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Blog overview

Impact of COVID-19 to musicians

Julianne, in Community news
May 22, 2020 | 8 min read

The impact of Covid-19 to musicians and creatives have been unique. With live concerts being cancelled, gigs postponed, and music schools at halt, it almost feels like our lives have been turned upside down.

We asked three musicians from our community how they have been coping in these challenging times. Robert ‘Bubby’ Lewis is a charismatic bass player who’s played for some big names like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Lupe Fiasco, Stevie Wonder and many more. Lydia Rhea is a passionate cellist who made her debut when she was only 9, and is currently pursuing a BM in Cello Performance. Last but not least, Camellia Akhamie Kies, a graduate from the Navy School of music is a military veteran and an incredible drummer.

1. What was the initial impact of COVID-19 to musicians?

Bubby: “COVID-19 has been very crazy.. of course a lot of my work has been cancelled.. but I can’t help but think about other people who’s lives were affected in some way or another. They’re the ones that my heart goes out to.. yeah of course I miss performing and all that.. but a person life is more valuable then me getting up to play bass..”

Lydia: “COVID-19 mainly affected my school year when it was declared a pandemic. This happened over my spring break, so instead of going back to school, I went back to school once to pack up my dorm room and completely move out and then moved home for the rest of the semester which was online.”

Lydia playing his cello while using the Soundbrenner Core

2. How did you see the music industry change and adapt to COVID-19?

Bubby: “I think we’re still trying to figure out ways to evolve music for the time we’re in.. it’s been cool to see some of the different live stream content happening.. many countries have figured out ways to make it interesting.. so I guess it’s a matter of time before everyone catches on.. we just gotta learn from each other of how to make it work.”

Lydia: “The amount of livestream concerts available for free and subscription services or donation-based has absolutely skyrocketed. Collaborations between people that live on opposite coasts and even different countries have increased immensely because now musicians have to more actively seek out collaboration in a situation where we cannot play together in person.” 

Camelia: “The music industry did a great job encouraging people to practice, create, and keeping working on progressing even from home. The projects and collaborations I have done and continue to do with musicians from all over the world have been really cool. I was in Major Lazer’s- Lay your head on me music video, and I am currently working with Red Bull Music on a 60sec Music video for social media.”

Robert Bubby Lewis playing bass during a livestream

3. Have you been inspired or has your creativity as a musician been harmed by COVID-19?

Bubby: “The truth is with COVID and the racial issues still burning strong in the US it definitely has been somewhat difficult to find inspiration but I have had some sparks. I’ve been working on my new album and a lot of what’s been happening in the world has inspired what I’ve been writing.”

Lydia: “For me it very much depends on the day. I’m learning repertoire that I wouldn’t necessarily normally learn because I now have essentially no deadlines or in-person performances to work towards. I would say it’s difficult to be musically inspired when there are no live concerts happening, but my creativity in terms of adapting to a new way of performing and making money as a musician has been forced to increase.”

Camelia: “I have been inspired on all levels. I am grateful for this time to look within and elevate goals, purpose, and direction.”

Ways to support the music industry and musicians

  1. Listen to artist’s music more and support them during this time.

2. Keep donating to art organizations! Purchase a subscription to a concert series.

3. Support freelance musicians who are doing more livestream concerts – the same way you would have bought a ticket to see them perform.

4. Stay positive and continue to sharing love, through patience and kindness.

5. If outside and socially-distant, masked concerts are happening, safely attend if you are able.

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