BREVARD COUNTY — Just like many musicians who have found creative ways to connect with their audience since the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled their events, Scottish entertainer Bill Mullen has gone virtual from his home.
For the past nine weeks, Mr. Mullen has been performing a wide repertoire of Celtic music to thousands of viewers worldwide. He goes “live” every Sunday at 4 p.m. on Facebook, telling stories and singing songs.
Mr. Mullen’s next performance is scheduled for Sunday, May 24 at www.facebook.com/billmullenentertains.
“When this all blew up, I was gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day and I had a load of gigs in March and April,” Mr. Mullen said. “I thought I’ll do a livestream because I have musician friends who do them. It’s a different sort of gig, there’s quite a lot of work that goes into doing one.”
Technical difficulties aside, when you’re playing music via webcam, it’s a whole new experience than performing in a pub. One of the main differences is that when going “live,” you know your whole audience has tuned in specifically to see you, Mr. Mullen said.
“Everybody in a livestream is paying attention, they’re not at a bar chatting with their friends,” Mr. Mullen said. “They’re actually sitting and watching you, and there’s hundreds of them. It puts a lot of pressure on you.”
Despite the pressure, Mr. Mullen shares laughs, conversations with viewers who participate in the chat feature, and sometimes brings his wife, Dorothy, in for a song or two.
Mr. Mullen originally hails from Dundee, Scotland and has roamed the earth sharing his passion for music. That’s how he has got viewers to join in from Hawaii, Oregon, Costa Rica and the Netherlands.
“People keep requesting ballads,” Mr. Mullen said. “At a gig I’ll be lucky to play one or two ballads in a whole night in three hours. People want upbeat, clappy, sing-along, exciting stuff, whereas at home it’s a different vibe. They’re willing to sit and listen to a ballad with a drink and maybe feel a bit melancholy, and then you pick them up with a happy one after that.”
Each week, Mr. Mullen strives to perform songs that cover popular Celtic music from Ireland and Scotland, but will repeat a song or two if they’re audience favorites.
At the end of the day, however, Mr. Mullen said he enjoys the social aspect of his livestreams and seeing viewers chatting with each other. With many people continuing to stay at home, it gives audiences something to look forward to weekly, and an opportunity to share a fun experience with others.
For more information, visit www.bill-mullen.com.