Preservation Hall joins Spotify in a new partnership, which will help struggling musicians during the pandemic.
"Nobody's asked me to leave, so I'm still here," says Rickie Monie, a pianist who has rocked Preservation Hall for almost 40 years.
Having picked up the piano at the young age of eight, Monie, today, stands as one of Preservation Hall's 60 musicians. A lover of New Orleans, Monie knows the city like the back of his hand.
"Nothing relaxes me and takes me away from my worries as much as playing the piano does," he explains.
However, since the news of the coronavirus broke, and the New Orleans entertainment industry shut down, Monie and other musicians have been struggling to play the lively music that keeps them calm.
Monie discussed the difficulty of having everything closed down, with gigs few and far between, citing that "nobody is working." Even the churches are closed, which means no weekend gigs.
Left with no work, artists like Monie are suffering, given that most of what keeps them afloat are grants through the venue's foundation, which often keeps them on their feet year-round.
Preservation Hall Director Ben Jaffe notes, "We knew those musicians rely on those opportunities for their livelihood. Music is their career."
Jaffe expects Preservation Hall's new partnership with Spotify should help to keep these musicians financially secure. Preservation Hall was one of only four foundations selected as a part of Spotify's COVID-19 Music Relief Project.
"That really speaks to the importance of New Orleans music and what we give the world," explains Jaffe.
If you want to make a donation, you can do so on the Preservation Hall website, or directly through Spotify, who plans to match every donation, dollar-for dollar, up to $10 million. Jaffe has also constructed a magnificent playlist to share New Orleans with the rest of the globe.
"[For] people who love music, one of the greatest gifts you can give them is New Orleans," said Jaffe.
Musicians like Monie are part of that gift, making Jaffe all the more focused on ensuring New Orleans and its musicians get back on track to deliver something even greater in exchange.