When junior Linehan Artist Scholar Etai Fuchs heard about the economic devastation the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking on the music industry, he knew he needed to respond. And as a music technology major, he realized he was in a unique position to help bands that had lost income because of canceled shows.
“I created an online record label called Gardenhead Records,” he explained, “and released a compilation recording that features and raises money for musicians whose performances have been canceled.”
In all, Fuchs was able to include twenty-six tracks by twenty-six different bands, and the resulting album — Pandemic Artist Relief: Music in the Time of Covid-19 — was released exclusively on Bandcamp on April 10. All proceeds from sales of the recording will benefit the artists.
“The best outcome would be to continue raising money for these musicians,” said Fuchs. “Some of them have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay rent, so my priority is to try and help these people out in any way that I can. Also, it’s great to be able to help promote music that I genuinely enjoy by lesser-known artists.”
One song was authored by Tom Waterworth (writing under the pen name Firesites), an undergraduate at Newcastle University in the UK who studied music technology at UMBC as an exchange student.
Putting Skills to Work
The project engaged many of Fuchs’s music technology and entrepreneurship skills—he contacted the artists, started the label, created the artwork, reached out to media, and mastered the compilation. He’s also working on plans to livestream a concert featuring some of the artists.
“We are so proud of Etai’s project and its potential for positive impact during a difficult time!” said Linda Dusman, chair of the music department. “Etai’s work exemplifies the extraordinary creativity fostered in all of our music majors. Our faculty and students embody that creative spirit as performing, teaching, and composing musicians who contribute to the community through their artistry.”
Fuchs also recently released his own solo album, Bloodletting, which he describes as a collection of “very introspective indie folk and dream pop” written about core memories and experiences. After graduating, he plans to record and perform his music, organize music releases, book shows, and freelance in production and graphic design.
Scott Casper, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, applauded Fuchs’s efforts, as well.
“Etai Fuchs’s project, so perfect for this moment, also embodies UMBC’s long-standing values,” he said. “It exemplifies entrepreneurship in the arts, and it reaches beyond our university community to assist other artists challenged by COVID-19 and the loss of live performance opportunities.”
Header image by Tom Waterworth.