The Philippine Times recognises the struggles of local artists in Australia and around the world in 2020. The pandemic has impacted many Filipino-Australian artists and musicians in an industry which relies heavily on live music to succeed.
The Philippine Times interviewed Melbourne-based Filipino-Australian artists Karen Esco about their latest work and activities from home, as well as some of the learnings from her lockdown experience this year.
Karen Esco was raised in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and fell in love with music at a young age. Poetry was her initial interest as a child and as she matured, she found an appreciation for the art of songwriting and performing. In her early years, she was a regular front act in the Filipino community, opening for artists such as Sarah Geronimo, Christian Bautista and Freddie Aguilar.
She idolised singer songwriters such as Jeremy Passion, a YouTube star from San Francisco and was lucky enough to land a gig opening for his very first Melbourne Tour run.
In 2010 she released her first EP. Life, Love & The Music. After that release she landed an opening act for AJ Rafael’s sold out Melbourne tour. In 2016 she started a band called SOULthentic. For the past 3.5 years they have been playing in heavy rotation around Melbourne’s vibrant eateries, local festivals and private events, until the pandemic hit Melbourne in March this year.
Karen shares with The Philippine Times how she has made the most of the situation to plan for the future.
1) How has COVID-19 affected your career?
Pre Covid our band SOULthentic was gaining momentum and being booked quite frequently for live music. Due to Covid several wedding bookings were subsequently cancelled / postponed. All pending regular gigs at Melbourne eateries and local festivals were cancelled.
As a solo artist, COVID has made me look closely at furthering a career in recording – the time spent at home has definitely reinvigorated my creative side and new music has been a product of that.
2) What are some of the things that you’ve been doing during the pandemic?
Keeping creative and staying positive and productive has been the ultimate goal during COVID. Using this time to improve my skills, learn new music and write more songs are what I’ve been focused on.
3) What are your hopes for the future?
Live music is where my band flourishes and where our passion lies. With our industry being hit so hard, we’re anxious about the future ahead of us and are interested to see what live music will look like in a COVID normal environment.
Only time will really tell but honing in on our skills as individuals and seeking new music to learn is the best plan of action for now.
Watch Karen Esco perform a popular OPM track:
Follow SOULthentic: http://www.facebook.com/SOULthenic.au