Hello everyone! Welcome to Unheard Gems where we have always focused on the future of music. Right now with the global pandemic, everyone has a lot of changes to deal with and every individual, business, industry, county, state, and country is dealing with this in different ways. As a fan of music, particularly emerging artists, I wanted to reach out and see how artists I love all over the world are doing and where they see music now and where it can go.
Stream music, message your favorite artists, pay for online shows if applicable and if you can: for more information and ways you can help musicians during this time we have left links to sites at the bottom of this interview, thank you.
Unheard Gems: We have Mathew V from Canada, Mothica from the United States, LissA from Germany, Sammi Constantine/ Airports? from Australia, and Huntar from the UK. How are you doing overall and how are you doing today? Are you with family, friends, a partner, alone?
Mothica (USA): I’m back home with my parents in Oklahoma, which is the longest time I’ve been home since graduating high school. It’s been nice to be around my family, but being isolated definitely highlights a lot of body image issues for me. I’ve found ways to cope though.
Mathew V (Canada): I feel very lucky to be with my partner and to have my health. Counting my blessings for sure.
Huntar (UK): Hey, yeah I’m all good, thank you, sat on the balcony in my apartment listening to the outer banks soundtrack with my girlfriend and our 4-month-old puppy who thinks we have quit our lives for him.
LissA (Germany): I’m doing really good. I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend and his kids who get homeschooled by us. The weather has been amazing so it also has been a lot of bbq, wine and chilling on my balcony.
Sammi Constantine (Australia): I’m going great, thanks for asking! Things have been really busy for me! So that’s been great.
Unheard Gems: What has been the biggest change for you personally or as an artist since the pandemic and a form of shelter in place began?
Mothica (USA): My tour with Yoshi Flower was canceled, and some music video shoots. But I’m able to eat and not lose my apartment, so I’m glad I’m able to stay afloat.
Mathew V (Canada): I was right at the start of my tour when all of this happened. Everything came to a sprinting halt. The biggest change has been having to free up my live calendar for the foreseeable future.
Huntar (UK): Ermmm it’s not changed too much, still writing songs and finishing album 2 but I’d say I’ve had more time to respond to fans and connect with them because there’s just a lot of time. I decided to do a 30 day challenge thing like everyone’s doing but instead, I’d cover every song I’d pick.
LissA (Germany): I decided to become a full time artist so I can travel the world and work with different people all over the place. This is now not possible at all, which is really sad. But I used to work alone in the studio before I chose to do music full time, so I’m actually used to it and it is not that big of a change for me.
Sammi Constantine (Australia): I think one of the biggest challenges during such a strange time is not knowing what the future holds. I don’t know how far ahead to plan. Creatively I’ve experienced a bit of writhing and I’ve felt fairly unmotivated. But luckily I already have 2020 planned out! Every month I have something to share this year!
Unheard Gems: As an artist what are the challenges you are already beginning to face or what do you see possibly becoming a challenge as we continue to take measures to keep everyone healthy or getting the care they need?
Mothica (USA): Live music being rescheduled until next year is really detrimental to a lot of people’s jobs and livelihood. Being a musician can feel isolated as it is, so being able to connect with listeners in real life is one of the only things that make it all feel real. A lot of artists are releasing facetime, zoom or iPhone music videos that are creative and fun, but I do think they are limiting and unable to tell the story of a song.
Mathew V (Canada): I think a lot of live musicians create their livelihood from live music and I’m unsure what the rebound to that is going to look like.
Huntar (UK): The big one is I can’t do my tour which is obviously the worst feeling ever. Music provides people with good feelings I feel and live music especially, shows are so important I think this will maybe make people realize that when this is all over.
LissA (Germany): I think we as artist are in a great position to entertain people, comfort them with our songs and words when they feel lonely and connect people through our music. I truly think being an artist at this time ist great, especially if your focus is not on live gigs and you make most of your money through streaming anyway.
Sammi Constantine (Australia): It’s tough because I’d love to be able to play all the new music and for the first few months not being able to go out and find inspiration was hard but it’s better we all stay safe and get the hard work done sooner rather than later !
Unheard Gems: Rather than think about the negatives, where do you see music going, what are the good things that are coming from this time, if you think there are any, and what do you see the future looking like for the music industry?
Mothica (USA): A lot of music coming out right now is blurring the line of genre, which I love. There’s also a heavy emphasis on branding and imagery, which is a plus for me since I am so visually driven.
Mathew V (Canada): It’s really quite hard to predict where things go from here. We have decided to resume my album release calendar, and I am also working on new music remotely. My priority is that everyone stays safe and healthy, and I am keeping myself busy with music while doing that.
Huntar (UK): Ermmm I think with Spotify/Apple/sound loud etc I feel we were already in an era of bedroom artists who can release music from their sofa/bed, i certainly started out like that too so I think it’s going to inspire people to maybe take the leap into putting their music out.
LissA (Germany): I don’t think the industry is going to change much. In other organizations things will change dramatically, people now understand that Homeoffice works just fine and might become more liberal with that. For us however, the way we work is just the same. People are used to working together and being creative without even talking to each other (besides texting).
Sammi Constantine (Australia): I think the future of the music industry is very unknown but in terms of some positives that I’m staying focused on.... mostly just the idea that during this time people have nothing better to do than listen to music. Everyone on the Internet is looking for a new and exciting thing to explore. I just hope my music hits one person with the same energy it gives me to write and put it out
Unheard Gems: What is your call to action right now? What do you think other artists should be doing or are doing that is great? What should fans be doing to support you and the artists they love? Is there any cause or group you want to promote at this time?
Mothica (USA): I don’t have any advice for a call to action necessarily. I think everyone handles stress in a different way. This is a universal situation we’re in. I know some friends are having a hard time writing, and I think self-forgiveness is the most important thing to focus on right now.
As for fans supporting artists, there’s a lot! Purchasing music on Bandcamp. Sharing music to your story. Adding it to playlists. Covering songs. Interacting with posts beyond “liking” it. Even taking the time to tell the artist what their music means to them is helpful. I’ve started doing that myself and it feels really good even if they don’t see it or reply.
Mathew V (Canada): Ultimately, there are so many people struggling, and so many people struggling far worse than I am. I’m hoping that everyone tops up on their empathy and looks towards how we can keep each other safe and supported at this time. Listen to what the officials are saying and smile if/when you can.
Huntar (UK): I feel like writing a song a day/covering a song a day if you’re a musician will keep your mind right and hopefully bring you a lot of happiness. I think sharing that with fans will provide them with some hope and happiness too.
LissA (Germany): Please stay safe, don’t let the virus strike again for a „2nd wave“ (that’s how we call it), stay responsible and everything is going to be good.
Sammi Constantine (Australia): My call to action is keep my head up and don’t get stuck inside the media and news. There is still so much good in the world. EVERYONE needs music so my plan is to just keep releasing!
Unheard Gems: Lastly, plug your projects! We love you and if you have anything you are working on we want to support you!
Mothica (USA): My song “everything at once” is out June 5th and my album will be out in full in July. Thank you!
Mathew V (Canada): My song “Don’t Let Me Go” is out now!
Huntar (UK): So I guess to tie everything all in this 30 day challenge I decided to put all 30 covers to a vote and make an EP out of it so yeah go to my socials @HUNTARMUSIC to get your copy for free
LissA (Germany): Got my new track coming June 5th, would love some love on that!
Sammi Constantine (Australia): I just released a new single called “Trigger Heavy” and the music video is dropping May 26th so I’m pumping that! Hopefully it hits a nerve with someone. "'Trigger Heavy' is a hard-hitting reality check for people who continuously self-project their insecurities and bitterness onto those around them. It is about finally standing up for myself, after a toxic whirlwind of emotional manipulation - taking back what I rightfully own and what I made for myself, without the fear of being able to say no.”
More about these amazing artists:
USA: Mothica: Mothica is the audio / visual project of McKenzie Ellis. Like a moth, nocturnal yet drawn to the light, her lyrics balance clever wordplay doting on intimate and often dark life experiences. Her somber song about self-empowerment, “No One” reached No. 6 on the US Viral Spotify Charts. Soon after, she released the smash hit “Clear” with Canadian producer Pusher. The song currently sits at 14 million plays on Spotify and put her on the radar for everyone from Spotify execs to Teen Vogue. https://www.instagram.com/mothica/
Canada: Mathew V: Only 22, Mathew has accomplished a lot since returning home to Vancouver. his debut single “Tell Me Smooth” went top 40 on Canadian Radio (Hot AC/AC) for 18 weeks. Mathew has written with the likes of Dan Mangan, DiRTY RADiO and on stage he’s opened up for Betty Who, Ria Mae, Hanson, Daya, MAGIC! and more. His debut album “The Fifth” came out in the spring of 2018 and charted in both Canada and the US. https://www.instagram.com/mathewvmusic/
UK: Huntar: HUNTAR is the performance alias of the British musician signed with Good Soldier, praised from outlets like BBC Radio 1 in England and KCRW in the U.S., after releasing songs such as "Anyway" and "4AM," with the latter landing him on Billboard's emerging artists chart. Now also homed in America by Glassnote Records HUNTAR gave 2017 his 15 track mixtape ‘Your Favourite Worst Mistake’ which acclaimed millions of plays. https://www.instagram.com/huntarmusic/
Australia: Sammi Constantine: Sammi Constantine is set to make a statement with her unique dark pop sound and intricate lyrics telling the stories of her self battles. Sammi has written with influential names in the industry including, Tommy Brown (USA), Warryn Campbell (USA), Just A Gent, Woodes, Elk Road, The Kite String Tangle, Mashd N Kutcher, Glades, Dylan Nash and many more. With an extensive catalogue of collaborations, Sammi has worked on records that have been released via multiple well-known labels such as, Universal Music Australia, Sony Music Australia, Circus Records, and Artist Intelligence Agency. https://www.instagram.com/sammiconstantine/
Germany: LissA: The word ‘organic’ best describes LissA’s approach and ascent. The fast-rising singer-songwriter isn’t rigidly stuck to one sound. Instead she pursues a multitude of different flavours that express the full range of her musical tastes. You’re just as likely to hear LissA release one of her downtempo, beautifully fragile singles like “Zimt” or haunting atmospheric songs like “Not” as you are to hear her collaborate with a world-famous dance music producer. She writes all her songs on her guitar, these creations later finding their best-fitting style and context without too much force. https://www.instagram.com/lissa_music/
How you Can Help:
Jazz Foundation of America: https://jazzfoundation.org/covid19fund/
Article and Interview by Hannah Schneider