Chronicles of the COVID'J
23rd July 2020
The damage 2020 has done is enough and yes, we are all tired. Absolutely nothing could prepare us for the damage to various aspects of our lives this monster of a virus the world has to deal with. The entertainment industry has suffered ankasa. Sorry for left, but only thought it was alright to give an honest account of what its been like since the rona hit.
Its early March. Down here, we don't joke with our Independence Day celebration. So you know, the gigs are lined all the way up. This independence Day landed on a Friday as well. More jams. I had 5 events lined up for the weekend. I was out again the following weekend on the 14th. News of local COVID-19 cases started circulating but nothing concrete yet. Went for the last hurrah for a friend's birthday on the 20th, when it was pretty evident the virus was in town. As such, nightlife wasn't as packed as the previous nights. Little spots of people here and there. Not so long after, the president banned nightlife and event gatherings.
There went the livelihoods of DJs.
No pubs. No spots. No bars. No clubs. No weddings. No funerals. No outdoorings.
The news of everything being postponed to the next year was all over. Everything. Mega-music festivals, The Olympic Games, and all forms of sports went on hold.
The whole world came to a standstill for the virus. Absolutely no work for DJs.
Lockdown. No outing whatsoever, unless it’s for essential purposes; food and social amenity work mostly.
In lockdown, we witnessed another phase of a Kraken that the internet is. Everything went online. Work, meetings, events. Everything was made to be streamed now. Instagram Live, Periscope, Facebook Live, Facetime, Google and Zoom took over our lives. I scored my first COVID'J gig to do an hour-long IG set for AXE. It was a whole new experience for me. What does this mean? Is this a new wave? No more live events, so are events now online? What is this?!
By the following week, it was clear that this thing really is what it really was. DJ D-Nice's IG Live party went off, Club Rona was popping, Juls had his Live streams, and Tory Lanez had Quarantine Radio popping. I hopped on the wave and did my first IG Live mix on Friday night because whatevs… I need to get in also. This became the norm. I was on IG Live weekly and even tried to bring in weekday sets. I did a couple of guest sets as well for other accounts.
During this period, I started the 'A Celebration of Hits' series - a mix on my IG live that featured the finest songs and features exclusively from two selected artists - to keep my fans engaged. A Celebration of Hits Vol 1(Beyoncé x Rihanna), Vol 2 (Wizkid x Vybz Kartel), and Vol 3 (Shatta Wale x Samini)
However, it wasn't very long-lived before Instagram Live fatigue kicked in. How many more times could you go Live without viewers getting tired of looking at one person on a screen? Not long after, numbers for various Live stream shows started to dip. It had lost its novelty.
Not long after, lockdown restrictions started to ease. Little by little, the unofficial gatherings started. Pubs were given the green light to open for dine-in, with events allowed to be open at limited capacity. This kicked a slight resurgence in bookings. I got to do one of my favorite nightlife spots; The Alley, for two weeks back to back. I got to do Honeysuckle's (East Legon) Karaoke with Jonny Stone as well which I really enjoyed.
However, there is a surge in COVID cases due to people not caring too much and getting frustrated with staying indoors and this scares me but I'm stuck in a rock a hard place. I need all the money I can get right now. It is a similar case for other DJs and various entertainers as well.
If there's any takeaway from this period, it is to try to stay in people's faces as much as you can regardless of the situation. Doing this creates an awareness of you while some others may have gone under the radar waiting for things to get back to normal. It also got me to pay more attention to how I value my time by the hour.
COVID isn't over yet so let's see how things turn out. Still optimistic.