New Music September 10, 2020

Why Gordi returned to the COVID-19 frontline after releasing her album

Why Gordi returned to the COVID-19 frontline after releasing her album
Photo by Jess Gleeson

Australian singer-songwriter has spent the past month working as a doctor in Victorian hospitals, working on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Real name Sophie Payten, the artist recently released her new album Our Two Skins through , but rather than take time to reflect on the achievement, she jumped to work as a junior doctor in a role she describes as “the medical equivalent of gap filler”.

It was a no-brainer for Payten to put her album promo on hold, along with a previously planned tour, after she realised the extent of the staff shortages in Victorian hospitals.

I’ve been filling the gaps where I can, in general medical wards, geriatrics, psychiatry. I’m also on the roster for shifts in emergency departments and COVID-wards in the near future,” she said.

Although she has been juggling two careers for the last seven years, the last month has been a world away from past experiences in the medical world.

Payten describes wearing PPE all the time as being “pretty awful”.

Usually doctors are supposed to wear smart casual attire but everyone is just in scrubs all day or scrub shirts and jeans and sneakers because you’re covered up anyway.

“Every morning after I park my car I put my own personal mask on and wear it to the hospital foyer, then I sign in, get my temperature checked and exchange my mask for a hospital mask, wash my hands.

“Then I get to the doors of the ward, I pack everything I don’t need into my backpack, get out my stethoscope and clean it with sterile wipes, wash my hands, put a single-use very hot plastic gown on, wash my hands, put safety glasses on, wash my hands, and then go into the ward.”

She’s now returned to music with some socially distanced shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle and Hobart this October, and released two lyric videos for ‘Radiator’ and ‘Look Like You’.

She reflected on promoting records during a pandemic.

We just had to come up with creative ways to reach our audience and I think lots of artists and bands have really excelled in doing that. The main obvious difference is no touring but I think the world is coming around to paying for a quality live-stream.”

Payten thinks that the will survive as long as it continues to embrace change.

“If the music industry is to sustain itself we need to remember that when we change and adapt our style of engaging with an audience, we need to work out how to charge for it!”

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