DC Musicians' Careers on Hold as Concerts, Tours Canceled, Postponed

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Many musicians’ careers are on hold with no money coming in as concerts and tours are canceled or postponed.

“It is frightening,” blues musician Jose Ramirez said. “It is, right now, very uncertain what’s going to happen.”

Ramirez came to D.C. from Costa Rica about a year ago to pursue the American dream, which was about to become reality up until a few weeks ago.

“As far as my career, I mean, it was in a very good spot, it was in a great place, it was ready to really take off, and great things were about to happen for the band,” he said.

Ramirez had just come in second place in an international blues competition, was ready to release his first record and had a U.S. and European tour booked.

“I think the word is ‘devastating,’ you know? Because nobody saw it coming,” he said.

Frank Sirius’ career was in full swing as lead singer of the famed Chuck Brown Band. He lost all of his income overnight.

“I’m a full-time musician,” he said. “So this is kind of hitting hard for us, going from one week playing five nights a week and then the very next week not being able to play at all.”

Sirius quarantined after getting a cornoavirus test. The results came back negative.

“I got a wife, three kids, mom-in-law, new house, got two mortgages, you know what I mean?” he said. “So for me it’s scary.”

While unable to perform in public, musicians around the world have taken to social media to stream live concerts with virtual tip jars.

Ramirez and Sirius said they’ll continue making music.

“It’s a scramble trying to figure out ways to get that income,” Sirius said.

“I honestly don’t think this is going to stop that for good,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to stop it for a minute, but I think we’ll be able to recover from this — not just my band, but the whole music scene, hopefully.”

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