It has become increasingly challenging to stay inspired during these difficult times; however, COVID-19 has brought unexpected opportunities to see some of the world’s most celebrated artists up close and personal. San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all large gatherings on March 11 in order to take safety precautions regarding COVID-19, with many cities across the world doing the same. This ban applies to concerts coming to the Bay and beyond. Among others, disappointed music fans have been forced to cope with the uncertainty this worldwide crisis has brought. However, in response to these circumstances, artists of all musical backgrounds have taken advantage of what living in the 21st century offers: social media.
Since March 17, pop artist Miley Cyrus has been posting daily through her Instagram livestream talk show “Bright Minded.” Visiting guests have included fellow former Disney Channel stars Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, as well as Jimmy Fallon and Elton John.
Musical composer and lyricist legend Andrew Lloyd Webber hasn’t allowed his age (72) to keep him from doing what he can to lift fans’ spirits. On March 18, he asked followers, “With us all spending a bit more time at home, which ALW (Andrew Lloyd Webber) musical number would you like to see Andrew Play?” Prompted by schools being shut down, he ultimately chose to play, “Any Dream Will Do,” a song from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a production he originally composed for a preparatory school in 1965.
To keep fans engaged, Lloyd Webber asked viewers to send videos of themselves singing to him playing, “Any Dream Will Do.” Days later, he posted a compilation video of those who shared videos, whether solo or with a group they were isolated with. The compilation was a beautiful demonstration of how music is something that has the power to bring people together, even during a time that might feel like we’ve never been further apart.
Along with Lloyd Webber, other artists from past generations continue to inspire by contributing their talents and uniting people of all musical tastes. Paul Simon, one half of the band Simon and Garfunkel, has been regularly posting on Facebook, as well as country singer Garth Brooks. Bruce Springsteen reshared an entire concert from January to help promote social distancing. Rolling Stone launched a series on IGTV, Instagram’s video app, called, “In My Room.” The series features performances by former rock stars and newer artists from the intimacy of their own homes, with episodes being released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson kicked off the first episode.
Despite losing the excitement of upcoming events to look forward to, artists have not forgotten their fans. Many have been more active online and have been giving viewers performances, all for the unbeatable price of free. We must remember that in the dark times we’ve experienced in the past, we have often turned to artists to carry us through. Whether it be a book, music, movie, or TV show, artists continue to be there for us.