Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins should have been on the road touring with her upcoming album Italian Ice for the last month. Instead she has been stuck at home in Nashville doing weekly live streamed concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This streaming process has been aided by her incredibly supportive fans via crowd funding platform Patreon as Atkins ramps up towards the albums official release May 30.
Speaking to City Hub from Nashville amidst the lockdown Atkins said, “I’ve kind of disassociated with the pandemic, particularly all of the bad stuff and weirdness that is coming along with it.” For Atkins this strange and historic time is reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 crime film, Goodfellas. “I kind of think of it like the movie Goodfellas when they’re all in jail but they’re cooking really good food, it kind of reminds me of that. My husband and I have been staying in the house, cooking tons of food.”
Conveniently for Atkins her husband has actually been her “secret weapon” in this new live streaming world for musicians and artists. Atkins husband is a sound technician who has been able to assist her in bringing her live streaming endeavors to a level which would have otherwise been unattainable had she been going it alone.
Together Atkins says she and her husband are relishing having these weekly live streams to work towards each week.
“Every week these streams give us a project to figure out the best way to present these songs. I live for entertaining, my favourite thing to do is to make something out of nothing… Working with the restrictions that are currently in place forces you to be more creative and in fact almost makes it easier to be creative.”
However, none of this would be possible with out the support and backing of her fanbase. just before COVID-19 hit Atkins launched her Patreon page to help fund her music career and support her whilst touring.
“I mulled it over for a year before I launched it because I wanted it to be right. I wanted to offer something really cool in exchange, so I kept thinking about old comic book fan clubs and the cool stuff you’d get from those,” explained Atkins. “I’m a visual artists as well so I found a way to combine my illustrations with my music and launched the Patreon two weeks before we were supposed to go on tour, which was coincidently when the lockdown happened.”
Patreon is a crowd funding platform which allows fans to support creative artists with small monthly donations. The platform was built on the idea of patronage for renaissance artists which Atkins believes is making a resurgence in the current climate, “people are finally coming around to understand that without grass roots support from fans artists can’t do what they do. Patreon has created this nice ecosystem that is like it was back in the renaissance days. A group of a few hundred people putting in $3 a piece can totally change everything.”
Ahead of next weekend’s official album launch Atkins told City Hub fans can expect a big party like atmosphere during the live stream.
“When the record comes out we’re going to bring out all of the stops. All of the guys that played on the record will have a little hand in the guest spots and there might even be one crazy special guest, but I can’t reveal who just yet. But I can tell you I’m definitely going to buy myself a cake to celebrate.”
Streaming every Saturday at www.smarturl.it/NatkinsFunhouse