Morgan Freeman on Musicians Performing During the Pandemic
Oscar winner Morgan Freeman doesn’t need an introduction. He is one of the most popular actors of our time and has appeared in countless films over several decades. And of course this voice. But Freeman is more than just his face and his voice. For the past year, he used streaming technology as the owner of the famous Ground Zero Blues Club, which relied heavily on technology for a year of quarantine and distancing. He joins us as part of our ongoing coverage of CES 2021.
“We knew we had to do something to keep going,” says Freeman of his club. “So we started the ‘Quarantine Series’.” The performers poured live from the Mississippi club because “fans all over the world wanted to hear us and authentic blues.” In fact, so many people from around the world adjusted to it that they brought out a whole new series, ‘Deep Fried Blues’. In this series, blues artists share favorite recipes, they cook their favorite dishes, and then they play a set of blues.
Both of the series he promotes on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter were designed with an intimate feel like you’re in the same room as the cast. This series not only connects blues lovers around the world – “We’re bringing the Delta blues to Israel, England, France, Portland, Brazil and beyond,” says Freeman – but also enables artists to stay afloat during curfew .
The origins of the Ground Zero Blues Club are rooted in Freeman’s own origins. “I love music – any kind of music!” he sings with a laugh. “For a kid growing up in the Mississippi Delta, music is the blues. [And] It’s not just part of my southern heritage, ”it’s part of American heritage. One day, Freeman and his business partner were working on a building they were about to open into a restaurant when a crowd gathered on the street. When asked what they were doing, the crowd asked, “Where can we hear some blues ?!” “We couldn’t give them an answer,” says Freeman. “So we decided to do something about it. That’s why we opened the Ground Zero Blues Club in May 2001. “
Even in the chaos of last year, Freeman said there were valuable lessons. “We actually learned so much from the streaming series [and] that our customers are loyal and want to stay connected, ”he says, pointing out that their club’s Facebook page has grown 40% over the past year. “We’ll keep streaming even when things have calmed down,” he says. “It’s a good connection so we’ll do that even if we’re up and running.”