Musicians lean on creativity, live streams to engage audiences during pandemic

musicians covid
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jan 19, 2021

It has been 10 months since most musicians have been able to perform in front of fans. It has also been that long since any of us could see them live, too.

“Our social scene was through playing shows. It was everything to us,” said Adrian Pottersmith, a member of the band The Velveteers.

Prior to March 2020, you could find Pottersmith in a basement or warehouse around Boulder, Colorado performing. Now, he has had to rely on his two bandmates to formulate ideas to connect with their fans.

“We did a live stream that was like eight really cool places in Colorado and we had my dad just record them all on his iPhone,” he said.

Pottersmith and his two bandmates, Jonny McMahon and Demi Demitro, have traveled hundreds of miles to identify unique areas to perform live streams online. They have visited the mountains in Colorado and the deserted plains of Kansas to shoot material they think will resonate with people who enjoy their music.

“We have seen people come out of the woodwork that we may have not been familiar with us before,” said Pottersmith.

Dan Levitt can relate.

Levitt is the conductor for Inside the Orchestra, a group that performs immersive concerts for students. Since COVID-19, the group has not been able to rehearse or perform in-person.

“I know the first time I get up in front of the orchestra to rehearse, I’m just going to have to take a breath and say, 'Welcome back,'" said Levitt. “I’m getting emotional now just thinking about it. [The pandemic] has allowed me to give more focus to parts of my musical life that I would normally be pulled in all sorts of directions. I wake up in the morning and say, 'I’m going to write music all day.'”

These musicians say the pandemic has been a challenge. They have had to pick up side jobs to supplement their income and have not had the thrill of performing in front of a live audience, but they say there are several silver linings. Creativity has blossomed as musicians have had to find ways to engage their audience remotely and have had more time to write and record music.

“Just the change of things; while it’s a little freaky at first, it’s really good because it forces you to do stuff that you wouldn’t do otherwise,” said McMahon. “I think most really good things come out of places that are really uncomfortable.”