Canceled Gigs, Postponed Surgery: How COVID-19 Upended One Indie Artist’s Year
“Playing shows is probably 90 percent of my income,” says Kristin Hayter, who performs as Lingua Ignota. What happens when that’s not an option?
2020 was supposed to be a big year for Kristin Hayter. The singer, who performs as Lingua Ignota, had released her third album, Caligula, last July, earning praise for her skillful blend of metal, noise, and classical. She had headlining shows and big-festival slots lined up. Then, COVID-19 snuffed them all out, along with her income. Even worse, it all happened just as the uninsured musician was dealing with substantial medical issues. She spoke to Rolling Stone about her struggles before and during the pandemic, and why she felt compelled to make a cathartic musical response to the Gal Gadot “Imagine” video. Here’s her story in her own words.
Once Trump shut down international travel, my manager was like, “Everything’s gonna get canceled.” Counting just festivals and larger shows I had lined up, I lost maybe 20 gigs and tens of thousands of dollars. I really like to play. It helps me feel connected to people in ways that I typically don’t. After the initial emotional reaction, I was thinking, “I’m fucked — I’m not gonna have any money.” Playing shows is probably 90 percent of my income.