Emerging Musicians Eye Album-Release Schedules Amid Pandemic

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“People all over the world have been purchasing my record,” she said. “I’ve gotten orders from Italy, Japan, Hawaii. It struck me as particularly surreal to have people from Italy ordering the new record amidst what’s happening in their country. It gave me a sense of connectedness through music—of everyone’s humanness throughout all of this.”

The other major concern for artists pivoting to online performances is live audio. Chakarji remains confident that the Bronx Music House quartet will create vibrant arrangements of his sprawling, layered compositions, but effectively sharing those arrangements proves challenging. As countless artists have begun livestreaming their performances, Chakarji leans on video releases, so he can manipulate the audio before posting them.

“When you’re livestreaming,” he said, “you can’t really control the sound, if the percussion is too loud, or the vocals, or there is a signal issue.”

For Gould, the hurdle is part of the creative process: “That’s a challenge I’d be happy to face. I might even welcome that, given the circumstance. [Online performance] is so different from the sound of the album, and could be another take on the music that’s recorded.”

Despite challenges in navigating the quarantine’s rough waters, these emerging artists have chosen to stay the course. Crumbly pins his hopes for Rise on the music community’s ability to weather the pandemic, and Gould works to schedule remote interviews and podcast appearances to increase the visibility of Elegant Traveler.

Chakarji plans to continue releasing online content from his studio setup at Bronx Music House, as well as singles from a session he recorded in 2018. While he concedes the average listener consumes music via the curated playlist, he said he believes in the enduring power of a debut album.

“People who listen to jazz, world, instrumental,” he said, “they really care about music. They still listen to full albums. [Especially now,] they need music. I have all this music—I might as well share it.” DB

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July 2021
Julian Lage
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