Countertenor John Holiday has quickly established himself as a fast-rising singer to watch and “one of the finest countertenors of his generation” (Los Angeles Times). Alongside his classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz and gospel music.
How has the Pandemic affected you professionally?
The performances that I had scheduled up until June have been either postponed or cancelled. I had some really significant things that were supposed to happen. I was going to make my Met debut.
Luckily, my teaching has not been affected because the university has accommodated me to do remote teaching for when I'm on the road, so that has not changed.
How has the Pandemic affected you personally?
It's sad because, as an artist, I want to be out there. I want to make people feel good. All I want is to connect with people. I'm okay with not having an audience - I'm lucky that I can still do concerts at home, but at the same time, you want to be able to feel your audience. I don't know how to explain it.
There are times when you notice someone is in the audience and you can feel something is weighing on them, and you lock eyes, and within an instant, that affliction has been lifted.
“I sometimes feel that in our solitude is when we create our best things..."
How do you think this will affect the future of your industry?
We are working so much right now to try and change things, and it is a journey. Everybody is going through something, even the most famous singers. I'm a part of a coalition of artists that has weekly meetings discussing how we would like to see the industry change, especially after this. In every contract there's a force majeure clause (which allows venues to cancel without payment due to acts of God) - we didn't know how detrimental it could be to our livelihood, so we're trying to come up with new wording that will hopefully change the industry going forward. Even if it's not better for us, it's better for those who come after.
I think it's made a lot of us even closer than we were before – there are only a few of us in the world who are doing what we're doing, but we all thrive off of each other's energy. In a way it's been a beautiful thing because the pandemic brought us together.
I'm looking forward to this being over...I just hope that we won't lose the consciousness that we have established during this time - the consciousness of close, connected relationships that don't take being in someone's presence to be close to them, but a simple call, text or zoom meeting.
“This is when we are tested and tried the most, and that will be over...it may take a while and it's going to be a "new normal", but I think we will be better on the other side of all of it..."
How are you adapting to these changes?
Being creative. It's been difficult to sing because I get very emotional. But I have been practicing. I'm also working on doing a workshop right now for Fort Worth Opera, so I've been recording some of that material. I'm just trying to stay busy, teaching and working on some film ideas since it's something I've always wanted to get into. I'm grateful that I am still able to teach and check in on my students, and I can check in with my mentor for comfort.
If you were to identify a silver lining, what would it be?
I sometimes feel that in our solitude is when we create our best things. I can't wait to see and hear all of the art that comes out of this...from the film, the paintings, the poetry, the books, the dancing and the singing! Everything's going to be so different.