COVID-19 restrictions have affected everyone.
Despite the mental and emotional weariness the pandemic has caused for so many, some definite good has come out of it all for the Sault’s Melody Moffatt.
Though still working from home, being away from the traditional workplace and coworkers and spending much more time indoors has led Moffatt to not only rediscover her love for classical piano in her spare time, but to also start writing her own music.
In fact, she has released her first album, entitled In Colour, consisting of original instrumentals.
Five of the album’s six tracks are written by Moffatt, one co-written with Mark De Vuono.
“When the lockdown first started, beginning last year, I started playing piano more than I had in recent years. When the lockdown started, I started playing again and I realized how much I truly loved it. I really discovered that this was my passion,” Moffatt said, speaking to SooToday.
“I started listening to different styles of classical music and I was particularly moved by the work of Ludovico Einaudi. He does a lot of really cool film scores and classical pieces. He’s been a huge inspiration for the music that I write. This was really what inspired me to write my own music.”
“He’s my favourite,” said Moffatt of Einaudi, stating she was especially inspired by his piece entitled Nuvole Bianche (white clouds).
She also listed Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin as other sources of inspiration.
A love for nature plays a prominent role in Moffatt’s compositions.
“I actually just released a song Friday (a single) called Raindrops, and it was inspired by just thinking about rain and the way it makes me feel, the way it looks, the way it sounds, the experience of being out in a rainstorm. There are so many emotional and physical ways you can experience nature and I really would like to be able to continue writing about nature.”
“In Colour was titled after my personal journey with music. I believe music is a language of its own and has allowed me to express myself when words fail me. It’s definitely been an eye opening experience and I feel like I’m seeing the world in a new (colourful) light,” Moffatt said.
Each of the album’s songs has one-word titles, such as Vanish, Yesterday, Burn, Anyway, Run and Hello.
There’s a reason for that, Moffatt said.
“I like to leave things pretty simple, to leave it up to the listener to decide what the song means to them. I think in every song, particularly in classical music where there are no lyrics, we can interpret things in different ways. It allows the listener to decide what they’re envisioning, what it makes them feel.”
Four of the six Moffatt compositions on In Colour are approximately three-and-a-half minutes in length.
“I think because I’m just starting writing they’re shorter rather than long, but I have noticed many of my songs end up at the 3:30 mark and that’s not on purpose, that’s just a coincidence,” Moffatt said with a chuckle.
She spoke of how it feels to release her first album of her own music.
“It’s really cool and exciting, but also a bit scary, because putting myself out there for the first time, you don’t know what to expect. But, it’s very rewarding and I feel really happy I’ve taken steps to create this album because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, to write my own music.”
“I just went ahead and did it and feel great about it.”
Moffatt said feedback to In Colour has been positive.
“Friends, family, coworkers, social media, everyone’s been really supportive.”
Moffatt is a professional multimedia designer, currently employed with Your Neighbourhood Credit Union (YNCU), commonly known to Saultites as Community First.
She is officially based at the credit union’s Bay Street location, but currently working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moffatt said after she rediscovered her love for the piano, she set a goal to start writing her own music by Christmas 2020.
By Christmas, she had finished her song entitled Vanish.
The YouTube video for that song also shows off Moffatt’s skills as a multimedia designer.
“I took a fish tank and put drops of paint into the water and illuminated it with a UV lamp, did it in a dark room and videotaped it. I felt the need to create a video for it because when I play and listen to the music I see something visual in my head, and for that particular song, it was bursts of colour, so I wanted to make something that showed what I was seeing when I’m playing this song.”
On a roll, Moffatt continued writing, finishing the album’s five other songs by the end of January and recorded them, releasing In Colour on Valentine’s Day.
Moffatt, a Bruce Mines native, said she began playing piano at seven years of age.
Taking piano lessons “on and off” throughout her childhood, she learned from various teachers, including some from the Algoma Conservatory of Music.
Moffatt praised the Conservatory for being a huge source of encouragement for her and urged others who wish to pursue music to check into the instruction offered there.
“I tried playing guitar years ago but it didn’t stick with me as piano did. The sound of the piano has always really moved me. When I was a child I would sit down at the piano, and just playing something would make me feel like I wanted to cry, but not in a bad way, but a really, really nice way.”
Moffatt moved to the Sault with her family in her teen years, and, after high school, graduated from Sault College’s Graphic Design program in 2017.
“I find there’s a link between visual art and music. I think they play off each other and they can complement each other. When I look at a piece of art, I can hear music in my head, and it works the other way as well, where I can listen to a piece of music and I can see art in my mind, so I think they both work together very well.”
Whereas many musicians enjoy playing music from different genres, others, like Moffatt, stick with a single form of music they especially enjoy.
“Right now I really enjoy classical. I have dabbled in playing some pop music but my heart definitely lies in classical.”
With the release of In Colour, can the music scene expect more of her work in future?
“Definitely,” Moffatt said without hesitation.
Moffatt’s album In Colour can be found on YouTube, Spotify and Amazon Music.
Classical music lovers who root for local talent can also check out Moffatt’s website.