If ever I found it hard to find the words to start a blog post, it is today. Many of you have read articles and heard stories about how hard the life of an artist is. I openly tell this to anybody who is hoping to become a full-time artist, as I truly want them to have a realistic idea of what it actually is like, the sacrifices you have to make. I don’t often talk to anybody else about the hardship, as I also know I am lucky to be able to do what I have done for so long. But today I feel that I need to shed some light into what artists dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 are going through.
There never is a good time for anything like this. But artists year is very seasonal. January and February is hibernation time. We focus on creating new music, as often there are fewer tours and shows this time of the year. It is the time of the year, we are broke. In March things start to pick up, and especially here in Ireland, for many of us the time around St. Patrick’s day is the time we get enough money to clear the bills that have accumulated over the quiet months. This year, everything went to lockdown before we got that far. Most responsible bars and venues cancelled the live shows at the same time the schools were closed, and the last of the venues followed a few days later as all bars and venues were closed. So most of us artists were already financially stretched before the world around us went to lockdown.
Often what people see from musicians are the top few per cent, who are deservedly financially secure. But most of us live from hand to mouth, one show to another. As I mentioned above, it is the nature of the job, and I am not here to complain about that. But when something like a global pandemic comes around, we are literally in deep shit, excuse my language. Every one of my musician friends I am talking to is worried about paying their rent and bills. With the unknown, we all are in the same boat of not being able to plan for the future. This summers Festival season is not looking promising right now. And I know just like me, many of my friends are not able to go on for months without working. Sure there are government subsidies, but as we are freelancers, many of us fall between the cracks.
We also realise how important our work is. Thousands of artist are creating new content at home, whether it is videos, new music, live streams or whatever. Creativity is what gets us through tough times mentally, and we can only hope it can help you too. But it does not pay the bills or put food on the table. And especially in a city like Dublin, where the rents are already astronomical. I know there has been a lot of talk online about rent freeze in Ireland, but that rent freeze only stops the landlords raising the rents during the next three months. Work or no work, we still need to pay our rents.
If you enjoy what we artist do, right now there are a lot of things you can do to help us. If you still are able to work and are financially secure, most of us artists have set up our PayPal tip jars. Even little goes a long way. And some of also have Patreon accounts set up, where you can contribute monthly. The technology is helping us in many ways at the moment. Also, many artists have merchandise, and now would be a great time to support your favourite artist. But if you can’t help financially, there is so much more you can do. Get on social media, streaming services and YouTube, listen, watch, like, comment and share their content. Especially comments and shares can do wonders for your favourite artists content in the mids of algorithms of the platforms. Let them know their work matters right now.
I will leave my links below but just know if you are reading this right now, even that means a world to me. Please stay safe, and I hope to see you all once all of this is over.
If you want to tip me in these troubled times, you can do so here: https://www.paypal.me/jpkalliomusic