Today was supposed to be Auliya Wilson’s first onstage performance in five years, but with venues shut down due to COVID-19, the Nanaimo singer-songwriter is instead making her comeback online.
Since her last show at the Longwood Brew Pub in 2015, Wilson, who is immunocompromised, suffered a knee injury, ear infection and shingles. By the end of last year she said she was finally feeling well enough to make her return. Then the pandemic started.
“I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m ready to play again.’ So I booked the show at the Longwood … and then all this happened,” Wilson said. “So my big return show got postponed indefinitely so then I was like, ‘Well, you know what? Why don’t I just do it online and still come back? Because I’m ready.”
Wilson said it was “definitely a bummer” to have to cancel – she was excited to play for her friends after so long and looked forward to enjoying a celebratory post-show framboise – but because of the situation she said it was “for the best.” About a week later she decided to make her return over the internet.
“I started seeing all my other friends doing the live-stream thing I’m like, ‘Well, I could do that,’” she said.
At first Wilson streamed guitar practices just to entertain her friends. Due to her five-year break from performing Wilson said she had to listen to past recordings of her songs to remember how to play them.
“I don’t have the best memory so I definitely did forget some of my original tunes…” she said. “I kept saying, ‘This is just a practice, this is not perfection,’ because there were quite a few snafus and mistakes.”
On April 15 Wilson set up her phone on some boxes on her bed and gave her comeback show as a benefit for the Nanaimo SPCA, where she adopted two cats. On May 15 Wilson will be performing another show from her bedroom, with all proceeds supporting Nanaimo’s CatNap rescue society, where she recently adopted a kitten.
“I am a crazy cat lady. I’ll put that right out there,” she said. “I am obsessed with my cats.”
Wilson said performing to an invisible audience was “a little weird” at first. She said she watched her husband Mike live-stream himself playing video games to get an idea of how it worked. Performing in her room she said she sometimes doesn’t remember she’s on camera.
“Once I start playing a song I just kind of forget it’s there,” Wilson said. “And then I’m like. ‘Oh wait, I’m streaming. I have to talk again.’”
WHAT’S ON … Auliya Wilson live-streamed concert at www.facebook.com/auliyamusic on May 15 at 6 p.m.