'Music is such good medicine': Jeremy Dutcher performs cancelled concert from living room

The Juno and Polaris Prize-winning musician was set to kick off a tour across Quebec last week, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. In place of that, he hosted a virtual concert online.
Jeremy Dutcher performs during the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on Sept. 17, 2018. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Juno and Polaris Prize-winning musician Jeremy Dutcher is one of the many Canadian artists whose work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, he was supposed to kick off a tour across southern Quebec, but all of his performances were cancelled after the provincial government banned public gatherings.

Instead, he hosted a virtual concert from his living room on Facebook and Instagram as a way to connect with his fans until he can get back on the road.

"Music is such good medicine right now," Dutcher told q's Tom Power on the line from Montreal. "It's kind of funny too. I was about to do this eight-stop Quebec tour and more people tuned in online than would have come to those shows anyway. It's such a brilliant way to connect directly to your fan base."

Watch Dutcher's Facebook live stream below

Noting that "arts work is often precarious," Dutcher said he's less concerned about his own livelihood than he is about that of the people he employs.

"I think I was mostly just worried about my team and the people that rely on this work to sustain themselves," said Dutcher. "At the end of the day, I'll be fine. I can sing for my supper. … I'm just trying to look out for my team and the people that surround this project and make sure that they're okay."

Beyond bringing his music to his fans, Dutcher said live streaming has also allowed him to give people a glimpse of how he works behind the scenes.

"Honestly, I sit there every day anyway, playing and singing and writing new stuff. So for me, it was just a chance to let people in on my process."

You can find Dutcher's latest album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, wherever you stream your music. 

Produced by Vanessa Nigro