SINGAPORE – Mr Daniel Sid used to busk regularly in Haji Lane, singing an eclectic mix of pop and rhythm 'n' blues, with elements of soul and indie music.
But the coronavirus pandemic has put an end to his gigs and street performances, leading his income to plunge by as much as 90 per cent.
It has also meant uncertainty for the final-year business undergraduate at the Singapore Management University, who had applied for leave of absence this year to complete his first album.
Since early April, Mr Daniel, 24, has been livestreaming performances from his home roughly every three days via Facebook, Instagram and Twitch.
He says: "It is a very different experience to engage an online audience compared to a physical one. I draw energy from the crowd when I sing, and I cannot do that while performing online."
Many of the 300 buskers or so here endorsed by the National Arts Council (NAC) have had their incomes hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Some buskers, like Mr Daniel, have adapted by going online.
*Scape, a non-profit group that promotes youth development, also runs an eBusking series to provide a platform to young buskers.
Data engineer Er Young Yee and bank executive Ang Cheng Wei, both 28, have uploaded compiled videos to engage audiences on social media.
The duo started busking in 2013 in Tampines and Payar Lebar, naming their band The Unemployed to dispel the stigma against buskers.
They have come across performers of all ages over the years, and even have had a few encounters with territorial buskers along the way.
Said Mr Ang: "We understood that elderly buskers who had spent years performing at the same place depend on the tips from their regular audience for their basic needs."
Although they later moved on to busk in new locations in the central district, they hold a special attachment towards the seasoned buskers of the heartland.
They have been relaying information about relief funds and grants to fellow performers to help them tide over this period.
For instance, buskers eligible for the Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme can apply to receive three quarterly payouts of $3,000 each in May, July and October.
Ms Joy Chen, Mr Christopher Cheah and Ms Tan Jing Yi, who goes by the stage name Kennigrace, all 32, have had to put a brake on busking after forming their band – Two Cheers and a Toast – early this year after passing NAC auditions to be endorsed buskers in October last year.
The trio, who hold day jobs, would busk on weekends outside Clarke Quay Central. They also perform at weddings and corporate events but jobs have dried up.