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by Tori Sharp

In the run-up to her virtual tour, we talk to Jade Bird about the collaborative community of Covid-19.

Having cancelled her tour and submitting to an inestimable number of weeks in lockdown, when Jade Bird was offered the chance to ‘un-cancel’ a show, she jumped at it. We caught up a few days before the live concert and spoke about the upcoming project and how she hopes the music world and industry will progress after all of this is over!

When quarantine first started, the process of converting all publicity and music to an online platform was daunting; Jade tells me that she finds live streams quite terrifying and that for her first one her heart was in her mouth the whole time, “there is something so alien about the process.” But as it went on, she was able to find a happy medium of collaborating with other artists and bringing together a community on Instagram. This communal aspect of working together with friends and fellow musicians is one that Jade finds particularly comforting. “It was such a nice way of growing a community of artists in this time, and it’s not in this way of only trying to promote yourself, because it feels so wrong to be doing that at a time like this, it feels nice to have conversations about how we are all dealing with the situation as friends and songwriters.” This feeling is echoed when we talk about her relationship with social media and how it is a difficult field to navigate when you are promoting music. We agree that self-promotion for the sake of self-promotion is really off-putting and that avoiding the narcissistic sway of social media is necessary to try and stay sane online! “I really hope that this communal line of communication continues after lockdown and people don’t restart the one-way rhetoric of ‘look how good my life is’… I hope that there is some community that can be brought out after this time.”

The idea of the virtual gig was conceived with Microsoft and their RE:Surface project, which aims to allow performers to reach their fans in a way that was previously deemed impossible. Jade tells me after their first rehearsal that “It is almost like you’re playing live, I put my all into it and make the performance as I would do on stage… I had a little bit of the same adrenaline that I feel when I play live.” The project itself has also reminded Jade of what she is missing most whilst being stuck at home, the feeling of touring and making music with her band who are her “total best friends” and looking to the future makes her so excited “to see her friends and play a gig and to make music and memories again.”

Catch Jade tonight at 8:30 pm BST for her un-cancelled performance.


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