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How this musician’s pandemic projects became an anchor of hope

ANCHORAGE — During the coronavirus pandemic, musician Ed Washington worked on new music — a quarantine project — in his bedroom. But the opening line to the title track on his new EP “The Hopeless Romantic” came to him while he was skiing toward a glacier.

“He’s so enchanted, the hopeless romantic,” he sings, his voice later cracking. “It’s kinda like a coming-of-age story and how I learned about love and the harsh truth of love — like, giving someone your heart is also giving them the ability to hurt you, in a sense,” he told Alaska Public Media’s “Indie Alaska.”

For Washington, the past year has been a rollercoaster ride. He released his first music video, started a job he enjoys, got vaccinated, and has a close-knit bubble of friends. Within that same time frame, two family members and one of his best friends died. On top of that, Washington’s landlord threatened him with eviction, which led to a tense situation with the police, a topic Washington explores in the first episode of Indie Alaska’s latest season.

“It’s been one of the most beautiful years of my life but also one of the most tragic,” he said. “Thankfully, I have the perspective to see both.”

And adding to his list of quarantine projects, Washington and Nick Carpenter, frontman of the band Medium Build, started a podcast called “Look at Life,” where they talk about mental health, sexuality, race, and, in one episode, their adoration of Joni Mitchell.

“It’s about us being best friends — on record — pretty much,” Washington said of the podcast. “We have a lot in common about our music and our queerness, and striving to understand our mental health.”

For Washington, music has been an artistic necessity. In an earlier interview with Indie Alaska, he likened music to an imaginary friend during tough times. “I would kinda create my own world in music and just kind of visualize what I did want in my life,” he said.

He recommends you listen to his new EP “The Hopeless Romantic” with your bae.

This report originally appeared on Alaska Public Media’s “Indie Alaska.”

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