When the COVID-19 pandemic roared into destructive dominance in the spring of 2020, there was a lot of discussion online and elsewhere of the way it was upended the music industry. When venues shut down and acts couldn’t tour or even play locally. What has decisively become the main driver of musicians’ livelihoods — live shows — was gone as fast as the slap on a tambourine. Those woes were largely kept in the abstract, a faint fretting about the well-being of those who responsible for the tunes that fill other’s souls. In releasing her new track, “Ain’t Killed Me Yet,” Adia Victoria introduces some specifics to the the discussion.
“With the music industry shuttered to a close I was forced to find a new way to live,” Victoria writes on Instagram. “I took a job at Amazon to pay the bills and on the way to the warehouse for a red-eye 10 hour shift I considered my dilemma. Racing through empty streets at 2 am, trying to keep two steps ahead of a virus I couldn’t make sense of, life was lived in barest of immediacy—one breath to the next. That Spring I would end every journal entry with ‘Life aint killed me yet’.”
Victoria was no amateur at that point. She had already released two full-length album on Atlantic Records, including her sophomore effort, Silences, just one year earlier. That she needed to engage in that kind of moonlighting outside of her main calling puts the situation in stark relief. That she persevered to release truly extraordinary music after what must have felt like a devastating setback is impressive and inspiring. The new track speaks to it directly, using the phrase that become the kicker to her daily reports to fuel a tough, bluesy beauty.