Lights, Camera, Zoom

By: Layla Hussein

Bronx, NY

BLOOD RUSHING. HEAD POUNDING. The rehearsals, sleepless nights, and vibrant stages consumed Meg Talay, a 29-year-old musician and singer-songwriter, before the premiere of Broadway musical “Hadestown.” 

Talay’s first show was March 11th, 2020. News regarding the pandemic filled the air, giving performers one question: Will Broadway shut down? Despite this, performers were confident the show would go on. Wash your hands, wear a mask, repeat. 

In the same week, 22-year-old Harvard graduate Allison Scharmann was the chair of the arts section in The Harvard Crimson. Life was a consistent routine for Scharmann reporting on arts and culture in Boston, covering local arts-related events on campus, and publishing all online content. “It felt like a space where I could be myself ,” shared Scharmann, a space that could not be reimagined. 

Then, the pandemic happened. 

The arts went virtual. The transition was rocky, with growing concern for one’s health and career. No one knew how long quarantine would be, but artists had to prepare for anything. 

“I was concerned about my health … and my family. It was frightening … when things started to cancel,” Talay said.

Scharmann added, “It was challenging to keep the same ef-ficiency. … On top of that, I don’t get to see my friends every week and share snacks around the table while we edit.” 

Hannah Lemmons, a singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, was fortunate for the free time she had for songwriting, as well as commissions for original songs and covers during the pandemic. 

“I just have more of a balanced lifestyle overall compared to pre-pandemic. … Now, I have become more productive,” said Lemmons.

Artists around the world, especially artists of color, used their art to express their frustrations by inter-ecting with social justice, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. 

For musicians like Talay, there was an awareness surrounding their identity. As a queer artist, Talay mentioned, “Being visibly queer and politically queer in support of the trans movement and the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted me and how much it means to be who I am publicly.”

The world is slowly transitioning to a state of normalcy in 2021. The future of the arts industry is unknown, but with the lessons learned and new mediums explored from the pandemic, artists are ready for anything headed their way.

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