Inspired by her study from last August which found that 7% of surveyed professional musicians became homeless or evicted during the pandemic, Chris B founded the Musicians Foundation to help those affected.
Photo: A woman singing with a pianist behind her, taken from the Musicians Foundation’s video.
Despite government restrictions on COVID-19 slowly easing, the lives of musicians, who have been embattled by endless closures of bars and performance venues, have not gotten easier.
This is what drove Chris B, founder of The Underground, alongside industry professionals Adrian Fu, Eric Tan and Sunil Khiatani, to form Musicians Foundation, a new charity established to support full-time Hong Kong musicians devastated by COVID-19.
“Many professional musicians have not been supported by the government and with live music bans still in place, have no means of earning an income,” Chris tells Harbour Times.
“Last year, COVID-19 meant that musicians were the first to lose their jobs and income, and could well be the last to recover.”
Instead of giving out money, the foundation aims to provide financial relief by paying expenses on behalf of successful applicants. To be eligible for a Financial Relief Grant, applicants need to be permanent Hong Kong residents and prove that they have been in the music industry for a minimum of five years. They must also have professional referees and prove that their income is not enough to cover their expenses.
The foundation also hopes to act as an interlocuter, proving paid-work opportunities for professional career musicians. The foundation aims to host their own live events showcasing disadvantaged musicians in order to purse funding through donations and sponsorship.
“We want Hong Kong musicians to thrive, not just survive,” Chris says.
“We have all benefited so much from music, it’s time to give a little back”.