James P. Ni chols
Grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer
My Name is James P. Nichols and I am a Grammy Award winning producer and recording engineer. I have been at this for 50 years and counting.
So, before Covid struck, I was busy. I was booked doing recordings for musical groups like Wynton Marsalis & The Lincoln Center Orchestra, Dizzy”s
Coca Cola Club and basically all of the Jazz at Lincoln Center. I was traveling to New York rather regularly and getting ready to do film scores as well, then COVID hit and all the business went away.
It was almost like two months of just scrambling trying to figure out what to do. Looking for alternative ways to be and to live became the issue. We were booked up until then. Pretty much from January till September or October was the norm. But then around March it all went away. I had to come up with another way to have day to day work, or whatever, working with how the circumstances would from now on look like.
So I ended up working in my space, staying home and putting together recording systems for both my friends and family in Boston, as well as for the people I know, advising people online how to do that for themselves. Early in the year people needed to know how to do that, by THAT I mean, getting online & making music in their own spaces.
So I just became a different type of recording engineer, more home based and information based, as opposed to getting into the car and driving so far to where I needed to go and do what I do. COVID made everything just a different place in a different way. So far this year, by the
end of the year, it’s been really, really good for me.
I’ve gotten financial help through various means. So a lot of folks that I advised on what equipment to get, or how to put their world together or how to rethink their position, actually got stimulus money to actually put that in place too.
You know, that all took place maybe by August/ September, the rest of that money finally came through. And now we’re looking at another hopeful wave of some stabilizing cash so folks can continue with their lives. And, we’re learning how to live this way. Not a bad way to be. It’s going to be very different for as long as COVID exists. I’m just hoping that we’re able to make use of the time and opportunities that COVID has given us, the living. I hope we’re ready because of the lockdown, we haven’t really experienced it fully.
And then in 2021 they’ll approach the lockdown in a much more sane & serious way. And hopefully, by then, we’ll understand what our capabilities are, what our future could be without having to literally be in the house. Like you’ll actually work and contribute to our world and not have to do it the way we did it before. I’d get up at six and get in the car and drive to wherever by 9:30 and work until 5,6,7 or whatever, and then come back home exhausted. I spent an awful lot of time just traveling.
I’m currently 68 years old and to have this kind of freedom, at this time in my life, it’s really, really interesting. If I were younger, I would… I don’t know how I would deal with it because I was very career oriented. And then being able to be you know, past retirement age and still end up having a career is nice. But to be able to not have to leave the house is evil good. It’s kind of, it’s kind of nice!
It’s kind of nice not to have to deal with the normal flow. It’s fun to be able to contribute and not have to leave the house and deal with the normal flow.