Farmington Hills musician pens COVID-19 rock song

“If We Ever Get Out of Quarantine,” a rock song by Farmington Hills musician Kenny Schabow, is now available for download on music streaming services.

The topical tune came to Schabow last spring when he was collaborating with a local vocalist, Maggie Robinson, about songs they wanted to work on post-pandemic. The phrase she used – “if we ever get out of quarantine” – stuck with Schabow, and he said he immediately came up with a melody.

Kenny Schabow
Kenny Schabow makes music in his Farmington Hills home studio.  (Corrine Schilling)

“It just started to come to me and, as any artist knows, as soon as you get that inspiration, you need to drop whatever you’re doing,” he said. One of the lines from the song – “I’m stuck” – is a feeling Schabow says we all share.

“Now that we’ve all gone through that experience, we all know what it feels like to be cooped up and stuck,” he said.

Connecting on Zoom

To introduce the song and celebrate its release, Schabow held a Zoom release party, during which he performed the song and held a Q & A. He said the party drew family and friends from around the country.

“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who felt the song really rocked,” he said. “It’s got the energy they were looking for and it doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio right now.”

He said the release party also lasted longer than he expected.

“I guess people were hungry for some interaction,” he said. “That’s what I miss – that community of meeting new people, playing music, and (getting) that immediate feedback from the crowd.”

Musical influences

Schabow said he draws inspiration from a wide variety of artists – including The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, as well as jazz greats John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

“If you only listen to a narrow slice of your favorite music, you’re never going to develop as a musician,” he said. “You need to be a sponge and absorb whatever is around you and I like a lot of difference styles of music. I might be equally willing to listen on a given day to 80s heavy metal like Iron Maiden and then I’ll be listening to some 1940s Big Band jazz.”

Chicago roots

Schabow grew up in Chicago and came to Michigan to study mechanical engineering at Kettering University in Flint. He has lived in Farmington Hills since 2012 and works as a designer for Ford Motor Company while pursuing his dream of being a rock musician.

He says he loves the diversity and activities the Farmington and Farmington Hills communities offer, including the restaurants and concerts at Riley Park in downtown Farmington.

“It’s a great match for my lifestyle and I think it’s a great place to live,” Schabow said.

What’s next?

Schabow is currently working on a song called “Freedom in Distress.”

“I wrote it right after George Floyd was murdered,” he explained. “That’s the next song that’s on my heart. I feel that that’s something that people need to hear – that there is a problem. It doesn’t go away just because it’s not in the news.”

He’s also producing songs in his home studio.

“I registered as a business last year, so I have my first client now, and I’m also producing music and co writing a song with a woman in Amsterdam,” he said. “It’s pretty neat and she’s got a great message with her song. I’m also working on my own original music – I’ve written over 100 songs in the last 20 years. Some of them are just notes of paper that were scribbled late at night as a teenager and I held onto them and some of them I’m still writing.”

Music that moves you

If Schabow’s music moves you, then he’s accomplished his goal.

“I want my music to move you in some way,” he said. “If you’re head-banging or you’re dancing or you’re just nodding your head or tapping your foot, that’s the mark of success for me. I’m not doing it for the money. I’m making music that I want to listen to and if other people like it and it becomes successful, great, but I don’t expect anything to happen. Anything that does happen (will be) a happy surprise.”

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