Working musicians across the country have lost a major part of their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered restaurants and bars to close, leaving musicians without the steady monthly gigs we heavily depend on.
Like so many other local musicians impacted by this pandemic, my gigs were all canceled for the foreseeable future. The uncertainty of this unprecedented situation is scary to say the least and I know my peers feel the same way.
Although we don’t work a normal 9-5, we conduct our business like any small business. We take care of things any business owner would normally handle such as taxes, paying employees, in our case, band members. We make sure that our clients are satisfied with our services. We hustle for gigs and are loyal to the restaurant and bar owners, hotel managers, and individual clients who are loyal to us.
“What would the world be without music? It would be a boring and colorless place.”
Playing music for family, friends and complete strangers is a rewarding job. Life as a musician can be unpredictable, physically and mentally gruelling, exciting, and challenging. We get the chance to perform a couple’s favorite song during their first dance as a married couple, or play “Unchained Melody” while hiding in the bushes during a surprise proposal. We are there for milestone birthdays, Cinco de Mayo parties, St. Patrick’s Day happy hours, and even gender reveal parties. We are present for every occasion.
What would the world be without music? It would be a boring and colorless place. Right before all of this craziness happened, I was playing 2-4 gigs a week and working at Connect from 8-12 in the mornings. I said to myself two weeks ago, “man, I could use a weeklong break. I’m exhausted.” I never would’ve imagined anything like this happening.
Almost two weeks in, I’ve had a lot of time to process this “unofficial” break and really value and appreciate my place in this world. I’m grateful for what I do and appreciate all of the people I’ve touched through my music. Sometimes, I get so busy that I don’t take the time to be thankful for all the support that I’ve been given throughout the years, the tips that I’ve made, the requests I don’t know how to play, the song suggestions that I “must” listen to and add to my set, all the smiles, high fives and the ones who stay at my shows until the bitter end.
“Our local music scene is filled with so much talent. I love how we’re rallying together to support ourselves and our peers…”
Maybe this quarantine is a blessing. Perhaps it’s a way to allow my fellow musicians and me to slow down and work on that song we haven’t worked on in years or finally do that collaboration with one of our favorite local artists we’ve been wanting to work with. It’s also a chance to check out our peers’ live shows that we’ve been dying to see but haven’t had the chance because we’re usually playing shows of our own.
Our local music scene is filled with so much talent. I love how we’re rallying together to support ourselves and our peers through Facebook and Instagram Live concerts. Musicians are sharing their friends’ live concerts to their communities, because we know how important community is when we’re all enduring the same struggle. With that said, Connect will be hosting a weekly live concert via Facebook Live every Thursday afternoon in April for your listening pleasure. Our first “Connect Live” will take place on April 2nd at 4:30pm and will feature myself and the amazingly talented, Pat Laughrey.
Every week will feature a performance by a local act. This is a great opportunity to see musicians you’ve been meaning to check out and support them through a virtual tip jar. We ask that you download the Venmo app here if you don’t already have it.
Thank you in advance for supporting your local artists. Music has always been known to bring people together and it’s needed now more than ever at times like these. See you on Thursday!