Combining a wintry longing with the warmth of a familiar folktale, Humbird stretches between experimental folk and environmental Americana to embrace the unexpected. Humbird discusses the challenges of being a musician during a pandemic and performs her song “January” in her backyard.

How do you describe you music?

I would describe my music as the sonic expression that’s going on in my brain, but it’s kind of folky and there’s some rock elements in the recording I’ve done.

What’s the story behind the name Humbird?

There really isn’t a story behind the name Humbird, except me and my bandmates were driving through Wisconsin on tour trying to figure out a band name, and we passed through the town of Humbird, which has a population of 67. It was a farm town, and we got out and it was beautiful, and I was like, “Humbird would be a cool band name,” and then it popped back up into my subconscious or my consciousness months later, and I was like, “I think that’s a good band name, let’s just go with it.”

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a musician during a pandemic?

Probably just being a decent human being in a pandemic like everybody. I think music is a weird way to make your livelihood, but everyone’s world has been thrown into chaos and luckily as a musician, I’m pretty used to that. So in some way, I felt like I was able to be nimble, but I definitely relate deeply to how everyone is wondering what’s going to happen next and how to move forward into a future that’s more fair and beautiful and more safe for everybody.

Musically, has anything good come from the pandemic?

There’s been some silver linings of being home this long. As an independent musician, I spend most of the time on the road, which is such a privilege to do, but also really grueling on your body and sometimes your mental health. So the last six months sleeping in my own bed is the longest I’ve been home in a really long time, so that’s felt really good to rest up and be home and write music and dream about what’s possible in a world that’s different than we all thought it would be. But I really miss being on the road and seeing people all over the country. I hope I can do it again sometime soon.

Do you have any pandemic related advice to share?

I would love some pandemic related advice! If anyone has any advice let me know! I’m very suspicious of giving advice generally because, the more I learn, the more I know that I just don’t know anything. But music helps. It always does. That’s not really advice – that’s just true!


Bonus Performance: Humbird performs “Lincoln, Nebraska”


Production Team:  Ryan Klabunde, Eric Pagel, Mike Phillips


This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.


How have other Minnesota musicians fared during the pandemic? Check out the rest of our Pandemic Performances. 

For three seasons, we’ve partnered with seasoned local artists who each assemble a cohort of emerging artists to share their stories and perform together. Since creative venues all about town are closed in the wake of the pandemic, bring a dash of artistry into your home by learning more about the artists of our ongoing series Art Is…

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