"You won't be hearing any songs about toilet paper shortages or Netflix binge-watching from me, but I've been writing about feelings and situations that I don't think I would have had the opportunity to feel if not for quarantine...."
It was in the cafes and small clubs in downtown Oshawa just five years ago that dream-pop act, Dizzy, began to dream of a life making music; of being in music. It did take some time, but the band toured relentlessly, created and released the critically acclaimed album, ‘Baby Teeth,’ and in 2019 won a Juno Award. For 2020, singer Katie Munshaw and bandmates the Spencer brothers, Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie, were gearing for the launch of a new album, ‘The Sun and her Scorch,’ and a tour to back it all up.
They were touring Europe when they first learned about the COVID-19 virus, but its impact on their lives, career and dreams were yet to be revealed.
“Our last show was in Paris, and there were whispers that everything would be shut down the next day. It was pretty spooky. The next day we hightailed it back to London and booked the soonest flight home we could because we heard Canada was planning to close their border. It was surreal and sad,” Munshaw says.
It was, of course, just the beginning, and as another year begins, the surrealism continues unabated. There is sadness still, but also hope. Creative people forge ahead into the unknown and Dizzy are no exception.
“For me, personally, my 2020 lesson has been in perseverance,” says Munshaw. “There was no way to plan for this year, and I think I just learned to roll with it. Not being able to tour ‘The Sun and Her Scorch’ was heartbreaking, but it’s kind of like, ‘yeah, this hurts, allow yourself a dozen good cries about it and then get on with your life.’ ”
Munshaw says collaborating with other artists has been a silver lining to the cloudy darkness of life on furlough. Writing with others has been something she has wanted to do for some time, and she now has the time to explore it.
Of course, writing for Dizzy has also continued, so much so that yet another album may be ready by the time it is safe to resume life as an international touring band.
And as for song content, life off the road may not be as interesting a subject matter as life on it, but it’s all grist to the mill of the artistic mind.
“Several people have asked me if they think I’ll write about quarantine, and my answer is yes and no,” says Munshaw. “You won’t be hearing any songs about toilet paper shortages or Netflix binge-watching from me, but I’ve been writing about feelings and situations that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to feel or have if not for quarantine. Mourning the loss of a year. Mourning lost time with my family. Aggressive sobbing sessions on long daily dog walks with my best friend. Wishing on every wishbone, 11:11, loose eyelash and birthday candle for things to go back to normal, for a vaccine or to play a show.”
And for 2021, until shows are live again, it is with resolute determination Oshawa’s hometown dreamers will face the oncoming year. They have their resolutions set.
”Write more music we are proud of,” says Munshaw. “Read more. Continue to roll with the punches till we’re all out of this pandemic.”
NOTE: At the time of publishing, Durham Region is in a province-wide shutdown with extensive measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to stay at home with exception to essential trips, wash hands frequently, wear a mask and physically distance from others.
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