Finding their tune: Local artists navigate through the pandemic

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Whether playing softly in the background as you manuever through your day or full volume while you’re singing in the shower, music is a part of so many lives every single day.

Artists who create the soundtracks to our lives have been impacted by the pandemic just as everyone else, particularly small, local artists who depend on crowds at local businesses.

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Wilmington Musician Jarrett Raymond has been playing gigs in the area for five years, building relationships with business owners along the way. He explains that when small businesses are hurting, artists are too.

“Sure enough, whenever restaurants starting opening and a few bars starting opening up again, I managed to kind of build myself up there again,” Raymond said.

When the pandemic first impacted the Cape Fear, Raymond says there were two months of nothing. Luckily, in the beginning of the year he started getting into voice acting and that floated him through the many months without being able to play live shows.

An essential piece of his life, he has been able to reflect on things happening in the world and translate it all into music.

“Art is a healing method,” Raymond said. “It’s something that humans are the only ones that can do. It’s something that we cherish, we value.”

Value that’s been realized through the pandemic as people turn to music, and other forms of art, as a type of therapy.

Raymond says Wilmington is the place to be to create art, one reason why 23-year-old New Yorker Jackie Evans made her way down south after losing her jobs because of the pandemic.

“I just decided to come here on a whim and it’s been really, really wonderful,” Evans said.

Fresh out of college with a degree in theater performance, Evans says she felt her career had started to take off. She’d been working in a few theaters and even landed a job as an entertainer on a cruise ship, but after only 10 days on the ship covid reared it’s ugly head.

“I knew that I wanted to continue working in my skillset so I didn’t want to compromise that,” Evans said.

Shifting gears, Evans started her own vocal studio giving voice lessons virutally through zoom or Facetime.

After deciding she wanted to be somewhere where she could perform safely, she packed her bags and headed to Wilmington in September.

“I feel like I can really do my thing, but in a safe way down here,” Evans said. “Wilmington has given me the ability to continue what I love to do.”

Jarrett Raymond will be performing at Bourbon Street from 2pm to 5pm and End of Days Distillery from 7pm to 9pm on Saturday, January 23.

Jackie Evans will be performing at Edward Teach Brewery from 6pm to 9pm on Saturday as well.