“The pandemic has changed my life in a truly amazing way,” explains musician Neil Erickson, who started singing during his childhood in Santa Cruz, performed with his high school choir at Carnegie Hall, and then picked up a guitar a decade ago. “While it has caused such unfortunate turmoil to many across the country, I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue music. If it wasn’t for this pandemic, I wouldn’t be making music right now.”
Prior to the pandemic, Erickson was studying journalism at SBCC and editing The Channels. The Isla Vista resident started playing live shows around that college community just before COVID showed up. “I had never had more joy and bliss in my life,” he said of seeing so many people dance and smile to his sound. Suddenly, with the shutdown, he was distraught.
“I had just gotten my first taste of this, and now it was completely gone,” said Erickson. “I took that energy and passion that I had and eventually learned to channel it into recording music, something I had never done before.”
He’s since spun out four songs, “Missing U,” “The Way You Love Me,” “B Urself,” and “Bittersweet” (with Sam Joseph, out May 28), and is releasing a fifth called “Opposite Directions” with Nick Vaughan in June, which will also come with a video that was shot in April. Erickson is also working “nonstop” with producer Israel Cohen at Sugar Rush Studios in Old Town Goleta, and he hopes to start playing live again soon.
“I understood my potential, and now I’m ready to grab it,” he said of his musical awakening. “If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would still be pursuing journalism at City College and transferring to a four-year in the fall. The pandemic changed the course of my life forever in, I believe, the best way possible.”
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