Lisa McHugh spoke of the grim reality for those in the entertainment industry when she joined fellow singers Nathan Carter and Mike Denver on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday.
All three spoke about how their plans had been thrown into chaos due to Covid-19, and urged the Government to do more for the industry. The country stars are backing Live Entertainment and Event Industry National Awareness Week, which runs until September 20.
Tonight, @MansionHouseDub along with venues from across Ireland is lit up in red in support of the Live Entertainment & Events Industry National Awareness Week. We support the #ThisIsWhoWeAre campaign to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle of the Industry during Covid-19 pic.twitter.com/ZN9LJg4A7z— Lord Mayor of Dublin (@LordMayorDublin) September 15, 2020
"I had taken a year off last year," McHugh explained. "I wanted to concentrate on songwriting and releasing new music in a new direction that I've gone in over the last year and a half - it's more of a country pop sound.
"I had this year filled with massive opportunities. I was supposed to be performing at the Electric Picnic for the first time, with Kaleidoscope [festival and the] Country to Country Festival in London. And I was also supposed to be supporting Tom Jones. So, it was a huge year for me, and I was more than ready to come back. You know, Country to Country was literally the weekend it all started. That was the beginning of lockdown; it was the first show for me that was cancelled."
"To be honest, I also had a similar mindset of Mike - by the summertime all those festivals will still be going ahead," McHugh continued. "But it just seemed to have a real domino effect.
"The thing is, that so many industries and so many sectors were able to and are able to work from home and continue to get that living and pay the bills... I personally have not had a single penny in six months. That, you know, is worrying, because we have no indication whatsoever for the foreseeable as to when we can go back and do our jobs properly - and to the extent that we actually need to."
"There are companies like EPIC [Events Production Industry COVID-19 Working Group] who are working incredibly hard for our industry," she added. "They're pushing budgets and things and they literally just announced one last night. In order to gain support, I did a show for them, Songs from an Empty Room, there in July. It was all about raising awareness for our industry, because I do feel the spotlight has definitely not come on our industry enough."