Kirsten Cohen Photography July 7th, 2020

I have been thinking a lot about our music scene in Colorado, and how much I miss it.  I decided to do something to give back in some small way to the artists who I know and love during these challenging times.

Today starts a new series of portraits of musicians either at home or in front of some of our iconic music venues. Huge thanks to Boulder Theater and Fox Theatre  for offering the space under their marquees for this series.

Colorado Music Relief Fund is doing some great work to raise funds and support our local music industry during the pandemic. I love what they say about why we need to support our local music industry on their website:

“Live music is central to Colorado’s culture. Our musicians, their crews, and our venues are iconic and beloved across the world. Music is a force in the experience economy; attracting tourists, new residents, and business leaders to the culture of Colorado in good times. In times of hardship music is our salve. In this pandemic, everyone is hurting. The economic and fiscal impacts on Colorado’s rich music industry resulting from COVID-19 are already significant. Music employs over 16,000 Coloradans and generates 1.5 billion dollars annually and the vast majority of that revenue relies on public gatherings. These activities are unlikely to return to ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future. The music industry will not be back to work for perhaps a year or longer. Whether it is navigating unemployment, small business loans, or other quickly disappearing relief funds, the music industry is not getting the lifeline it so desperately needs.”

It’s easy to donate – either through their website, or just Text “COLORADO” to 707070 to donate  today.  Artists can apply for relief now through August 1st.

The first artist I photographed for this project was Nate Valdez of In The Whale and VALDEZ. He has been busy during this time in spite of the lack of live shows. I have so much respect for his ability to pivot what he is doing artistically and take the time to develop his new project, VALDEZ.  Read below for a few excerpts of our chat while I photographed him:

Kirsten: Please say a few words about what we talked about in terms of the pros and cons of no live shows as a musician right now. Any other thoughts regarding challenging and/or positives about this time?

Nate: It has been a very difficult time for musicians. As a touring musician that makes most of our money from the road, it has been financially stressful. We have had to adapt and be creative in other ways. We have been doing live streams, making new merch, and receiving donations from hard core fans. The positives are that we have been able to reset and focus on family. I have taken advantage of the downtime by repairing gear and writing new music.
Kirsten: Please talk a little more about  VALDEZ and how this time has allowed you to work on those songs (or however you see it!) When the singles/record be released?
VALDEZ is music that is very personal to me and has been a good outlet for me to work through things in my life. I have been focusing on actually recording the songs during this down time. In the past I never had the time to record or make an effort of getting these songs out. The first single is going to be coming out Aug 27th. I will be posting about it on my social media.
Instagram – @vldzmusic