Life as an up-and-coming Athens artist certainly has its highs and lows, but during a pandemic it can become seemingly difficult to make a name for yourself. COVID-19 has had a silver lining in some ways for musicians as it has slowed the world down, increasing music streams and the time to create music itself.
Local artist Daniel Hardin has seen the change in pace as a musician during the pandemic. While Hardin continues to compose, he draws inspiration from the gloom of the world to connect to people on an emotional level, rather than in person.
“I have no more shows, which was how I made most of my money and got kind of locally my name out there and was able to make a lot of connections with people,” Daniel Hardin, a University of Georgia alum, said. “That really slowed that down. I have also had a lot more time to write and record.”
Most Athens stages are not scheduling live shows for the time being, including Caledonia Lounge, Georgia Theatre, and The 40 Watt Club. Hardin’s three year streak of performing in Athens was abruptly stopped in March.
While the pandemic has shut down opportunities for performing in Athens, the pandemic has served as a muse for some artists.
“COVID[-19] came up in ‘Coughing Blood’ in my last album,” Logan Bryant, who goes by the stage name Anthoni, said.
Anthoni is a reclusive artist looking to make a name for himself in the Athens pop scene. His debut album, “In Retrospect,” was released over the quarantine period and alludes to the state of the world in the summer of 2020.
Both Anthoni and Hardin are not focused on performing now, but rather building a following via social media platforms.
“I would love to grow in the community of Athens, but for now, while COVID[-19] is going on, word of mouth and TikTok it is,” Anthoni said. Anthoni is looking to use the up-and-coming social media, TikTok, to spread the word about his music. While COVID-19 is in full swing, he believes the algorithm of the For You Page could help land him a decent fanbase.
As for Hardin, his music outreach is all online right now. Hardin said he capitalized on this opportunity by debuting exclusive singles on his Patreon. Patreon is a website where content creators can offer a subscription to access unreleased projects such as singles and EPs.
“I basically wrote an album's worth of music [over COVID-19] and chopped it up into two EPs that are similar to each other,” Hardin said. “The one coming soon has a more acoustic vibe and the one after is more funky and electric.”
COVID-19 has uprooted opportunities to network and grow in a small town as a musician. While the future remains unclear, Athens artists are doing all that they can, using online platforms to spread their work and inspire others to do the same.