Pandemic Performers

Getting wrapped up in a spoken word performance and feeling a part of an artistic experience looks and sounds different since the coronavirus pandemic closed venues. Artists rely on gifting a connection to people in exchange for making a living. Performers have had to adapt to moving their creative endeavors into a digital space. 

Lake Effect recently launched the series Pandemic Performers — where we’re highlighting some of the work coming from Milwaukee artists, performers and venues at a time when many of us are still isolated. 

Courtesy of Hayward Williams

Among the group of artists we’ve had in the Lake Effect Performance Studio, singer-songwriter Hayward Williams has been a consistent local performer. However, this time around we feature Williams in our Pandemic Performers series, where we highlight some of the work coming from Milwaukee artists and performers at a time when many of us are still isolated.


In normal times, Lake Effect features a variety of in-studio performances from local musicians and artists. But of course, these are not normal times and many artists have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Most live events have been canceled and recording music in isolation presents lots of challenges for Milwaukee musicians like Andii Heath, who performs under the mononym Andii

Courtesy of Kelsey Kaufmann

The coronavirus pandemic has changed what we view as normal in a lot of ways. It’s closed bars, restaurants; made us wear cloth coverings on our faces. It’s also put a hush on music and arts venues across Milwaukee. Concerts and big events aren’t conducive to reducing the spread of the coronavirus, and digital programming presents revenue challenges for places like Cactus Club.

Lex Allen

For musician Johanna Rose, the pandemic has been a mixed blessing.

The time in isolation has meant they haven't been able to perform with the many groups they're a member of, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Hughes Family Band, and the musical duo Nickel & Rose. But it has given them time to focus on their solo work and explore new ways to create music. 

Courtesy of Jordan Davis

For Jordan Davis, the frontman of Milwaukee-band Space Raft, this time in relative lockdown has been an opportunity to finish up a project he’s been working on for two and a half years. The band just released two albums: Positively Space Raft, and its alter ego, Approximately Space Raft.