Blake Shelton joins drive to help feed out-of-work musicians

Lifeline for musicians

For more than a year now, the state of America's live music industry has been a grim one.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw hundreds of thousands of musicians, roadies and other touring industry professionals out of work, according to the Country Music Association. In Tennessee alone, the industry's unemployed number around 50,000.

Compounding the problem, the jobs in restaurants and other hospitality businesses that have long sustained out-of-work entertainers were drastically slashed, too.

Now, in response to the crisis, the music association is expanding its efforts to help the industry's needy. It's announcing Monday that it will provide 4 million meals in cities with large populations of musicians and music industry professionals in a new partnership with Feeding America.

The trade organization’s foundation will also launch a donation challenge to fund an additional 1 million meals throughout all of Feeding America's food banks. And its Music Industry COVID Support (MICS) Initiative will help those in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

All of that will come on top of $3 million that the CMA has invested in numerous nonprofits that serve music professionals.

“Nobody wants to think about their friends or colleagues going without food,” said Sarah Trahern, the association’s CEO. “But I’ve been out at a couple of the food banks that we’ve done work with over the last year, and it’s us. As people, you think, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’”

“I feel like by next year we’re going to be in good stead,” she said. “But a lot of those people will have gone 18 months to 24 months without salaries in their chosen fields. And then you can’t put a roof over your head or put braces on your kids or put food on the table.”

The need to help those musicians and music industry professionals make it through the next few months is why the CMA opted to expand its MICS initiative. And it’s why country superstar Blake Shelton said he is proud to have been part of the initiative in helping drum up financial support for the food banks.

“There are a lot of people struggling in our country, and COVID has only made that worse,” Shelton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “People are going to bed hungry at night now more than ever, and I just can’t live with that. I’ve been passionate for a long time about helping folks get the food they need.”

Since beginning his recording career in 2001, Shelton has never been off the road for as long as he has now, though his work on “The Voice” has kept him busy when he hasn’t been on his Oklahoma ranch with his fiancée, Gwen Stefani, and their families. He said he feels fortunate to have been able to keep paying his band and crew over the past year, allowing his band members to be “busy working on different musical projects, keeping their skills sharp!”

“This pandemic has affected people all across the country, working in all different kinds of industries, from restaurants to schools to travel,” Shelton said. “What more can be done? The world is starting to open up again, and tours and shows are being announced daily. So go support your favourite artists, bands, orchestras, theatres. Of course, do it safely, but let’s have some fun again!”

More Business News

Data from CryptoCompare
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
Press Room