Isolation Drills: Avataria

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Hey, I’m Niki, I call myself Avataria. Everything has been a rollercoaster since lockdown started. I’m more artistically productive than I’ve ever been. But, I lost my job in the live-events industry to the coronavirus. “Best of times, worst of times” kinda stuff. I’ll be under stay-at-home orders for another few weeks. 

Losing my job gave me nothing but empty time. To keep the stir crazy away, I’m writing a new song (almost) every day. I’ve worked solo forever, which allows me to be super productive during quarantine. I am a one-woman band! I’m programming drums, playing guitar and bass, and then adding vocals/lyrics. It’s important to me to dig for inspiration every day and to stay sharp. 

All this work led me to have enough material for a new release. I have an EP coming out today called Inside Out, and it’s on Bandcamp and Spotify. It was written and recorded completely during lockdown, in my basement, by myself. It’s four anxious songs that I’m really excited to share with everyone. Because I’m so productive right now, I’m already working on a follow-up EP for a late summer or fall release. I also do the occasional Instagram Live from my @avataria account.

To help during this crisis, I’m spending time volunteering with NIVA (National Independent Venue Association). They formed in the wake of all the venue closures due to COVID. I’m part of a reopening task force. I‘m helping keep tabs on the open status of USA and Canada states and provinces for the team. We’ve been lucky to see some Congressional support in recent. If you visit the NIVA website, you can contact your representatives with a handy little form. 

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I am excited to see where livestreaming goes in the coming months and how it can save venues by creating a revenue stream while keeping folks safe. If we all pull together creatively, we can #saveourstages from the grips of this global catastrophe.