Having the opportunity to be seen or heard by thousands of people is usually what bands aspire to receive. In most cases, Keystone Postcard is the same. We are musicians trying to make a living. And included in that is promotion to build a larger audience. We are fully aware of the important relationship between musicians and music fans. Of course we want more people to show up to our gigs, stream our music, like our social media pages, read our blogs ;-) and so on. But above all of that, we can’t deny the reason we play music in the first place. Sometimes our job is simply playing (insert ridiculously popular song) for the (insert ridiculously large number) time like it’s our favorite, for the fan who requested it as their favorite song. But sometimes it’s different. Sometimes it’s more than just playing a song. It is giving people permission to be in the moment, to celebrate, or reminisce, or forget, or whatever it is that they need at the time. People turn to music for all of these reasons. And it is our job to provide that magic.
In mid-March, a global pandemic cost us our job as we knew it. All of our gigs started canceling. Without an audience to perform for, we felt incomplete. In self-quarantine with two young kids, Victor and I began to feel the stir-crazy anxiety that many Americans were feeling. In an attempt to feel “normal” we decided to set up our gear, as we would at any gig, in our driveway. It was oddly cathartic to unwrap cables, set up speakers and stands, and flip switches; A part of the job we normally view as a ‘chore’. We started playing, wondering if someone would call the cops. In the hour that we ended up playing, we saw a few neighbors walking dogs (and kids) smile as they passed. We heard distant cheers and clapping from other yards in opposing directions. Our neighborhood started to feel brighter and closer in spite of our social distancing. What if we did this again? What if we streamed it online for our fans who are not physically in our neighborhood to enjoy? This could be a new way of once again providing the magic of music. The magic that people are needing more than ever right now.
So started our weekly driveway concert and stream, affectionately called “Wine Down Wednesday.” This is a reference to the event Matt and I normally play at the same time (Wednesday 4-6pm) at Marriott’s Grande Ocean in Hilton Head Island, SC. Vic and I were excited to see our neighbors come out and safely take a seat in our yard, on the side of the street, or in their cars to enjoy a little escape. It was a literal and figurative breath of fresh air for all of us. We were shocked to see the amount of views, shares, and comments after our two hour concert. We hadn’t expected such a response. It surprised us that it grew to 9.2K views, 86 shares, and 250+ comments. The support, enthusiasm and kindness of our neighbors and our fans online have been truly humbling. We received requests from neighbors, who are essential workers, to play on the weekend. Hence our Sunday afternoon concerts from 1-3pm.
Then, much to our surprise, we received messages from two separate local news outlets wanting to come and speak with us. We weren’t sure how what we were doing was different from the multitude of musicians also streaming while in quarantine. Perhaps it was the change of scenery from someone’s couch to our driveway. Or maybe it’s the sense of community knowing others are physically present while we perform. Unsure of what made us special, we were still flattered by the interest in our story. And we felt the responsibility to give the perspective of gig workers in this time. It is clear to us that we are not the only ones dealing with these unpredictable times. Fellow musicians, our friends, are in similar situations and are worried and struggling. Our hearts are with the entire musical community of Savannah and we are confident that together we will bring music back to our beloved city when the time comes!
All of these realities are what makes what happened next a little bizarre for us. We started receiving likes and comments from fans in other cities all over the country. We noticed spikes in website visits, YouTube subscribers and viewers to our streams. New fans reached out to us telling us they saw us on the news in Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Florida, and more! Our friends squealed with excitement, “You are going viral!” Childhood, high school, and college friends, who we hadn’t heard from in years started reconnecting. They messaged us that they noticed what we were doing. One even commented, “We should send you into Ellen!” Seems ironic when the soundbite for one of the news reports was my comment, “We don’t expect stadiums of people shouting our names. We know we aren’t rock stars.” What I went on to explain is our philosophy on why we play music in the first place, as I laid out above. But aren’t these exactly the moments/situations that musicians hope for? Going viral, building a fanbase, validation of your work. But it seemed wrong to be excited about possible success and attention that came from such terrible circumstances. Until we realized that we had worked so hard to get where we were in the first place. What is that old saying? “Success is when opportunity meets preparation.” We are realistic and still don’t think we will meet Ellen. Although, we won’t deny that it would be totally awesome and we are ready if that ever happens!
So why am I rambling on in this post anyway? For several reasons…
To say “thank you” to the fans who have always supported us and allow you to squeal in delight. You deserve to be just as happy about our recent opportunities. You are part of the reason things are happening for us!
To say “hello” to the new fans who don’t know us yet. We hope this helps you get to know us (or at least me) a little better and that you decide to join us on the wild ride that we are on. We won’t get anywhere else without you!
To say “we are here for you, because you’ve been here for us” to other musicians, music fans (new and old). We will continue to try and send positive energy out into the world with music. We know we all need it now!
To say “goodbye” to the guilt and fear of success. There is a strange stigma among artists of all kind — the polarizing idea of “selling out”. The messages of thanks and joy that we have received recently may have proven to me that there is no such thing as long as you are making someone feel good (whether it is just you, or a stadium of people — see what i did there?).
To say “thank you” again. We just can’t seem to say it enough lately. The greatness in humanity that we have seen in the last several weeks as blown our minds!
If you are inclined to watch the news stories, check out the links below. Stay safe and healthy. We hope we get to see you soon!