Rachel Lightbody

My name is Rachel Lightbody and I am a vocalist based in Glasgow, Scotland. Before lockdown was our reality, I was performing regularly with various bands, either as a backing or lead vocalist, as well as a busy music teacher. I had a very exciting start to the year with various projects, and was looking forward to continuing that throughout the rest of 2020. I love being asked to guest on different projects as it keeps me creative and on my toes. Glasgow has such a beautifully creative scene which inspires a lot of collaboration. Some of the projects I have been lucky to be a part of are Start to End, Mezcla, The Elusive Tree Ensemble and The Glasgow Percussion Ensemble. As well as this my vocal trio, Little Acres, had just started a year long recording project to collaborate with various Scottish songwriters as well as work towards our own EP. The year ahead was looking very exciting.

When the news hit that we were going into lockdown, my first initial thought was, how was I going to keep work going. I knew that things were going to be difficult, but it was just another opportunity to be creative. As someone who travels with pen and notepad, the idea of taking everything online was daunting, however necessary. I have to say, I was a quick learner when it came to setting up all my teaching online. It also felt like everyone in the community was helping each other out in whatever way they could. Very quickly, the entire music scene was online, with regular live streams and mini online festivals available daily. The need to create and connect with other humans was so important at that time in order to have a sense of normality, and there was a huge audience at home needing this also.

It took a couple of weeks to really start to appreciate the forced slowing down of the ‘routine’.  Normally I am running about from gig to gig or driving around different teaching projects, squeezing in a coffee somewhere in between. Looking back, I’m not sure how I sustained that lifestyle, however it just felt normal to me. Upon reflection, the last couple of weeks has allowed me to slow right down and focus my attention on some of my own writing. This is something I have been wanting to do for many years, however I have never found the time or given myself the space. In order to create anything, you have to have ‘experiences’, read stories, and then form your own thoughts and opinions round those ideas. During lockdown I have been given the chance to do a lot more walking/cycling around Glasgow which has helped in my creative process. Writing is such a beautiful and time consuming process, that without these last couple of weeks, I don’t know if I would have ever been able to focus on it.

One definite obstacle of lockdown which I am still trying to overcome, is the idea of time. Being able to be disciplined with yourself in order to shape your working day successfully. This is something that all self employed people will understand and come up against at some point in their career. However, as the creative sector is living in a slight limbo at the moment, the idea of time has taken on a different meaning and could seem even more mysterious. I have found that working in small chucks of time has helped my mind stay focused and productive. As there isn’t anything to rush out to, exploring this way of working has really helped me regain a sense of control over my workload, stress and will be something I continue for the long run.

For anyone who is starting out in their career in the creative sector, I would encourage you to try and connect with the scene and the people and places involved in your area of interest. As soon as you dip your toe in the ocean, you will quickly find yourself getting involved and inspired by what is around you. By talking with like minded people, you will learn the ropes and begin to harness your confidence to create your own career. There isn’t any blueprint for working in this industry. The confidence to just try out new things and get involved with various experiences will allow yourself to flourish.


Rachel Lightbody



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