“It’s a huge loss and it’s really sad”: The cancellation of SXSW has left Alice Skye in limbo

“It’s a huge loss and it’s really sad”: The cancellation of SXSW has left Alice Skye in limbo

Words by Eva Marchingo

We chatted to the rising singer-songwriter about how she’s coping with mass cancellations in the music world.

Alice Skye is the Wergaia singer-songwriter combining an Australian accent, sharp lyricism, and gentle melodies to create intimate folk music. She released her single ‘I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good’ in October 2019, after initially turning heads with her debut album Friends with Feelings in 2018.

Skye was set to play South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas this March, however, the event was cancelled due to the threat of coronavirus. The annual technology, music, and film festival is renowned as a place of opportunity for creatives building a career.

“I’m sad that we don’t get to see how different our year might have been if we got to go,” she says. “We were really fortunate that our Airbnb refunded us and we were able to credit our flights … I know some people weren’t as lucky and lost a lot of money because of that.”

Skye plays alongside her dear friends Sam and Kane King who, she says, “put so much into this project”.

“The preparation and unpaid time we put into getting ready for [SXSW] was huge. It feels sad that I don’t have live work now so that I can pay them for that time.”

The cancellation of SXSW has not been the only concern for Skye.

“There’s so much going on; it’s a huge loss and it’s really sad, but we’re also just feeling worried about the bigger picture as well,” Skye says. “We don’t know how long or how bad things are going to be. We’re all dealing with the same thing.”

Skye is especially grateful for the support of her team during this time and is feeling grateful for the support she has received from those she mightn’t necessarily know. For Skye, assistance doesn’t always have to be financial.

“It feels really nice that people are willing to buy and support my music,” Skye says. “Hearing from people that enjoy your music is also just really nice, I know it doesn’t pay my rent or feed me or whatever, but just getting messages of support lately has been really vital to my mental state.”

But the battle is still ahead of her.

“I have been waking up feeling different everyday. When I start to get panicky is when I’m thinking about what I am going to be doing in six months and how I am going to be making money still.”

Incredibly courageous, Skye reveals that she’s “accepting any tips” at this time. It’s the unprecedented nature of the situation that’s leaving artists at a loose end.

“I’m just trying to take it day by day and not get too ahead of myself, otherwise I’ll well and truly lose it. Sometimes it’s an impossible task to even control your thoughts like that, but I’m working hard on doing that at the moment.”

“I feel fortunate that I’m in a position where I can stay home and stay connected with people still,” Skye says. “Call your friends, I feel like that’s been the nicest thing … me and my friends had wine over Zoom the other night.”

Online wines aren’t the only things occupying Skye’s time at the moment. Live-streaming a set for Isol-Aid last weekend was the first time she’s gone live on Instagram.

“Having something sort of parallel [to performing] is pretty necessary for my mental health. People [were] writing cute messages and talking to each other … it was really nice, I wasn’t expecting it to be as nice.”

The live-streams don’t stop there – this Saturday, Skye will be playing a set for the online #EarthHourLive.

“It’s going to be pretty stripped back; just us, in my room in my house, playing some unplugged versions of things.”

Turn your lights off and tune in to #EarthHourLive from 8:30pm on Saturday March 28 to see Alice Skye perform.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.