Wine, Music & COVID-19

Mindi Abair on Making the best of the pandemic with days of wine and music.

Last year, we came to know the sounds of smooth jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and soul from Mindi Abair’s bone-shaking tour de force performances. We went on her journey as a saxophonist for American Idol, her tours of the Late Show circuits, and her collaborations with rock legends. Read more here. Albeit no amount of awards or abundance of artistic expression could have prepared anyone for the pandemic of 2020. We reached out to Abair recently to catch up. Under lockdown, like most of us, we wanted to reach out and get a glimpse of the world from her talented point of view. From recording new music to living her best wine club life, she remains extraordinary.

Abair, currently in California, has had ten no.1 radio hits, six Top 5 solo records and two #1 Billboard spots, a Grammy nomination, and more. But no award could prepare anyone for the coronavirus. Abair began her lockdown early. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the statewide order to stay home and limit social interaction on March 19. But how is she doing? “We’ve got cabin fever for sure, but nothing else,” she said. Initially, residents were ordered to stay home except to buy food, get urgent health care, care for a relative, or work at an essential business or job.

This pandemic spares no one. “I have had a few friends get the virus,” she says. “It’s interesting to live through people getting sick and find out what it’s like, not firsthand but through close friends. John Taylor, the bassist for Duran Duran, got it.”

Keeping the Cup Half Full…

Abair has made the best of a bad situation. “I’m having fun cooking, putting on our Facebook live concerts every week, and you know, keeping each other occupied thinking of fun stuff to do.” She continues, “We’ve got this really amazing setting, we live right on the water with an amazing bike path.”

In terms of staying positive, one does have to take steps. One of the greatest afflictions in our country is the anxiety brought on in the news. “We’ve curtailed our news watching — sitting there for six hours a day? No way, it puts you in this really bad state,” she says. We should all moderate our news intake. Instead, Abair says, “any sunny day, take advantage of it. Get out and feel the wind through your hair.”Abair’s music is pivotal to her health, too. Being able to keep working is a silver lining. “I’ve been working. We’d just finished a record a week before the whole world went into sheer panic mode.” Historically, some great works have emerged in times like these. For example, Shakespeare wrote some of his plays while in quarantine during the Black Plague. Abair continues, “the only thing I didn’t accomplish were some vocals. I’m going to do them here, at my house!”

Thoughts on Our Future…

We’re all wary of the aftermath. Everyone believes that once this is over, people will buy tickets and go to concerts again and that this will be an amazing thing. “Like a renaissance of music and art,” she says. “But I, myself, have to question if people are going to be ready.” Whether it’s safe or not, Abair (and we) believe we are creatures of habit.

We slap on a mask to shop, stay six-feet away from others, and have taken other precautions for quite a while. Abair ponders, “Is that just going to snap off and then, all of a sudden, be in a room with a thousand of my closest friends? We have to wait and heal a little bit.” Many experts believe that we are going to transition slowly. Or, as she put it, “to trickle back in as they feel comfortable.”We asked Abair one of our most divisive questions. Do you have any advice for our government leaders? “You know it’s been really interesting watching the different ways that different countries have handled this,” she replies. “During these times of crisis, you don’t really know what’s going on at a higher level.”

Florida is particularly important to Abair as it’s her home state. “I’m perturbed that my home state of Florida didn’t tell people to stay in earlier. We play so many shows in Florida,” she says. Initially, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted pressure to take statewide action issuing a stay-at-home order. A lockdown was ordered 12 days later than California.

Regardless of the lockdown issues, this crisis has pointed out many problems in our society. “I see people not having enough supplies, and as the richest country in the world, you would hope that would not be a problem for us — it saddens me,” she says. “I hope this will unite us, as opposed to dividing us.”

The Wine and the Music…

In addition to her unique and beautiful music, Abair also spearheads Reserve Tastings Wine Company. She pairs two of her loves: wine and music. With delivery to your home, this is the perfect membership during a lockdown. Members enjoy a selection of fantastic wines delivered to quarterly, music and wine pairing notes, music-inspired labels, as well as playlists and exclusive invitations to explore Abair’s music events.“Wine + Music is created with passion and artistry, forming the indelible soundtracks to the moments in our lives. We have found that great wine can absolutely be taken to the next level when paired with the right music, and the music becomes so much more when sipping the right wine.” Along with her partner, leading wine expert, Eric Guerra, Abair combines her artistry and unique aesthetic with boutique, high-quality wines.All in all, Abair has made the most out of quarantine. Make sure to visit her wine club and check out when and where you can catch some of her music. Finally, Abair says it best this last time around, “I just want to play and create and keep moving forward.” Clearly, even while weathering a pandemic, she kept her word! Find out what it’s like to become a leading saxophone artist by reading up on Mindi Abair.