Shamir – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In - “I think the most frustrating part of the whole thing is that it wasn’t taken seriously at the beginning and now we’re scrambling.” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  

Shamir – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In

“I think the most frustrating part of the whole thing is that it wasn’t taken seriously at the beginning and now we’re scrambling.”

May 27, 2020 Web Exclusive
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We are checking in with musicians during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to see how they are dealing with everything. What has their home quarantine experience been like so far and how is the crisis impacting both their career and art? Here we check in with Shamir.

We’re living in future history right now, unprecedented times that will define our era. At some point we will be living in a forever-changed post-COVID-19 timeline, but right now we’re deep in it. Many have had their livelihood interrupted by the pandemic and included are most musicians, who make a lot of their money by touring and performing, two things they can’t do right now. Most record stores are closed, and vinyl factories are shut down, so album sales are depressed too. Our intention with this series is to highlight the challenges musicians are going through right now to hopefully encourage our readers and their fans to rally around and support each musician (financially if you can, but we know it’s tough out there for many people).

We’re all in this together, a whole planet united in this fight, and we hope these interviews will help illustrate that. We put together the same set of questions about the current crisis and emailed them to several musicians and will be posting their responses as they come in.

Raised in Las Vegas but based in Philadelphia, Shamir dropped his latest LP Cataclysm in March. This is the singer/songwriter’s fifth studio album and his most recent release since “Burn With Me,” a track featured on Bernie Sanders’ campaign benefit compilation Bernie Speaks with the Community. Despite being social distancing in quarantine, Shamir remains active as an artist, appearing in the new Netflix documentary I’m With the Band: Nasty Cherry and with another album in the works. Venturing into genres that vary from country to punk, Shamir makes stripped down music straight from his soul. 

Read on as Shamir reflects on his COVID-19 experience so far. He also submitted a photo of himself under quarantine.

Where are you spending the quarantine and who are you spending it with? If you’re spending it with other people, have you found that the quarantine has brought you closer together or caused tension?

I’m spending it alone in my Philly home. I live alone so I’ve gotten very used to my reflection… Luckily, I’m relatively introverted and don’t go out much on a normal basis, so my routine hasn’t changed much.

Is everyone in your family safe and healthy so far?

Yeah, everyone in my family is safe. They’re all still in Las Vegas and the city is opening up, hopefully with a positive outcome.

What’s your daily routine been like? Have you spent much time outdoors? And since musicians spend so much time on the road, have you found it hard adjusting to so much time at home?

Well, I haven’t toured in almost two years so again, not much has changed, but I do miss the road right about now. I’m actually finishing up my record and doing a few other projects, so I’m actually keeping pretty busy.

What financial impact has COVID-19 had on you and your band? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tours or festival appearances or postpone an album release because of COVID-19 and how will that affect you in the long term?

I only had one show canceled, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to tour my next record, so that’s giving me a bit of anxiety, but I’m staying positive.

If you also have a day job outside of music, how has that been impacted by COVID-19?

Luckily, I didn’t. The only other job I have is running my label Accidental Popstar Records. Getting the next release together for my artist has presented its challenges, but we’re still proceeding as scheduled.

Do you trust the government and our leaders (such as President Trump) to effectively deal with the pandemic? What most concerns you about the response of elected leaders at home and abroad?

I mean, so many things concern me. I think the most frustrating part of the whole thing is that it wasn’t taken seriously at the beginning and now we’re scrambling.

How do you think the crisis will affect this November’s U.S. presidential election? Will it make it easier or harder to defeat Trump?

Definitely harder if they make mail-in voting difficult like they’ve been trying to…

Which sources of news have you been turning to most during COVID-19 and which social media platform have you found most useful?

I haven’t been following one platform exclusively, but I think like for most people, the WHO specials have been helpful.

What do you think will be the lasting effects on society of all this isolated time at home?

Well obviously, the mental health affects. As someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, I’ve been as diligent as I can about checking in on my mental health.

Are your parents, grandparents, and others in your life who are at risk taking social distancing seriously? If not, what lengths have you gone to in order to convince them to stay inside?

I think they are, but I especially worry about my aunt who has still been working but has been living without a spleen for some time now. I don’t want her to go in, but she works in mental healthcare and wants to help, so I kind of commend her but still worry.

What other steps should record labels, music streaming platforms, and other music industry entities be taking to help struggling musicians through this time?

Honestly, I’m not sure, but I really love that Bandcamp does #BandcampFriday where all proceeds go to the artist for a day, and Spotify has tip and donation options.

What is the best way fans can support you financially right now? Buying vinyl and CDs, downloading and streaming your music, buying merch, supporting your Patreon page or other crowd sourcing platform (if you use one), or some other means? Is there a particularly cool piece of merch you’d like to highlight?

You can get all my music at shamir.bandcamp.com, and stuff for my label at accidentalpopstarrecords.com.

www.shamir.bandcamp.com/

www.facebook.com/Shamir326/

www.twitter.com/ShamirBailey

www.instagram.com/shamir326/

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