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Where You're At: Musical Family

Kristofor Husted

We at KBIA have found strength in our community during the COVID crisis. In our series, “Where You’re At,” we're talking to our family and friends to see how their coping during the pandemic. 

Here is Tina Tan’s conversation with the band the burney sisters, Emma and Olivia, in Columbia:

My first question is, Olivia and Emma, how are you doing?

Emma: Good.

Olivia: We're good. Yeah, we've just, you know, we really miss playing shows and, and going to venues and seeing people but right now we're just, we're really focusing on practicing and doing other fun hobbies and stuff while we're at home.

Emma: I've been trying to write some new songs because I haven't really written a lot of songs so I want to expand on that. And I've been playing outside with my sisters.

How has your home life changed at all?

Olivia: Basically, everything with school is the same because we're homeschooled or at least we do our school online. And so nothing really has changed the school that much. Since usually our work is on the weekends and stuff like that, we do business throughout the week. But we didn't practice as much as we do now. And I also spent some extra time on writing and stuff and arranging songs. And also we have been recording downstairs on Wednesdays.

I guess that like many other musicians, you've probably had some show cancellations. So how do you feel about that? And what are you doing differently to cope with the situation?

Olivia: Well, basically, I think pretty much all of our shows got canceled until like October, probably. But our mom had the brilliant idea for us to do Facebook live concerts every Saturday at 7pm. Our dad actually - he is a sound engineer - so he set up a bunch of mics and stuff and has been running it through the videos so that it's like a nicer sound. And the video is better because he's been like rigging up cameras and stuff like that. So it's a huge, it's like a whole big family ordeal, like all of us putting in a lot of work to try and make it nice and everything.

How is that experience different from performing on stage?

Olivia: It's, it's really different I would say. I'm at a really big impasse and so I really, always feel the energy of the room, like when I'm talking to people and can pick up on that kind of thing. So it’s definitely not the same. It's weird because we have two people clapping in the back - our mom and our dad - and our little sister sometimes that she's not on stage but, yeah, it's definitely very different. But I'm so grateful that we're still able to be doing shows and are actually interacting with some people over the phone.

So what do you think shows or life will look like after the pandemic?

Olivia: Honestly, I'm not sure. I'm really hoping that everything will go back to normal, but I really don't think that will be the case. But music...the music industry is always adapting and changing and, you know, finding different ways to get through. So I really think that there's going to be a way. Hopefully in a couple of years, it'll get back to how it was or sooner - that would be just fabulous.