Music is one of the greatest triumphs of creativity. Its power in connecting people to each other and evoking the deepest emotions stems from vibrations—an element as old as time. It is a language that everyone understands. A language that would be missed if it were gone.
In early March 2020, I was sent an IG Live from a friend. “Not another one,” I thought. But with nowhere to go, I clicked. What I witnessed was not only the beauty of creativity and music, but also constraints and context.
DJ D-Nice (Derrick Jones) called it Club Quarantine. On March 21st, 2020, he hosted a 9-hour dance party, attracting over 100,000 consistent live viewers on Instagram, attracting notable people around the world: Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Bernie Sanders, Janet Jackson, members of Earth Wind and Fire, Lenny Kravitz, and many more.
He wove through timeless tracks from the ’80s, niche reggae, Bowie, Biggie, and of course ’90s hip hop. You couldn’t help but dance. He always believed that music could be a source of joy and connection.
After that initial success, he continued showing up on Instagram Live, DJing for hours on end, displaying his genius in musicality and the resilience in standing for hours on end, engaging with comments, while sending positive vibes through our phones.
Through the lens of design and creativity, what we can appreciate is the power of constraints and context.
DJing on Instagram Live before the pandemic was unthinkable; the feature had no steam. But rather than seeing the constraint of being at home as limiting, the context of the times enhanced this constraint and turned it into an advantage.
People were not expecting it, but they were ready for it.
Such generous acts merit great success: DJ D-Nice signed a partnership with Spotify to curate playlists, helped artists like Childish Gambino debut a new song, won a Webby Award, and inspired other artists to use their voice and talents to push music into new heights.
At society’s most confused and vulnerable, it was music that uplifted our spirits and gave us the courage to take it one more day at a time.
This is what creativity is for.
Paul Jun is the Editorial Director of COLLINS, leading a new endeavor in sharing ideas on design and creativity.