positive note, this “pause” in my schedule has given me some time to look at who I am as a musician. I’ve spent the majority of my career performing in other people’s bands, which has been incredibly rewarding and a great learning experience, but it has given me less time for my own band and creative outlet, OTHER WORLDS. While I am thankful to work with others (and will continue to do so), I am also a songwriter and have often wanted to focus on my own voice. This time at home has given me a chance to ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” and, “What is important to me in this process?”. It’s further allowed me to recognize my own need to develop who I am as an artist, and given me time to finish some older songs, as well as write some new ones. I’ve also been using this time to practice considerably. I’ve been spending hours a day practicing guitar, specifically, learning how to play bottleneck slide guitar. I’ve been recording at home, learning to use and familiarize myself with ProTools more, by tracking guitar for others, and making demos of my own songs. It’s important to me to take advantage of this time, but I also recognize the importance of a break, so I am hoping to find a balance between the two, in a way that will help me continue on this path for next chapter of my career.
IG: @these_goto11