One never knows the twists and turns life will take. Most of us worry about things that will never happen and few of us give any thought at all to things that are unimaginable. That would be ludicrous wouldn't it? Yet something unimaginable did indeed happen and it has shaken a good portion of the world to the core.
When this year started, I was on target to have my best year yet in the music industry. Last year I did a total of 175 gigs and most of those gigs were booked in April and May of last year. By the end of January of this year I already had 180 gigs on the books and my biggest months for booking were ahead of me. That is until mid March when all hell broke loose.
I arrived at my gig on March 11th to have the activities director tell me that I was their last entertainment. She said the Governor had ordered them to lockdown their facility at the end of the day. I had not listened to the news so I was unfamiliar with this. The next day I showed up for my gig at a senior center only to find no one there. When I called to find out what had happened they said they were on lockdown until further notice by order of the Governor. It was then that I got the news that all independent and assisted living, nursing homes, senior centers and libraries were closed through the end of April. That instantly wiped out about 30 gigs for me.
The lockdown was targeting my primary audience and affecting a good portion of my bookings for the year. By the end of April, all the gigs for May were cancelled and then the same thing happened for June. The other day several places contacted me to say they were cancelling everything for the year and would be in touch if anything changed.
With the lockdown, restaurants and country clubs were closed and with social distancing private parties were taken off the books. Weddings and Funerals could have no more than ten people in attendance so overnight all musicians were out of a job. Even though things have started to open up, the life of a musician is still sketchy. My targeted audience is probably locked down through the end of the year. Most restaurants that hired live music may not be able to afford it now with social distancing guidelines and a lot of people are not willing to chance going out to dinner anyway even with the social distancing.
Facebook Live and YouTube have become ways for musicians to make some money through performing live from their homes and asking for tips. Street parties have become a viable option. Musicians like so many others are having to reinvent themselves. But in the midst of this chaos we are being given quite the gift. We are being given the time and opportunity to figure out what we really love about our lives and what we need to release.
I love music and I love the fact that I can use one of my gifts to uplift others. I love the music from the 30s and 40s and loved the fact that I could bring a targeted age group such joy but the down side was that I was starting to leave the gigs depleted instead of energized. More and more of the audiences were unresponsive due to their cognitive impairments and it was taking its toll on me. On top of that I was becoming bored with singing the same music over and over. I have a very low boredom threshold to begin with and this was just triggering it.
A little over a month ago I started doing weekly Facebook Live events on my Debbie Darling Music Facebook page. I started taking requests and found I loved learning new material. Some of the material requested I had never heard of before but was delighted to learn. I find that while I cannot live off of the money I am presently making from the Facebook Live events that I am enjoying learning new material and watching myself grow and figure out what the next step is. I know I want to keep doing music and I love the TV like format of the Facebook Live. Only God knows where this will lead me but I am grateful for the time to gain my energy back and start to figure out where I go from here. I am grateful for the opportunity to once again reinvent myself. How are your reinventing yourself?