By Marisa Valentino
Everyone is finding ways to stay entertained during the pandemic. That includes local musicians Harry Spero of East Quogue and Noah Chenfeld of East Hampton who kept busy by teaming up to create the viral song “Is It Corona Good?”
The song is about figuring out if life during this unusual time — including friendships with neighbors, TV shows, the quality of home cooking, Zoom parties — is actually good or just “Corona good.”
The tune quickly became a virtual YouTube sensation and gained thousands of views without promotion. Spero, 70, and Chenfeld, 24, think it’s the perfect addition to everyone’s pandemic playlist.
“People are dying. People have died. People are sick. People are out of work. People might never work again. It’s very sad for a lot of folks,” said Spero. “I thought that I’d just bring them something that would lighten up their day a little bit.”
During quarantine Spero, like many others, noticed his perception of “good” was changing. The realization first struck when he and his family were watching the Netflix documentary “Tiger King.” It isn’t the type of show they would enjoy under ordinary circumstances, “And yet we were compelled and we continued watching it,” said Spero. “Was that TV show good or was it ‘Corona Good?’”
He also noticed this change in perception with his daughter’s cooking. She’s the chef of the family and a vegetarian.
“She appears to be a pretty good cook,” said Spero. “But after two weeks, I have lost 11 pounds. And I question if her food is actually good or is it ‘Corona good?’
“Then I realized that I kind of came up with an idea that was a measuring tool of what we’re going through right now as our judgment has been compromised,” he added. “Are we really making the right decisions here?”
And that’s what the song is about.
Covid-19 didn’t only give Spero the inspiration for the song, it also provided him the time to write it. Before the epidemic, Spero was busy leading his advertising agency, Spero Media. The company sells tickets for sports clients like the Mets, Jets, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. With arenas, stadiums and auditoriums now closed due to COVID-19, business is paused. So with newfound free time Spero put his efforts to music and wrote the song.
But to see if the song was actually good or just “Corona good,” Spero played it for some friends, including Cliff and Chana Chenfeld, and their son Noah.
“It made me angry that I didn’t write it. I immediately knew I had to be a part of it,” said Noah Chenfeld.
So the two then began working to perfect the song together. Spero and Chenfeld are not new to the music scene and they’ve collaborated on other songs in the past.
“I’ve written songs my entire life,” said Spero, who had a band called Loaded and another titled Harry Spero and His Fabulous Friends. Both bands produced multiple albums that were distributed by major record labels dating from 1998 until two years ago.
Chenfeld is also in the business, and is a professional musician and songwriter. He has performed at various New York venues including Webster Hall, Bowery Electric, and The Bitter End. For “Is It Corona Good?” Noah sang, produced, and played all of the instruments on the recording.
Then Spero came up with the idea of producing a music video for the song with the cast made up of the songwriters’ families.
“We were social distancing the whole way,” said Spero. “Everybody’s wearing masks. Then we went to various locations in East Hampton and his [Chenfeld’s] squad shot the video.”
“My favorite scene from the music video would have to be the first verse when Harry, his wife Norine, and my parents say ‘hi’ to each other on the street, followed by realizing their friendliness is only ‘Corona good,’” said Chenfeld. “I was behind the camera and felt like Scorsese directing De Niro. It was that good.”
Once the music video was finished, “Is It Corona Good?” was uploaded to Youtube, Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes. It exploded overnight without any promotion. In just one day it had over 15,000 views on YouTube.
The song has since been played on radio and TV stations, and continues to gain popularity on the internet.
“The fact that we’re up to all these views is quite thrilling,” said Spero. “It has me believing that there’s really something there that people are appreciating.”
“I hope viewers and listeners have as much fun watching it as we did making it,” said Chenfeld who added that being part of the creation of the song was very enjoyable and rewarding. “I write and sing my own songs, but singing a song you didn’t write forces you to try out a different voice, and I enjoy that adaptation process.”
Now, the songwriting team is working on a social distancing dance craze called “The Pandemic Pivot.” They are also pursuing some follow-up ideas for other COVID-19 themed songs.
They report that one of those songs is called “I keep wearing the same shirt that I slept in last night.”