Music unbound: Artists reach listeners online
Many Americans are obediently staying cooped up to slow the spread of the coronavirus, “but it took DJ D-Nice to give us a reason to want to,” said Jelani Cobb in NewYorker.com. Last week, the 49-year-old former member of the 1980s hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions started spinning dance records on Wednesday night for an impromptu livestream Instagram party he called #ClubQuarantine. Word spread quickly, and by Saturday, when his set lasted a full nine hours, D-Nice’s enthusiastic national online audience easily topped 100,000, with the revelers including Rihanna, Drake, Mark Zuckerberg, Michelle Obama, and Joe Biden—or at least the handlers of Biden’s Instagram account. And D-Nice restarted the party the very next night.
He isn’t the only artist who’s been improvising ways to unite listeners stuck at home, said Mekishana Pierre in PopSugar.com. Chris Martin of Coldplay played a solo concert from home to initiate a virtual concert series, #TogetherAtHome, that has drawn follow-up acts including John Legend, Shawn Mendes, and Camila Cabello. Garth Brooks and Keith Urban have posted their own performances from home, while Broadway star Laura Benanti has created a phenomenon by starting a Twitter thread—and the hashtag #SunshineSongs—to invite high school theater performers to share highlights from the musicals they might not be able to perform this spring because of the coronavirus shutdown. Late last week, Willie Nelson, now 86, managed to stage a free virtual music festival after postponing an annual concert he hosts at his Texas ranch, said Matthew Leimkuehler in the Nashville Tennessean. Paul Simon, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, and Willie all sang—separately—and donations from listeners were directed to musicians in need. “Nothing can replace the ritual of a concert,” of course, “but listening helps.”