The live music industry has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Locally, we’ve seen artists consistently get creative in finding ways to both continue to share their music with fans and to earn a living through Zoom and Facebook Live concerts.
One rising artist has taken that creativity to a new level.
California-born, Austin-based singer-songwriter Angelyn Iturbide has taken to the high seas to get her music heard. She and a crew of new bandmates, including Charleston guitarist Kelly Morris, have traded a tour bus for a yacht, docking at more than 20 ports across the East Coast to give concerts from the boat.
They will be playing a concert live from the yacht at Shelter Cove Marina on May 23.
The concept is so original that Amazon Prime has picked up a reality series around the tour, called “Yacht Stops,” based on a concept by former “Last Comic Standing” writer Michael Bloom. The show, which premieres May 24, will follow Angelyn and her mates in a “Below Deck”-“The Voice”-“The Heights” mashup. (Please tell me I’m not the only one that remembers the latter, a 1992 Fox show that spawned one-hit wonder “How Do You Talk to an Angel.”)
“It’s something I never imagined myself doing, and it’s been pretty cool overall. You never get to see the behind the scenes of the touring, and now, you’ll get to see it from a whole new angle,” Angelyn said of her adventures at sea, which included a two-week boot camp aboard a fishing vessel before boarding their 140-foot luxury yacht complete with private chef. “I didn’t plan on getting seasick but that happened a lot on the fishing boat.”
Cameras have captured her bandmates and family aboard the fishing boat and the yacht as they’ve sailed the East Coast, making previous area stops in Myrtle Beach (May 11) and Charleston (May 14 and 17) before docking on the Hilton Head Island shores.
Angelyn has been singing since childhood and started taking formal lessons at age 13. After placing second in a Battle of the Bands competition in California, she knew she was hooked.
“I told my Dad this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life then and there,” she said.
She and her bandmates had been building a following on the West Coast pre-COVID, earning 2019 praise from Rolling Stone as “the best new sound to come out of Orange County since Gwen Stefani.”
The pandemic caused a shift in strategy for Iturbide, as she left her original band and headed for Austin before hearing she’d been selected for the show.
During the “Yacht Stops” tour, which concludes with a Miami concert broadcast live on Amazon July 4, she has not only developed new fans in a pioneering new approach, but she’s been mentored by fellow musicians along the way. While in port, established rockers like South Carolina native and island icon Edwin McCain and Maia Sharp have offered advice and coaching.
In between the concerts and the mentoring, the band has run the boat and fished for what they eat.
“It’s been great to meet a whole bunch of new musicians and pick their brains. It’s always awesome to play with other singer-songwriters,” she said. “The cast and crew have been incredible. We’ve fished, we’ve snorkeled and scuba dived. It has been an experience of a lifetime.”
The Shelter Cove Marina show is free and is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.