Industry in the Dark: COVID’s Impact on Musicians

By Leigh Taylor

Amongst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you would be hard-pressed to find an industry that hasn’t in some way been impacted by it. One of these is the music industry. There has been a great cloud of uncertainty with lockdown restrictions ceasing the organisation of gigs and recordings, leaving many artists feeling restless and unsure of where to head next.

I had the opportunity to hear these thoughts and concerns from the sources themselves, up and coming music artists FuzzyLop, Paul Clark and Evan Keen. 

Reflecting on how the pandemic has shifted the nature of their work, Jordan Martin of band FuzzyLop said:

“It changes the way we usually write tunes because usually it’d be jamming with the band, to now having a lot less practices because not everybody can come from different places so that’s definitely changed”.

21-year-old R&B singer Paul Clark, from Glasgow, feels much the same, noting the particular isolation the pandemic has brought on:

“Because we’ve been sitting staring at the same four walls for so long, it’s so hard to find inspiration to write a song”.

In the age of social media, live streams and video sharing have been a huge outlet for musicians wanting to keep active and engaged, whether to maintain or build on their fanbase. FuzzyLop have tried their hand at this, but lead singer Molly feels it does pose its own difficulties and isn’t quite the same as performing conventionally to a live audience. She said:

“We’ve done a couple of livestreams throughout but we don’t have the technical abilities to deal with it. The whole ecosystem of the music industry is you’re supporting each other; the sound guy makes you great, but now it’s just the sole responsibility of promoting yourself, play yourself”. 

Another artist who has made use of producing online lockdown content is Evan Keen from Irvine. The 22-year-old kickstarted his music career last year by playing numerous gigs around Ayrshire, but in the current climate is entertaining fans and gaining new ones through posting covers of popular songs on Facebook. He said:

“I thought by doing that it would keep me in view of people and in trying to get myself a new following.

“I’d only just started back in August so I was hoping this year I could get myself more experience by going to different pubs and all sorts, trying to get some venues, and there’s not really any insight either to when it can come back”.

Irvine musician Evan Keen’s career was on the rise pre-pandemic

One thing these musicians do agree on, is that the Government’s recent controversial campaign encouraging those in the arts to ‘retrain’ in another field was in particularly poor taste towards those who simply wish to build a career by following their passion. Molly said:

“I dare everybody to go a month without watching Netflix or listening to music. Everything people have turned to during lockdown has been art and music”.

Echoing these sentiments, Evan said:

“It’s insulting. There’s people who wouldn’t want to do anything else, there’s people who do it full time; it’s not just a bit on the side”.

Watch our chat below and be sure to check out the artists’ social medias, linked above.

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