Russell Curtis’ guide to surviving the Covid-19 pandemic

Like most people, Russell Curtis suffered when Covid-19 closed down businesses and ‘live’ shows.

The singer-songwriter and aspiring comedian closed his concert hall, and his gigs dried up.

Forced to reinvent himself, Curtis quickly got a good grasp of Zoom and other online platforms, and started offering ticketed online shows.

“To my knowledge, I was the first in the country to do ticketed online shows. I started ‘The Russell Curtis Home Acoustics Sessions’, and the first performance was on April 18 – exactly a month after the Movement Control Order (MCO) began.

“As I did not have my band with me, I had to reinvent how I performed. I got into this thing called ‘live looping’, a small machine that allowed me to record myself ‘live’ instantaneously. It made it sound like I was accompanied by a band.

“I could record guitar lines or rhythm sections, a rhythm phrase, and I make beats out of stomping, or snapping my fingers. I could even record backing vocals.

“I told myself that I had to do everything to make it exciting, and incrementally, improved with every show.

“The support I received was immense, and I am so touched,” said Curtis, who has a degree in hotel catering and management.

Being first in the market made him visible, and Curtis soon got offers to perform at virtual birthday celebrations and corporate events.

“There was one birthday, where 10 households were on Zoom, and I was the surprise entertainment for the guests,” said Curtis.

“So, while it was frustrating that I could not do shows in front of crowds, I did become a better performer. I also got to spend plenty of time with my family. That’s a huge bonus.

“But now, I cannot wait for the Queen Tribute Show, which is in two weeks.”

He said the show was a collaboration with the Rowdy Gentlemen and a few others.

Asked why a Queen Tribute Show, Curtis said it was simply because the band still has the best fans in the world.

“Queen’s fans seem to know every single song. That is a joy as they would sing along to each number,” said Curtis, whose favourite Queen track is Somebody To Love.

“I wrote Sing On Freddie as a tribute to Freddie Mercury as he was a musical genius. Queen was ahead of its time. One of the greatest bands ever.”

As we come to the end of the year, Curtis said he has three big plans for 2022.

“I was supposed to perform my first one-hour stand-up special in 2020, but it got postponed because of Covid-19. I am determined to do it next year,” said the Dave Chappell fan.

“The second thing I want to do is release my new double album. I have two ‘brands’ – the Russell Curtis Project, and Russell Curtis and the Rowdy Gentlemen.

“The first one is more acoustic, and the songs that I write for that are more about the human experience.

“The other is more of a big band with a horn section. It has high energy and pop-funk songs – something like Bruno Mars, and celebrates living the high life.

“The double album celebrates my two ‘sounds’, with six, to eight songs on each album.”

His third project would be to resume the ‘Russell Curtis Pub Crawl’ vlog to document all the venues in Malaysia that had supported ‘live’ shows through the years.

“Some of these venues have been around for over 30 years. We should celebrate them,” said Curtis, who highlighted 27 venues, including those in Sarawak, when he began the vlog in 2019.

“Next year, I want to include some venues from Sabah as well. I hope 2022 will be a good year for everyone.”


Similar to last week, the last three days saw cases exceed 6,000 on Wednesday, Thursday and yesterday.

There were 40,550 new cases in the last seven days, bringing the total to 2,575,888.

On the recovery front, 35,829 patients received the all-clear. That made it 2,477,314 people who have beaten the coronavirus.

There were 361 deaths in the past week, taking the total to 29,937.

Worldwide, there are 256.9 million cases and 5.15 million fatalities.


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In honour of World Children’s Day, here is a song by Curtis, which he wrote for his sons – Ryan and Shane. It was on his 2014 album, and it still gets airplay on local radio.

Until next week, stay safe.