It’s 8.15 on a Thursday evening in a home studio in Hartford, Connecticut. Jonathan Mann, a nervy, talkative 38-year-old wearing a black baseball cap with the word “songs” emblazoned across the front, wrote and recorded a song in here earlier today, inspired by online footage of a woman in a Los Angeles store refusing to wear a mask and yelling “I’m not sick! I’m fine! I’m not crazy! Look at me!”
“As soon as I saw it, I knew there was a song in there,” Mann says. “2020 was a very fertile year for songs in that vein. Lots of Trump and Giuliani and all these other crazy people that came out of the woodwork.”
Tomorrow Mann will wake up and write another one. The day after that too. You see, Mann has been writing and recording a song every day since January 1, 2009, uploading it to his YouTube channel as part of his Song a Day project. On the wall of his studio, among the guitars, ukuleles and other musical instruments hanging from hooks, is an award he received six years ago from The Guinness Book of Records for most consecutive days writing a song. He has now written more than 4300 and counting.
It all began 12 years ago when he was unemployed and decided to take up an online challenge to write a song every day for a month. To say the habit stuck is an understatement. Nothing can stop him. He even wrote a song at his beloved grandmother’s bedside when she was dying in a hospice, and another when he was lying in a bath with the worst case of food poisoning in his life.