Before COVID-19, AJ Abdullah would perform sets in coffee shops, but he said he likes making music more than performing. Quarantine has allowed him to increase his following on Spotify and Apple Music.
In early March, many students and local musicians had all of their scheduled performances canceled and were left functionally unemployed after the city of Austin restricted large gatherings due to the coronavirus.
When the “Tennis Fan” singer initially received word about South by Southwest, Martha Betty Glenn Brown wanted to travel to Texas and perform in spite of the cancellation. But as global fears about the coronavirus pandemic heightened, the traveling musician, who goes by the pseudonym Banoffee, made the difficult choice to return to Australia.
For around 100 shows in 2019, Nik Parr leaned into a microphone, fingers feverishly playing the piano with a saxophone strapped across his chest. His three bandmates played alongside him, performing as The Selfless Lovers.