This lockdown period is tough on everyone, not least creative people who would normally be out performing, entertaining, sharing and creating. SoI recently sat down with singer-songwriter Josh Taerk to find out how he has been affected by these restrictive times, what he is doing to get through it and what lessons he will take with him when we come out of the other side.
Q: So, how does it feel to be a musician, someone who is used to being out in the big, wide world creating and entertaining during these challenging times?
Josh: I think this has been a challenging time for everyone, and in times like this music helps us heal. During one of my livestreams, someone commented that the songs were lifting their spirits and that meant the world to me. Here I was, doing something I loved to do, that made me happy, and I was able to pass that feeling on to someone else. There is no substitute for live entertainment, and it’s a major part of why I love what I do. Being able to make that person to person connection on stage, feel the energy in the room, and the reaction to the songs; those things are what bring us together, and it was amazing to see that we could still create that space through a livestream living room concert.
Q: And what outlet have you been using to keep in touch with your audience and perhaps reach new listeners?
Josh: I’ve been using Instagram and Facebook to stream most of my concerts and continue raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts. Recently, I did a YouTube Live interview/performance, I’ve been making playlists on Spotify, and my little sister recently got me into TikTok. I’ve been having so much fun making those videos.
Q: You have been doing on-line gigs to help raise money and awareness for a number of charities, tell me more about them?
Josh: I started writing music because I connected with music as a way to make sense of life and the things I was feeling. Music is really powerful in that way, it connects us with ourselves, and through that connects us with others. So, when the lockdown started to take place and so many people’s livelihoods were affected by these unprecedented circumstances, I wanted to use what I had, music, as a way to not only reach out to people, but also provide relief through fundraising so that we could get food, supplies, and support where they’re needed the most. So far, my brothers and I have performed fundraising concerts / livestreams in support of NHS Charities, Nordoff Robbins, Feeding America, Food Banks Canada, and Canadian Red Cross, with more on the way.
Q: Has this current lockdown made you think more about how you might market your music in the future?
Josh: It’s definitely reinforced just how valuable social media and streaming services are. It’s not just a way to spread your music or get your message out there, it’s about building a community and engaging with people all over the world through the things that bring us together; music, art, performance, etc. I’ve realized just how much of an opportunity I have to reach so many people during a time when we’re all encouraged to stay home.
Q: Has there been any personal upside to this enforced isolation, any new skills or revelations, anything you understand or appreciate more?
Josh: Overall, I’ve really enjoyed staying in one place for a while with my family. I’m very close with them and we’ve had a ton of time to spend together over the last couple months. On top of the livestreams, it’s been a really creative time for me too. I’ve been writing a ton, my siblings and I have been developing screenplays together, I’ve been contributing to Essentially Pop Magazine and Pop Culturalist as a freelance writer. My brothers Ryan and Matt, and I also decided to release a song we wrote as a trio, and enter it in the Canadian Family’s Got Talent competition hosted by City TV and Breakfast Television. The song is called “Every Little Piece” and we made a YouTube video of it you can watch here –
Q: And when you finally do get back into some sort of gig-normalcy, what to you think the legacy of this experience will be.
Josh: Every experience that we have in life changes us, and hopefully for the better. I don’t know what’s on the other side of this pandemic, and I don’t know what the new normal is going to look like. I’ve always believed that life is an adventure, and I feel that whatever the future looks like past this point will be something we’ll figure out together. For me, I’ve always loved playing live gigs and, if it’s even possible, I know that I’ll enjoy them that much more moving forward.