As an artist, my initial reaction to lockdown was one of panic, I had gigs lined up, a new single and video to promote and also songs for a film that I had spent the past few months writing that was due to be pitched to studios in LA.
It soon dawned on me, through my panic, that everyone was in the same boat, and although the boat was partially sinking, I sensed a spirit of solidarity within our global musical community that was genuine and very welcome.
So, I figured out how to film and broadcast a live video, not easy for someone who is a ‘technophobe’ and started doing fortnightly shows streaming through Facebook and Instagram and also put a shout out on my social media sites asking people to send in requests and dedications.
I was really surprised by the response I got. Initially the idea of doing my first livestream was daunting, I guess that for me and most musicians who play live, the performer persona needs a certain amount of feedback from an audience - or to put it bluntly, it's good to feel the love, we thrive off it, it tends to feed a performance, and can often be the difference between a mediocre, and a really good show.
I was unsure how this ‘love’ would translate into emojis and written comments, would it be enough? Would I be able to feel it, sitting in my kitchen with my cats wandering around and my teenage daughter blaring out Netflix upstairs?
As I sang the opening number I was pleasantly surprised to see heart and hug emojis floating up on my laptop beside me, and even happier to discover that they were making me feel good, little comments and requests bubbled up and people that I had not heard from in years suddenly appeared on the feed sending love and wishing me well.
I have since embraced livestreaming wholeheartedly with great results. I have experienced far more engagement with fans, my Spotify figures have increased by over 200% and the online launch of the video for my single, has attracted almost 5,000 views. Ok these are not massively high figures, but it is certainly a huge upturn for me.
I've had to find a much more relaxed way to perform. It's just not the same as performing in front of 300, 3,000 people in a venue, and so I don't need to have the same amount of energy.
I've found that if I can approach it in a Zen-like way, embracing any technical difficulties, cats or teenagers that suddenly appear, then it is far more enjoyable and far less scary.
Afterall, that is what the audience will be doing, you are unlikely to get the full attention that you would at a gig, they will be cooking, gardening, chatting, bathing and all the other million things people do in the privacy of their own home.
And that’s the beauty of it.