Cowichan Valley rapper Switch livestreamed a show on Facebook in April to great results. (Submitted)

Cowichan Valley rapper Switch finds creative ways to beat the pandemic

Cowichan hophip artist’s livestream is a big success

A rising rapper from the Cowichan Valley had a major tour curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, so he is making the most of his time on the sidelines.

Earlier this spring, Switch hosted a livestreamed show on Facebook that raised $800 and increased his profile. The show on April 30 took the place of a series of gigs he had planned that had to be cancelled or postponed.

“I was planning to tour Alberta and I had seven shows booked for the month of May,” he explained. “I had to reinvent myself as an artist in order to adapt to the situation, so I decided to host this livestream to entertain my audience.”

The show was made possible by a grant from CreativeBC, with another $500 available if Switch mentioned the organization during the livestream, which he did. He sought donations from viewers as well. Although he simply expected to pass around the virtual hat after his performance, funds started rolling in before he could start.

“People started donating before I even performed,” he noted.

About 600 or 700 viewers tuned in for all or part of Switch’s show. Most were from Vancouver Island or other parts of B.C. and Canada, but some checked in from further-flung locales like Russia, France and Sierra Leone.

Switch says he will definitely try to do another livestream show, but he wants to make it different from the first one, improving the quality and using multiple camera angles.

“I want to give people a reason to keep engaging,” he said.

Switch has been writing and recording since he was 11, and did his first show about 10 years ago when he was in Grade 11. He has been taking it more seriously since he got sober three years ago. He got into hiphop specifically around the age 0f 10 or 11 when his mom’s friend’s son gave him a bunch of CDs, including artists like Big Pun, Wu-Tang Clan, and Tupac Shakur when he was 10 or 11

“Ever since then, I’ve been like, I’m going to be a rapper,” he recalled.

Switch uses hiphop as a “coping mechanism” and likes how it addresses taboo topics in a “sonically pleasing” manner.

He plans to drop his next project soon, hopefully within the next month, and tour “as soon as humanly possible.”

In the meantime, there are other ways to get his music to the masses.

“You’ve got to get creative,” he said. “Like all businesses. All businesses had to adapt.”

He’s doesn’t hold any negative feelings about having his tour cancelled due to the pandemic.

“People died. I just couldn’t do my shows,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world.”

You can find Switch and his music all over the internet: on Facebook, Spotify, Instagram and YouTube. His personal website is at www.switchhiphopmusic.com

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