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(noise)letter: Which Artist Are You?

Can I be honest with you? When I set out to write this email, I didn't want to talk about COVID-19. It seems like every company we've ever given our email address to has sent the same statement over the last week. But the more I try to think about something else to send you this week, the more I know that to NOT acknowledge it would be a bad attempt at burying reality. And I've never been about that... So here it is. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. But to every musician, artist, producer, crew member, venue staff, promoter, and tour manager – I see you. We will get through this. Global crisis is the time when the fabric of our scene is stretched and tested, and we have to anchor ourselves in what we know to be true about our art and our relationships. And while it's terrifying to think that there's no real end in sight, or to think about how the underground music scene will recover from this, hope, faith, fortitude – whatever you want to call it – is already fighting back. Code Orange pulled off a last-minute live stream of their album release show with insane creativity. Companies and organizations are setting up GoFundMe campaigns to support their local scenes and help pay musicians' bills to get them through. Conversations are being prioritized and the scene is showing up. Like so many, I've lost business as a result of this event, but still, there's no industry I'd rather be a part of right now. For some, this time is motivating. It may be just what you needed to write the last song for your record, or the time you needed to regroup with your band after your last tour. However, I don't want to lose sight of those who struggle when the world seemingly shuts down. The idea of "social distancing" is difficult, no matter who you are. Introvert, extrovert, whatever you claim to be – we weren't made for this. We were made for community and connection with other people. Music is communal by nature, and we have to keep sharing it. So if you're an artist who has had to cancel shows, leave tours, miss gigs, there are plenty of ways to keep sharing your music:

  • Live stream – use FB Live, IGTV, YouTube, Twitch, whatever platform you love best. This is the time to get real, and get up close with your fans.

  • Keep writing – we all know there's a ton of "quarantine albums" being written this week.

  • Record demos – more content to share with your fans! They love behind-the-scenes material.

  • Plan your release campaign – if you can't get out there to perform, get online and focus on your brand.

  • Support other artists – keep the conversation going by sharing other bands' music and collaborating however you can.

If, instead, you're an artist who is holding on by a thread, with no ounce of creativity or inspiration to work from, I encourage you to rest. (I fall in this camp this time.) Fill yourself up with the art that you love. Watch that Netflix series you never finished. Read a book you haven't read in ages. Find a recipe from your childhood and make it at home. ENJOY art during this time. And don't feel bad about it. And in case I haven't been clear enough, don't feel bad about going back to the same movies, shows, albums, bands, and art that has brought you comfort and peace in the past. Don't overload yourself with new content – sometimes, I think that's part of the problem. Find whatever fills your heart and let it take hold of your time, your thoughts, and your to-do list. That's how we'll get through this. I know this is not ideal in any way, but we're all creatives here, so we know that this will take root as depression in our spirits, if we let it. Your fears and discouragement are valid and you're not alone. Find that thing that made you love your craft in the first place and do whatever you need to do to care for yourself. You are seen. Heard. Loved. And your art is worth saving. To your success, Naø 🖤


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