Chaquis Maliq The EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band at Charleston Pour House 2019. Photographer Brenda Peart.
Longing for the day when I can have an in-person college tour. Just me and my ensemble, the EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band. Will this dream become a reality? Perhaps. My first college tour started in 2020, right when the country, well the world shut down. It was as if sci-fi took over (I’m still wondering why sci-fi isn’t called semi or sorta sci-fi. Ha!). I played for Winthrop University, Bowling Green University-Firelands, University of St. Thomas-Twin Cities, and Stockton University. Every single show was virtual. Was it and is it a challenge? Yes it was and is! But now I have a designated space specifically for streaming live.
A lot of artists suffer from anxiety in general. Some are worse than others. As for me it is extreme and I cannot handle stress well. But luckily Neon Entertainment has been a big help when it comes to the virtual shows. Ironically, traveling causes a great deal of stress, but I love what I do, and it is very rewarding to be able to heal and relieve stress from those who want to be serenaded collectively. Does this make my anxiety go away? No. Not at all. But another thing that helps alleviate COVID-19 induced stress, is when colleges request Q & A, or comment throughout the performance. For me it lets me know that students are really digging the live stream, and want to feel a part of it. Just as I would do if I were there in-person with them. I do understand that some colleges book musicians like me to play during lunch and study-time, and I have played some of those. So, I do make sure that I play laid-back for easy-listening, and throw in some words of encouragement and light storytelling.
So far in 2021, I’ve played for Wheaton College. These students made me feel so alive with their comments! Another college wanted me to play in-person, but I had not yet been vaccinated and of course I was terribly afraid to fly during this time. I am fully vaccinated now, but then there’s that new mutation called Delta, that just wants to make this pandemic worse. So, let’s manifest some virtual shows, while being masked-up and safe in our separate locations. We can get through this together!
Thanks for reading!