Many an industry has suffered the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, but arguably none more so than the music sector - after being one of the first to shut down back in March and one of the last forecast to reopen.

Thousands of musicians were affected when their traditional means of income disappeared into thin air, almost overnight.

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But the industry is not without hope - with many turning to other sources of inspiration and outlets for creativity.

Scots musician and composer Chris Tolley, 40, is one of the many who channelled his experiences of the past year into an album, one that takes its cues from his home - in East Lothian, Scotland - and its inimitable landscapes, wildlife and weather.

HeraldScotland: An incredible sunrise last March set the wheels in motion for Tolley's 2021 album 'Home'An incredible sunrise last March set the wheels in motion for Tolley's 2021 album 'Home'

As a TV and film composer, Tolley’s ‘day job’ requires him to respond to visual stimuli and create a soundtrack to a picture on the screen.

But when work dried up in spring of last year, he started looking elsewhere for inspiration.

The idea formed to write an album based on the duration of a day, over the course of a year - in the place he loves to call home, and could not, for the moment, leave.

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“TV work had dried up, but instead of getting really stressed about something that I couldn’t control, I managed to flip it the other way and decided to write exactly what I wanted to write", Tolley explained.

“I live amongst beautiful rolling hills with an abundance of wildlife.

"This was just accentuated during lockdown in March, because it made me feel grateful to have it on my doorstep when we were all so suddenly restricted to our local area.

Tolley licenced ‘Beneath the Surface’ for an aerial film of East Lothian, selected very deliberately because it was seen to be a calming piece of music

"There’s an enormous amount of this landscape, wildlife and weather in Home. In fact I’d say that the whole album is inspired by where I live."

Tolley’s first foray into contemporary classical music - the style for which he is now largely known - took place in 2018 with the album Beneath the Surface, after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

He explained that the period between her diagnosis and eventual prognosis was the loneliest two weeks of his life - but he found respite and comfort in his music.

It’s a quality others have picked up in his work.

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“I was having to keep everything inside me so I could hold it together for my son and I needed to release it, so after I put him to bed I went into my studio and wrote and wrote and wrote, just pouring all this emotion out onto my piano”, Tolley explained.

“A story formed, because whilst the first half of Beneath the Surface is a story of a desperate man trying to come to terms with this life changing situation, the second half is much calmer because the prognosis was not as awful as the worst case scenario so there was a sense of relief.

“Control came back into our lives and I felt closer to both of my parents, more grateful for everyone – both friends and family – who was around me.”

HeraldScotland: “Music was the crutch I needed to lean on at the time. Always there for me. I’m so pleased that others have been able to use my music as this crutch”“Music was the crutch I needed to lean on at the time. Always there for me. I’m so pleased that others have been able to use my music as this crutch”

Since then, Tolley’s 2021 release Home has enjoyed more than 60,000 streams in two months, and possesses some of the same qualities of tranquillity and serenity as his previous album - things the composer believes people are now actively seeking out in this turbulent time.

“I feel like this is the time for this sort of music”, he mused. “It’s quite meditative and mindfulness is such a thing now that people are using albums like mine as a form of escapism.”

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He added: “My whole aim in writing music for others to listen to is to bring emotion out of people. If that emotion can be one of blissful calm then I’m happy to be that, I feel like that’s what I’m here for.

“The pandemic took away my sense of purpose when it obliterated my industry. Now to have written this album and to have my music listened to by so many people for different reasons than my day job, is a lovely purpose to have.”

You can find Chris Tolley’s newest album on Spotify here, and find out more about the artist on his website.