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Renowned singer Erykah Badu employed her signature outside-the-box thinking to keep performing and paying her team amid the coronavirus crisis. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Renowned singer Erykah Badu employed her signature outside-the-box thinking to keep performing and paying her team amid the coronavirus crisis. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Erykah Badu marches to the beat of her own drum — remotely, these days.

Like countless other musicians, the Dallas-based, internationally-known performer had to suspend live shows as large gatherings, particularly those involving singing, became dangerous during the Covid-19 outbreak. It was an especially jarring shift for someone who had been “touring for eight months out of the year for 22 years,” she noted in a recent interview.

Badu added, “This is the way that I had made my money” — for her, and her team.

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So to keep creating, and to keep her crew working, she launched The Quarantine Concert Series — online performances that fans can tune into live for just $1, or on Youtube for free afterwards. Over 100,000 people reportedly did so, finding a visual experience as well as an aural one once they logged in. The third in her series, for example, appears to be broadcast from a world of bubbles.

She says the process has been inspiring for her. “All of a sudden, I’ve been resurrected in some kind of way with new ideas and thoughts and releases of things that I didn’t even know I was holding onto,” she told The New York Times.

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The inspiration doesn’t stop there. Badu says she has plans for a livestream company for artists, continuing an entrepreneurial streak that started with the launch of her own merchandise site earlier this year. (Perhaps taking a page from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, she launched a vagina-themed incense in February that immediately sold out.)

“I think I can help artists build a platform very similar to mine where everything lives there,” she says. “We don’t have to abandon our other social media outlets, but we can incorporate them into our worlds and in ways that make it very easy for the user.”

“It’s ambitious, but I think I can do it,” she added.

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