For The SA Entertainment Industry, The Music Will Play On Through Innovation

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it.

Now, as we move into the next phases of lockdown and more of the economy starts opening up, Strawberry Lips speaks to some of South Africa’s most well-known DJ’s on their experience of quarantine and their thoughts on what the ‘new normal’ may look like for the music and entertainment industry. 

It’s safe to say that music will never die. It’s the feel-good factor in our lives and in the blood of all South Africans. It’s one of those forms of expression that bring people together and transports listeners to another realm where daily stresses and worries melt away with not a second thought. We would all agree that it’s imperative that we keep the rhythm of Mother Africa alive.

“In our commitment to support DJ’s and events that connect women, Strawberry Lips invested in a series of live streaming sessions during lockdown with sets by some of SA’s top DJ’s. So, while the beats kept on coming, the platform allowed us to give our local talent a virtual stage to perform, engage with fans and prosper in a meaningful way”, says Vanessa Nel, Marketing Manager for Strawberry Lips.

On the initial news about lockdown most DJ’s were shocked and concerned about what that meant for business as their events call for audience participation. So, what have DJ’s been doing to express their talents and engage with their fans –  and how do they see the landscape evolving post pandemic?

DJ Buhle has been ripping the decks with fans on social media, sharing her latest mixes and doing live streams. Having participated in Strawberry Lips’ #INHOUSE Sessions she says, “It’s a great platform that has kept DJ’s relevant”. For DJ Buhle music is therapeutic, and she believes that in the post-pandemic world where social distancing is likely to continue “virtual parties are the way to go”.

DJ Ash agrees that music is a great escape but adds that, “music has also been proven to boost moods and health”. During lockdown she has been doing recorded live streams like the Strawberry Lips #INHOUSE Sessions, as well as on her own social media pages with a call to donate to selected charities. She says, “Virtual events are giving DJ’s the opportunity to practice their trade whilst still bringing people together. Post lockdown, events may be smaller at first but will eventually grow to normal levels again”.

DJ Andee is not only a DJ, but also an event coordinator and founder of the Same Sex Saturday (SSS) event. During lockdown she has continued to engage with her followers as a DJ by live streaming sets on her Instagram account as well as for different collectives that host events online. Of initiatives like the Strawberry Lips #INHOUSE Sessions she says, “They are important because they keep our followers engaged whilst also expanding our audience reach. They keep us creative and excited to be on the decks again, and they provide a source of income in an uncertain time”. Post lockdown she sees events taking some time to return to normal; however, after spending so much time stuck at home, she sees people truly appreciating event spaces.

Tenoceans says that this is the time to be innovative and think of ways to generate other income streams. She says that the Strawberry Lips #INHOUSE Sessions was a wonderful opportunity to not only bring female DJ’s together but to share their love for dance and music. “I believe that music can be a healing force. Music has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress, and it can definitely expand creativity”. During lockdown, Tenoceans has been hosting her own live streams and started a podcast with Boys Club ZA – a movement pioneered by three women with a budding passion for dance music. She doesn’t see public gatherings being permitted for the next year or so, meaning that “events” as we once knew them will cease to exist for a while; “we as creatives are having to showcase our talents virtually”.

Overall, what do we deduct from this? Whilst DJ’s agree that music is the answer to keeping spirits high and that they have all had to find new and novel ways to stay connected, not everyone has the same views on what to expect in future. Tentative plans are being made in this transformative time as everyone around the globe assesses the situation day by day. We are leaning on each other more than ever to survive, and South African innovativeness is shining through. Undeniably, sweet melodies are the glue that keep us all in tune.

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