We’re living in strange times, faced with many uncertainties. As we all are experiencing lockdown differently, I decided to create a project where I’d reach out to my friends and people I know from both university and the music industry and ask how they’re doing during these times. The project title is  “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” and has 2 parts.

As you’ll see and read in part 1 of the article, as much as we’re in this together, we’re experiencing this period differently. To begin, however, I’d like to start by sharing my story, my experience as a final year Film and Photography student Raghad Jalal in lockdown.

‘I get by with a little help from my friends’ is a collaborative blog created and organised by Raghad Tmumen. (@rtmumen1)

Raghad Jalal- Final Year Student
Richmond The American International University London

“This lockdown has been in a way a blessing in disguise yet a challenge. As a Film and Photography student with a deep passion and interest in working in the music industry things still look uncertain. However, what has kept me sane during all, is being at home with my family and spending time outside in the garden enjoying the sunshine, while getting back in the kitchen again and practising new recipes while mastering old ones. Though it isn’t all dandy. There were days where it was hard to get out of bed and find motivation in what I was doing. Whether it was writing about music, editing or just doing anything. However, I continued to brush off the negativity and bit by bit I slowly got back in the groove while allowing myself time and taking things slow.

Other than that, I organized live streams on Country in The UK [Live From The Couch] online video sessions [Live in The Studio-ish] while continuing writing articles. In the meantime, at the end of April, I began volunteering with NGO Libya in The UK remotely. As a Libyan, volunteering alongside the organization enabled me to get more in touch with my culture and learn more about my own country and its traditions. Now, I create cooking tutorials with the organization by cooking some of our traditional meals to share on the organization website. Other things I’m currently doing is catching up on some readings.

Right now, I’m re-reading Holly Gleason’s Woman Walk The Line. Which consists of amazing essays written by talented female musicians, writers and journalists talking about important female voices in the world of Country and Americana music. Other than that, I’ve been using my time to capture moments of my day to day life with a B/W camera I borrowed from my university right before lockdown. Aside from all this, my friends have been a huge part in keeping my sanity too. So, if you managed to get this far! I hope you’ll enjoy the following stories from my friends.”

My work: www.countryintheuk.com


Julian Baet- Employed
Richmond The American International University London Alumni

“I feel upset with the world, but not in a way where I constantly complain and actively get angry. Being upset has become a consistent state of mind, continually getting worse with news stories, stresses at work, and personal obstacles. Except when I’m playing Animal Crossing. The centre of my quarantine tales, I’ve been playing this game during my free time every day since March. When I get to play city planner, catch bugs with friends, and meet others during trades, I forget any ounce of anger or disdain. The world inside my handheld switch is my quarantine sanctuary.”

Julian’s work: julianbaet.wordpress.com


Emily Hackett- Musician

“I have been reading more than ever. I love waking up and grabbing my book before I do anything. The natural light in my house is great for reading in the morning. Finally, at last, I had the time to start a vegetable garden. I had always admired people who had them and brought us veggies. It’s been so rewarding to watch these living things give back to us. Yes, the bed has been a place where we have spent more hours than we used to! Getting a solid 8 or more hours sleep is life-changing. Plus, we have a California King size bed, so why wouldn’t we want to have a lie in?!”

Emily’s work: emilyhackett.com


Kaan Cakanisik- Recent Graduate
Richmond The American International University London

“Although it may take time for things to revert to a sense of “normality”, I hope and believe that this situation will lead to positive change in terms of resilience and adapting to more varied work patterns. Hopefully, employers will make further efforts to prioritise employee wellbeing, and in turn, productivity to a greater extent than before. As a recent university graduate striving to form a prosperous career in film, any job, internship and travel prospects I had were made dormant for the last four months, and no one really knows what the future holds. It has been a time where I have been left to my own devices more than before. However, it has also compelled me, and hopefully, many more to realise the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the effort that they put in on the things day by day.”

Kaan’s work: kaancakanisik.wixsite.com


Baylen Leonard- Radio Presenter

“Like everyone, I’ve found this whole period to be a bit of a rollercoaster but I’ve kinda settled into it now. I love being able to do my radio shows from home and I think in some ways it’s helped me form a better connection with listeners since most everyone was working from home initially. Regardless of whether I’ve had a good day or bad day, it’s always made better when my cat Charlene has a nap on my chest. It’s my ultimate mood booster.”

Baylen Leonard’s Radio show: planetradio.co.uk/country-hits/


Jim Lauderdale- Musician

“Usually, I’m on the road a lot and working on a new record and so without doing that, this downtime has made me realise how exhausted I have been for many years.

Since off the road I’m able to be more diligent with my daily physical exercise. The main part of this is my Tai Chi, and Chi Kung practise while doing some walking and yoga, it has allowed me to get in a better place and helped me get through this period.

Like everybody else, I don’t know what the future will be like for playing live. I have gone into a semi-musical hibernation period and I’m enjoying and rediscovering music from my past and hearing new music from other artists which have been inspiring. Over the last few weeks, songs melodies are coming to me again and I am writing in a different way without the self-imposed pressure that I usually put on myself. As introspective as things can be it is also making me realise the importance of getting outside of yourself. I just hope that we as an international human race we’ll get through this and that through this difficult period we will somehow work together to make this world better. That is a small ray of hope that I hold on to.”

Jim Lauderdale’s work: www.jimlauderdalemusic.com