I’m keeping my music alive amid COVID-19

When Seun Bankole, fondly known as SB Live, agreed to honour the invitation to perform at the Owambe Saturday on Africa Magic, he did not envisage the reaction he would generate online, especially since the show is on TV one.

He set a precedent as the most engaging act to have performed on the show- with an overwhelming stage presence that also succeeded in setting Twitter on fire for three hours. That was indeed a remarkable feat in the history of the show, it was said.

Speaking with The Nation, SB Live, a crossover live music band artiste, said live music has become more important as a unifying force than ever in today’s fractured world.

There is no gain-saying that COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the musical world even though online music consumption has risen, but it seemed there is no stopping the musical act – it was quite interesting to see how the artiste and show organisers took the live music gig-turned concert and musical conversation to the social media.

This, he said, was deliberate. The three-hour long performance, which got millions of his existing and new fans talking online was an utterly engaging experience as fans wished it never stopped as evident in the countless tweets on twitter.

“As the grim effects of the outbreak becomes clearer by the day, what I meant to ensure was  that what my audience would be listening to offers a comforting reminder of the world, we suddenly left behind mere months ago,” he said.

With public gatherings curtailed, concerts, tours and festivals currently ruled out, prospective musicians and shows have also found ways of harnessing the immense potential of the virtual space.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to us all, especially live band musicians, but we are rising to the challenge of COVID-19, providing musical, emotional and cultural succour for Nigerians and all those quarantined. I am confident that we will all pull through it and come out smiling,” SB Live said.

Recounting how COVID-19 wreaked havoc on his business, the musician said he and his band were supposed to be playing sold-out dates in America, Portugal, Spain and France at the start of his European tour when pandemic broke out. “This meant all their shows were cancelled. But instead of taking to the stage on Madrid, I and my band decided to sing our hearts out to millions of Nigerians, reaching out to the public, and are happy we even gained a newer audience, especially online.”

When asked what defines him most as a person, the musician said: ”Music drives identity more than their hometown, politics, race or religion. The only things that are a bigger force than music are friends/family and pastimes.”

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