Never let it be said the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic derailed the career of local singer/songwriter Paige Johnson.
The Angier native decided it’s time to get back on the road and start performing live shows again, something she admits is a welcome change to what’s been happening.
“Honestly, performing has been nonexistent for the past three months,” she said. “Other than playing some livestream shows on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve been pretty stagnant on the tour front for a little while since venues are closed.”
Johnson said she’s ready to take full advantage of the easing of restrictions across most of the southeast. Tour stops will include North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on June 29, 30 and July 1 before she comes back to North Carolina and performs in Newton Grove on July 10.
“With bars and restaurants finally starting to reopen with restrictions, I’m grateful to have some upcoming shows around North and South Carolina,” she said. “It feels a bit like trying to learn how to ride a bike again since I’ve been out of the normal show routine for a while, but I have full faith that I’ll fall right back into it when I can get back playing again.”
In addition to new dates on the latest tour, Johnson is also hoping to find a way to make up some the dates the virus forced her to miss. Her pre-virus tour had several stops across, not only the southeast, but was also earmarked for venues further away. Right now though, she’s working on getting into the places where she can perform.
“Venues are just now slowly staring to reopen and even with that, some are still not ready to have live music which inhibits my prior summer touring plans,” she said. “But as each day comes with eased restrictions, I’m hoping to be able to reschedule some of the shows I missed earlier this year and plan more as we can. I’m eager to get back to playing shows, but I want to make sure that all of that comes with the proper safety measures in place so everyone can comfortably enjoy the entertainment.”
Johnson didn’t waste the time she had away from touring, instead she used it to reacquaint herself with the creative side of the business. Johnson says she’s had pen and paper and found some collaborators via the internet and has come up with some new material.
“I have been taking this time off to work more on the creative side of my career,” she said. “Since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve actually written around 30 new songs over Facetime, Skype and Zoom with friends dispersed all over the country from Nashville to California.”
Even with modern technology, Johnson worried about her career being derailed because she wasn’t able to go about the business of being a writer and performer. Instead she found herself in a better than expected position.
“I was a little worried at first that this time would be a setback for my music, but it’s really given me time to dig deep into writing and relearning old instruments,” she said. “I’ve had the time to sit down at our old family piano and teach myself how to play again, which has been really nice. Maybe I’ll have new instrument to play at shows when we come out of all this.”
As for those 30 songs she’s written, Johnson is looking to be able to bring those to life for fans as soon as she can.
“The second I get the time and clearance, I will be heading back to Nashville and straight to the studio,” Johnson said. “With all these songs I’ve written during this time, I’m itching to get them out to everyone. Who knows what that will look like? Maybe a few new singles, maybe another (extended play) disc.”
Just like the rest of us, Johnson has found a way to make the best of a bad situation. That includes the lack of normal routine, or one which once was normal. Throw in the faster pace of her life she graduated college and moved into the phase of her career where things can become at the least, hectic, and you have another person making the best of things.
“I’m definitely a lot less busy these days and obviously not traveling 24/7 like I used to, but I’ve grown to really enjoy the slower pace of life we’ve all been living over the past few months,” she said. “It’s given me some extended time at home with my family I normally don’t get. And I’ve had time to enjoy the spring weather with daily walks to help with song inspiration and more time to sit around with my guitar and play on the piano. But don’t get me wrong, I am more than ready for some normalcy and routine to return.”
When you ask Johnson about what the future will bring, she admits she’s still just taking things one day at time, with a hopeful look toward the end of the pandemic.
“It’s kind of hard to make plans for too far out as far as touring and single releases just because none of us know what a new day may bring,” she said. “But I’m hopeful that we will soon come out on the other side of all this and be able to get back to some of the things we were doing before all this. I just hope that once we all get back together that people will still be there to support live music and homegrown artists like myself.”
Tour dates and other information about Johnson can be found on her website paigekingjohnson.com.
Rick Curl can be reached at email@example.com or 910-230-2037.