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Big Little Lions bring forth big positivity on their new album, Are We There Yet?

Social distancing cannot bring you down if you have always been making music while being away from each other. Big Little Lions, a duo consisting of Helen Austin from Vancouver Island and Paul Otten from Ohio, has put out its newest album, Are We There Yet?, in which the members try to relate to their audience and spread the message to the world that, during a time like this, we can choose to keep moving forward, stay positive and healthy, and support one another.

The feel-good album came to life just as randomly as the forming of the band.

Helen and Paul, who met each other at a song-writing conference in LA, decided to work together and further produce music together because they found common ground.

“I love his work ethic. There is really no ego or diva going on,” Helen said of her impression of Paul, which plays a huge role in keeping them united and tight, even when they do not live in the same country.

Are We There Yet? came about when the two musicians were joking about “who are going to write the first pandemic album,” and it turned out to be the perfect opportunity for them to write fast about whatever they wanted to convey and continue their journey as songwriters and performers.

The band is used to working while being at a distance. They worked their way up from not knowing each other to meeting each other online and writing songs together and finally to touring and having concerts while being watched by hundreds of fans across the screen.

“From 2012 to 2014, there was no speaking to each other at all. It was all emails,” Helen said.

The practice of communicating through screens has stayed with Big Little Lions to this day. Because of the members’ distance from one another, the band usually holds online concerts for its audience, and it took the members quite some time to settle on the best way to both enjoy themselves and bring their music to the listeners. They used to use Zoom to hold concerts until they found out that Zoom cuts people off whenever somebody else speaks up, and it makes it difficult for them to play together in harmony. Later on, the band found Streamyard, which is a platform where multiple people can talk and converse with each other at the same time. Helen and Paul were able to play and sing together, and their songs actually sound like coherent songs that they want their audience to hear. The band has been sticking with Streamyard ever since, with Paul on the drums and keyboards and Helen on the guitar.

Even though they live far apart, the two musicians meet up once in a while to tour together. However, with the pandemic going on, their last live event was on March 12, Paul said. Not letting COVID-19 stop them, the band still tries to keep up with its usual online concerts, which take place once a month. This way, they are able to “connect and communicate” with their audience, Helen said, “even if it’s just by reading their comments.”

Social distancing poses no difficulty to Big Little Lions. They are still producing music to connect to the hearts of their fans and hoping to perform gradually for music lovers. After Are We There Yet?, the band anticipates being back with another single with a totally different tone from the feel-good and optimistic cheer of the album, promising to provide listeners with more music to enjoy and relate to.

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