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Local artist shares how COVID-19 impacts entertainers

Posted at 5:39 PM, May 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 23:50:20-04

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — Restaurants, hair salons, massage and tattoo businesses will start opening back up on Monday around the Omaha metro.

While restaurants had to adjust, many local entertainers who use them as venues have felt the impact of the pandemic as well.

20-year-old Tyler Harpenau is a country singer who says he uses music as an escape.

Harpenau, who's stage name is Tyler Anthony Music, tells 3 News Now his music career was just beginning to take off when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"I was now just gaining that momentum and I was just really getting into--this is what I want to do for the rest of my life," Harpenau said. "This is what my career is, this is what it's going to be.

He tells 3 News Now gigs were being booked more regularly in restaurants, but that all came to a pause when those businesses had to close their dining rooms to customers.

His budding career would be put on hold.

"I could only imagine how tough it was for the musicians out there who have been doing this for a long time, and who have big concerts lined up but even for the smaller guys like myself it was tough," he said.

Thanks to social media, Harpenau is performing virtually, but still attracting fans old and new.

"I can turn more towards live streaming, towards working on getting music out, music videos," Harpenau said. "Things that don't involve as many crowds."

For now, it's the safest way the country singer can reach his audience.

"It comes down to I'm doing what I love and I got people watching and that's almost all I could hope for," he said.

As restaurants can start to reopen at 50 percent capacity starting Monday, it's a wait and see for Harpenau on when he can get back on stage in front of a live audience.

"If we have half capacity I think it's doable, and I think it's a start," he said. "I think we should all still be very careful but I think it's a start and it's a push we need to go towards."

You can learn more about Harpenau's music here.