FERGUS – Another spring and summer concert and music festival season is in peril.
With social distancing and recurring lockdowns, performing live music and attending live shows are next to impossible.
But for singer/songwriter Madison Galloway, music is more necessary than ever.
The 21-year-old from Fergus is used to performing more than 100 live shows each year and although she isn’t currently hitting the stage, she is determined to share her musical "good vibes," virtually.
“I began livestreaming the week the first lockdown began. I was working part-time at a restaurant in Elora. There was talk of extra precautions and then the next thing I knew, we were closed,” Galloway said.
“I was performing in a show that weekend so, I decided to livestream it.”
What Galloway discovered was a new way to keep her music alive, to entertain, and to keep fans, old and new, engaged.
“I didn’t expect it to go so well. The first livestream, I had over 50 people watching at one time. I was just blown away! So, I’ve been regularly livestreaming ever since,” Galloway said.
Recently, Galloway received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council via its Arts Response Initiative.
“I’m so grateful. When I got this grant, I thought this is so great. I could get the things I need to keep livestreaming. I now have a computer with the processing capabilities and I’m so stoked,” Galloway said.
“Before this, I wasn’t really tech savvy. I had a friend lend me a computer. He helped me out and taught me about livestreaming.”
The Arts Response Initiative supports individual Ontario-based professional artists so they can continue to work and participate in the arts community during COVD-19. It encourages exploration, adaptation and development of new ways that will help increase the resilience of Ontario’s arts sector.
“There are so many musicians and artists from all backgrounds who have had to stop doing what they are used to doing. I was used to performing live shows and it just felt so weird to stop. Now, with this funding, I’m able to shift and keep sharing my music, but in a digital format,” Galloway said.
Like viewers, artists are looking for ways to stay hopeful. Through home-based shows, musicians like Galloway can more intimately offer a performance where fans feel more at ease with the situation around them.
“I think even when things start to open up, I will keep livestreaming. It’s really grown. I’ve met so many wonderful people from all around the world. I now have an international audience. They would not have heard this if I didn’t livestream. I’m so grateful for that part of it. I sent my first CD to Italy, Scotland and Australia,” Galloway said.
“I’ve had so many people say thanks. That just melts my heart when they say that the livestreams are helping them get through lockdown. To know that my music is helping others, I think that’s so important for a musician, to help others connect through music. And it’s helped me get through lockdown too. I have something to look forward to.”
Music has played a big part in Galloway’s life since a very young age.
At age six she began classical piano training. But it was at the age of 12, after picking up a guitar, she discovered her true calling.
“Music has always been a part of my life. And my parents always had music on, especially (radio station) Q107. I’m so grateful to them. They have been so supportive,” Galloway said.
An emerging voice in Canadian roots music, Galloway also blends in some folk, rock and blues. She is used to bringing along her guitar, harmonica, ukulele and soulful voice to each performance, and even through her livestreams, she continues to capture audiences worldwide.
“I would say my music is roots rock and a bit of blues. I’m influenced by classic rock like Led Zeppelin, lots of 70s music and folk rock like Joni Mitchell,” Galloway said.
“I love the challenge of learning music and I’ve always loved performing. I never thought I would end up doing this as a career as a kid, but I can’t see myself doing anything else. There’s no Plan B. This is it.”
From one open mike night to the next, Galloway has released two albums and participated in various music festivals sharing the stage with renowned artists such as 54-40 and Ron Hawkins.
“I can’t wait to get back into the studio. I have a bunch of new songs I would like to record and I’d like to have a new album out some time in the future,” Galloway said.
Galloway is also inspired by environmental concerns and shares this in her music.
“This is such a big part of who I am. I think as an artist, it’s so important to have that influence, big or small, and use your platform for positive change,” she said.
For now, Galloway will continue livestreaming during a time when many people could really use some good music to get them through the day.
“If I can get someone up dancing, or if I can make them smile and feel good, that’s what it’s all about for me,” Galloway said.
“I just want to spread good vibes and happiness.”
For more information about Madison Galloway, visit madisongalloway.com.