This is Fine: Housebound Halifax musician turns to podcasting

Musicians face cancelled shows and tours because of COVID-19

Dana Beeler’s life revolves around performing music, but these days she’s mainly talking about it.

Like many artists and musicians, the lead singer of the Halifax-based rock band Hello Delaware is feeling the brunt of countrywide closures due to COVID-19. Beeler says the band has had to postpone an album release and a Canadian tour, as well as a trip to the United Kingdom to tour and perform at Liverpool Sound City, an annual music festival.

“I was pretty much prepared to cancel all our U.K. dates in [early] March. I was just sort of waiting for the festival to cancel,” Beeler says. “But they were holding on to the last minute because the U.K. had a very different mindset about the whole thing.”

To pass the time and make up for lost performance opportunities, Beeler, now confined to her apartment, has created a podcast called This is Fine.

“We made it because the tour was supposed to be called the This is Fine Tour, because that’s a lyric in the song that we’re supposed to be putting out in May,” she says. “And we just kind of changed it to be a podcast instead because we probably won’t be going on tour for a while.”

The podcast, available on the band’s website and through YouTube, features conversations with local artists and musicians. The conversations are mostly about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects musicians and people in the music industry. In one episode Beeler interviewed Leanne Hoffman, a Halifax-based pop singer. In another, she interviewed Saint John duo Tomato/Tomato.

Beeler records the podcast at home. She says being stuck in the small apartment she shares with her boyfriend has been difficult, especially when it comes to creating music, because she doesn’t create well around other people. But she’s found that writing first thing in the morning helps.

“Mostly just getting my brain onto paper, and then at some point in time when I have time I will actually do the songwriting,” she says.

Beeler may have more time. It’s been a month since the Nova Scotia government imposed social-distancing restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, and there’s no indication when they’ll be lifted.

Her other main method for getting through the day is to talk to friends and family.

“I think the most important thing that I’ve learned in this experience is to talk to the people you care about,” she says. “Being able to have those conversations is really helpful in making the days not all blend together and making it easier to wake up and exist in an 800-square-foot space.”

This is Fine is not Beeler’s first experience with podcasts, having previously done a podcast called Back Home for Music Nova Scotia.

Beeler’s worked in the music industry since she was 20, doing project management and working with organizations like the East Coast Music Association and the Halifax Jazz Festival. She’s been a solo artist and was even in a family band when she was younger.

She created Hello Delaware in 2014 with guitarist Aaron Green, bassist Tori Cameron and drummer Eamon Slattery.

“They’re all really great,” Beeler says with a smile. “They’re the best musicians I could possibly ask for and they’ve just been kind of along for the ride with me and putting their heart into my songs, which is really nice.”

She was looking forward to recording an episode with them.

“We’re going to do a four-way call and just be silly, which will be fun, because I do miss hanging out with those guys.”

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