The live music industry simmered out when COVID-19 first rolled over the country in March, leaving city streets eerily quiet, and the new normal for many artists became online performing for what felt like an eternity.
Now, eight months later, performers are getting a bit of a boost from the NSW government through its Great Southern Nights music program as they are steadily returning to the normalcy.
The program, which has enabled 1,000 COVID-19-safe gigs to be held across the statethrough November, has enabled singer/songwriter Lisa Richards to perform in Dubbo this weekend at The Establishment Bar as part of her I Got a Story tour.
"It will be my first time visiting Dubbo and I'm really excited about it," Lisa said.
"My husband is coming with me, so we are planning on also doing some sightseeing while we're there."
Lisa is a Canberra based singer-songwriter whose music is predominantly known for being of the Indie Folk genre, but Lisa says she also dabbles in country, blues and a bit of jazz.
For the last 22 years, Lisa has been living in Austin and New York but decided to move back upon working on her most recent album, I Got a Story.
Although Lisa is an artist know for writing and singing her own songs, she says she will also be doing a couple of covers of songs that she absolutely loves on the night and that she thinks the audience would want to listen to.
The performance will also be an opportunity for Lisa to showcase songs from her upcoming album, I Got a Story, which is almost a biography of her life.
"The album is a snapshot of stories. Mine and other people's," she said.
"Everybody has a story. My story is one of early neglect, sexual abuse, very early drug use. As a toddler, I was given antipsychotic drugs for several years. This led me to a life of great sadness, despair, depression, seeking out drugs and booze, unable to hold down a job and desperately trying to make people love me.
"Once I trashed my life thoroughly, I went to a drug and alcohol rehab in Sydney at 26-years-old and began the long 'hero's journey' you find me on now.
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"I began singing in my twenties, and like most people, I hated the sound of my voice. It's taken me years to understand that my opinion of my voice is irrelevant. It's not why I sing. I sing because it liberates me. I don't have to love my voice to sing.
"I didn't pick up a guitar until I was 30. I was crippled by a depression that told me I would never amount to anything. Within each of those stories, is a story, and each person in my story has a story. We are, as a people, storytellers. And there are so many stories in the world and so many sides to every story."
Lisa said her music is an art form that "almost gives others permission to acknowledge situations they may have gone through, and lets them know that they are not alone".
Lisa said, like all artists, she had to take her work online during COVID-19 and was excited to finally be getting back out there.
"As an independent artist, I never know where the money is going to come from," she says.
"I just start taking steps in a definite direction and see what unfolds. It's the way I have lived my life. I have learned not to always discount that initial spark of an idea. Not to sweat the little details like...how will I pay for it?".
Although Lisa agrees that COVID-19 has provided performers with challenge after challenge, there has been some positives come out of it, at least for her.
"In a roundabout way, the restrictions that have been put in place due to COVID-19 have allowed me to now be performing across more places back home.
"Because performers aren't able to perform overseas, we're picking up more gigs in our states, and I think that's a great thing."
The event will run from 4 pm this Sunday at the Establishment Bar, Dubbo.
Tickets to the event are free, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions and limitations on numbers, those wanting to attend are being advised to book a table before the day and will need to claim a ticket.
To find out more information or to book your ticket online visit www.establishmentbardubbo.com.au/book-my-table.
Lisa's music can also be played on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/album/3w6kTb1lfqCXDHzfjhvNL7.
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