Nickolas Diamondidis ’18 (left) is joined by Bobby Sacker from the band Desert Shade during a live stream concert to benefit Meals on Wheels.
Nickolas Diamondidis ’18 has played venues up and down the East Coast, but nothing as intimate as his most recent performance.
On March 22, Diamondidis sat behind a microphone in his parents’ Annapolis basement living room, a set list on the floor in front of him, keyboard and guitar at the ready. Instead of a live audience, he addressed a virtual crowd by way of the camera on his phone.
“Once again this song is called ‘Thick and Thin,’” he said, rolling up his sleeves. “It’s my first single, and it’s going to be out April 3.”
A live stream concert wasn’t exactly how Diamondidis envisioned dropping his first major solo music project, which he’s calling “More than Matter,” but the Coronavirus pandemic, which has halted large gatherings of any kind, left him little choice.
“I had a bunch of shows lined up in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia but everything's been canceled,” he said. “Live streams are kind of the only way that artists can perform right now.”
Diamondidis has been the frontman of various bands for the past five years, producing an album with the band Paradise Creek in 2018 and performing in New York with Miss London and the Pool Table, a band made up of BC alumni. He began writing and recording “More than Matter”—which he describes as a mixture of indie rock and alternative hip hop—after graduating from BC’s Carroll School of Management nearly two years ago.
Like many musicians, Diamondidis is adept at using online platforms like Spotify and Apple Music to share tracks, but the Coronavirus led him and other artists to rethink how they perform and connect with an audience. Stuck inside, singers from Chris Martin to Miley Cyrus have turned to social media to play for fans, many of whom are grateful for the distraction. In March, Billboard began releasing a daily schedule of upcoming virtual concerts and live stream events.
Admission to these online shows is free, but Diamondidis decided to turn his living room event into a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels, a food delivery service that has become a crucial lifeline for seniors quarantined at home. By the end of the show, he’d raised $2,000.
“The support from the BC community was just amazing,” he said. “Within 10 minutes of playing we were over $1,600. Everyone was super excited to donate and just give something back during this time.”
For 90 minutes, the concert also gave 150+ listeners a chance to connect with one another. Instead of shouting back and forth in a noisy bar, they exchanged comments and emojis through the Instagram stream. A few submitted requests, which Diamondidis indulged.
“It was surprisingly communal,” he said. “You think everyone's just watching it by themselves but you can see all the comments going through and people are just talking. It was a really fun event for everybody.”
Alix Hackett | University Communications | April 2020