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Tara Linden

Downunder MM.jpg

This week's featured artist is Downunder, who has been playing energetic rock music in SL for over six years. Come get amped up at one of his shows soon!

His music can be found on SoundCloud.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: Well it was by accident really. I was on a program for a while called IMVU, where I could dj only. A friend on there that recommended Second Life to me, as he said you can perform there, so I joined up. At first I didn't like it, avatars weren't so good, so I went back to IMVU for another year or two. Then, I finally went back to Second Life and stayed. I was lucky to find an awesome manager, Pam Astonia, who has been with me for many years, and of course the amazing Downettes. They get to experience what it's like to be onstage and they all do an amazing job.

Q: How did music come into your life, and what instruments do you play?
A: My love for music began at an early age, always listening to the radio for new bands, but unfortunately I played professional sports so that took priority. It was only when I retired from sports that I joined bands and started playing all over Australia. I’ve tried to play the guitar but was hopeless, so singing is what I concentrated on.

Q: How would you describe your style, and how has it evolved over the years?
A: My style is all over the place, I like to consider myself an entertainer as well as a singer. I love having the crowd involved, I feed off that energy and at most shows I have too much energy and perform for many hours. I think my record is a five hour show. I think most SL performers evolve together for all new genres that come around.

Q: What are some of the albums/tracks that have helped get you through the last year?
A: Bands like Matchbox 20, Neil diamond, Foo fighters, and Inxs to name a few that I draw my inspiration from and have helped me get through a personally terrible year for myself.

Q: What was your favourite inworld performance?
A: Other than the numerous charity events, the show that always sticks in my mind was a memorial for a past manager of mine, Annie, who unfortunately passed away. It was a very hard show to do as she was loved by a lot of people, and I still dedicate her favourite song to her to this day, bless her.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Well, the talent. So many amazing performers in Second Life right in your lounge room, every genre, anything you like. Now that is amazing.

 

Thank you, Downunder! If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Have an amazing week, everybody! 

Tara Linden

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This week’s featured artist is Virgil, who plays mainly rock and blues, and has had his SL shows streamed on the South Pole!

Check out his music and calendar below.
FACEBOOK
FLICKR
WEBSITE
SOUNDCLOUD
CALENDAR

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: When I first came to Second Life I was looking for an online game to play, like The Sims or WoW, and had never even heard of SL. Once I got online and started exploring I was hooked. I did all the things we all do, I imagine, and then a few years ago I met a woman that sang in SL. When she found out I was a musician, she said I should give it a try. So I did.

Q: How did music come into your life, and what instruments do you play?
A: My parents sent me to piano lessons when I was eleven years old. I went for a few years, and this really helped me understand music and some theory. I purchased an acoustic guitar from a childhood friend for $5.00 around that same time, and started learning open chords and beginner stuff. One of my friends played a little more than me and he would show me things… of course back then we did not have the internet - it was all sharing and listening to other players and just figuring stuff out.

I play the guitar and also play the bass and some keyboards. I used to have a drum kit as well, but now usually just program my drums or grab a drum track offline. I record all of my own backing tracks and play 100% of the guitars you hear, and I play all of the instruments on many songs. And, of course, I play the guitar and sing live at shows.

Q: How would you describe your style, and how has it evolved over the years?
A: I am a rock and blues guitar player. I also play pop, country, and can play a little jazz, but mainly I just love to play guitar. I have played in bands since I was 17 years old and still play shows in real life. The guys I listen to and learn from are guys like Brian May (Queen), Peter Frampton, Joe Bonamassa, Eddie Van Halen, and Stevie Ray Vaughn… Jeff beck...David Gilmour… I could go on and on. As for singing, I never really sang more than a few songs here and there, I was always the lead guitar player. When I came to Second Life I started singing more, and now I sing all the time. I also write songs. Songwriters I admire are guys like Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, JJ Cale, The Stones, Ric Ocasek (The Cars)... Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, and of course so many blues guys. As for evolving… well, we are always evolving and striving for new and better sounds. For me, the journey is always about tone and taste. I try to slow down and focus on phrasing and expressing my feelings through the instrument, to have some kind of communication or conversation with the listener. I also believe that tone is 90% of the battle when playing live. If you have a good tone in your instrument you are able to play and express yourself so much better.

Q: What are some of the albums/tracks that have helped get you through the last year?
A: Oh wow… this is a tough question. Music really lifts us up, you know? I don't care what you are into or like listening to, it touches the pleasure centers in your mind and transports {you}... I tend to listen to The Stones, Clapton, Beck, Matthew Sweet… some harder rock too. I go back to Sheer Heart Attack album by Queen or Queen II, just about ANYTHING by Joe Bonamassa.

Q: What was your favorite inworld performance?
A: I enjoy all of the venues I play at and the idea that I am able to reach people from all over the planet is remarkable to me. I would say my most memorable was probably the SL17B. I had a great slot there on a Friday night and there were SO many people there… really a good time, and I met some good friends due to that show.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: The most meaningful aspect is reaching people and providing some relief or comfort or just plain entertainment to them. When someone IMs me and tells me how my playing or singing touches them, it just makes my day. I was once playing a show and I got an IM from a woman that was part of a research team in Antarctica… she sent me some pics of their station and wanted me to know I was being heard at the South Pole, I mean how awesome is that? I have had people tell me they have their guitar out at home and are playing along, and some go and get their spouses or kids to listen. I have also had people tell me they play my shows while driving and share with others in the car… it is an honor to be able to reach that many people in all of these different situations and share a feeling or moment with them.

Virgil also sells his own line of guitars on the marketplace! Check them out here.

Thank you, Virgil! If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.
 

Tara Linden

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This week we are featuring Mankind Tracer, a.k.a. Seth Regan, who has been playing rock music in SL since 2006. He is a prolific performer inworld as well as IRL and has made several albums over the years.

For more information, please check out his official website.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I was surfing Yahoo in 2006 from my apartment in New York and saw an ad come up. Of course I had to check out this new thing called a ‘Virtual World’!

Q: How old were you when you started playing music, and what prompted your interest?
A: I originally started piano lessons at about nine years old after my parents saw I was able to play songs by ear. I took lessons for a few years, but made the move to guitar after hearing Pink Floyd and other cool rock tunes I was exposed to at a young age by my five older brothers.

Q: Tell us about some musicians who have been important/influential to you.
A: I have a lot of favorites, so many songs by so many phenomenal artists and bands are crammed in my head. I’d probably say Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands, some classical tunes as well, and I’m also a big Billy Joel fan. I love so much music from so many different periods and decades. 

Q: Have you been making new music during the quarantine? If not, how have you managed your relationship to music/creativity during a time when it can be hard to feel motivated?
A: I released my last album Covers - Part I in 2020 during Covid. It’s a double album that contains 25 cover tunes that I recorded as acoustic covers and some that I did more full studio productions on. During this unprecedented time, I’ve turned to music, as I always have. It’s my home. It’s my soul, my breath and my guiding light when I just need to regroup.

Q: You've been active in SL for what, about 14 years now? How has the music scene changed, and how has your approach to performing inworld evolved?
A: It seems to be in a constant state of flux, just like it does in RL. Of course with the unfortunate start of Covid last year, many artists were no longer able to play their RL gigs, so they migrated to other online platforms, SL included. My approach to performing in SL hasn’t changed at all. I have always recognized that these are people from all over the world behind the avatars. 
 
I’d also like to add that when a venue, or any business for that matter, is kind enough to book me, I put my name and my all behind the event, including creating promotional graphics and marketing to about 400K+ SL’ers within my networks. I think it’s very important that as the musicians, besides our performances, we do what we can to help promote those who are hiring us to perform for their audience(s).

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I would have to say diversity. There are so many wonderful, talented artists from all over the globe. This as well as the inherent property of SL itself… the platform. When I first started, I noticed there were some sending a DJ signal into SL. I thought, well if they can send a signal off a board, why can’t I send a live signal. Then I very quickly started my live shows, not before seeing other live musicians were in on it too. It’s an amazing tool we musicians have with SL. I use(d) it to springboard my RL career. I chose to mix SL and RL. Some don’t and that’s perfectly fine. We have that choice. For me personally, I managed to leverage my SL career to gain more exposure for both Mankind and Seth. I am forever grateful.

Follow his socials for the latest news on his music: 
Facebook (fan)
Facebook (personal)
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube

Thank you, Mankind Tracer! If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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This week's featured musician is Al Hofmann, whose one-man band has treated us to a fusion of rock, jazz, and electronic elements for 14 years. With over 3,000 inworld shows under his belt, his style has no doubt evolved time and time again and each performance brings fresh interpretations.

Please check out his official website and YouTube channel to experience his music for yourself!

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about Second Life in the summer of 2006 on a local tv program about new conceptual art tendencies.
 
Q: What instruments do you play, and at what age did you pick them up?
A: I play the guitar: electric, acoustic, classical and midi guitar. With the midi guitar, you can play any instrument sound with it. MIDI is an acronym that stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It's a way to connect devices that make and control sounds (such as synthesizers, samplers, and computers) so that they can communicate with each other using MIDI messages. {I also play} bass guitar, percussion and charango, an ancient South American {stringed instrument}, kind of mandolin. I started to play the guitar at the age of 5.
 
Q: How would you describe your music?
A: The style I play is being defined as fusion. A mix of different styles, mainly jazz and rock.
 
Q: Tell us about some of the musicians who have been the most influential to you.
A: John Mclaughlin, Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Weather Report, etc.
 
Q: How has your relationship to music and creativity been affected by the pandemic, and what would you say to inspire other artists during this time?
A: The positive side of the pandemic is that you have time to fully embrace what you do. Whatever that might be, you can improve what you love to do the most. A wonderful opportunity to even discover the purpose of your life. I strongly believe there is art in every individual. Life and humans are an act of art.
 
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: The most meaningful aspect of the SL music community is planetary conscience. No more borders, languages, political implications, time frames. One love: Art on the planet. SL has given us all a terrific chance to connect with artists and people around the world.

 

Thank you, Al!

If you or somebody you know would like to submit content to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

Cory MM.png

This week's featured musician is Joel Eilde (Joel Tamas irl), who plays rock interspersed with little doses of jazz, country, and blues both inworld and with his band Red Heaven. He has played over 3,000 shows in SL over the last decade and encourages newcomers to join the unique virtual music scene.

Please check out the official Red Heaven website.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: Back in early 2007, I was working as a tech journalist and I was doing a week-long series about Second Life, which I had only just heard of at that point. So I made an account to jump in and try it out and… I stayed. Simple as that. 

Q: What instruments do you play, and what made you pick them up?
A: I sing, I play guitar, and I play bass. Like a lot of young adolescent males with unrealistic dreams of stardom, I picked up bass as a young teen and got more into guitar later on. I didn’t get singing for real until I started performing in Second Life in 2011. I had dabbled before, but never felt confident about my voice until I was in my 40s. Now I actually think of myself as a singer first, so things have really changed.

Q: Tell us the origin story of your band Red Heaven.
A: Red Heaven is, unequivocally, a Second Life success story. I started performing in Second Life because I wanted an option to play music without going to bars and all that malarkey. And doing so built up my skills really fast: singing, playing, songwriting, all of it. I really credit Second Life for being the woodshed that got me to the point where I could really make Red Heaven a proper real-life band. I honestly couldn’t have gotten to this point with the albums and real world live shows if I hadn’t been grinding in Second Life for so many years. 

Q: Are your bandmates also SL Residents?
A: Only one: Olga Zoubkova, whose SL name is Loreen Aldrin. She lives in Russia so she’s not part of my performing band, but she’s all over every single Red Heaven album. The others, I don’t think they have any idea what Second Life is. :)

Q: How has your relationship to creativity been affected by the last year?
A: Well, since January 2020 I’ve released two albums (with another to come this summer), started streaming live Facebook shows, did the biggest livestreamed full-band show of my life, and have been pounding out Second Life shows on the regular. So I guess I’d say it’s been pretty good, but I’m also one of those very lucky people who’s had tons of free time during the pandemic so far, and therefore it’s been easy for me to put it to good use doing what I love.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: What I love more than anything and with all my heart is the absence of “stardom.” An ordinary person can just turn on their mic for an hour and play their acoustic guitar and sing, and they can get a legit following and even make a little money. That’s a beautiful thing to me; the way Second Life audiences embrace amateur music without celebrity. I don’t know any other audience that’s so open to and supportive of amateur music. And I honestly wish the world was more like Second Life in that way.

 

Thank you, Joel!

If you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.
 

Tara Linden

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Photo taken at The Magic Happens Here

This week's featured artist is Randal Prater, a multi-instrumentalist who plays dreamy and cinematic indie pop in both RL and SL. You may also know him as Linus Radford, his original SL persona, as he's been a Resident for about 14 years! He just released a new album called Solo Seasons, so please check out his music on Spotify and YouTube.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: This would have been January of 2007. I had just finished being the frontman for The Pagan States, and before that, Creeping Myrtle. I was just starting to record my first solo album, 'Falling to Pisces.' I didn't want to fall into the rut of losing my live chops and get rusty while in the recording studio. So, I was looking for a way to play solo acoustic shows while also making progress on my new album since it would be the first time I'd be playing all the instruments myself instead of relying on bandmates.

My wife discovered an article about a virtual world where you could be yourself and be seen by only your pixels (an avatar). She saw that musicians were playing shows in there and that I should have a look. So, once I dove in and did my own research, I discovered that there were lots of singer-songwriters out there in the exact boat I was in, or at least in the same proverbial harbor. Juel Resistance (Suzen Juel) was the first artist I discovered and then it snowballed from there. My second album (Second Tuesday of Never) actually features a lot of other Second Life artists, including Suzen. Anyway, I started playing shows in SL and did so until 2010 when it became too painful to play guitar anymore. So, I reinvented myself as a part-time piano player just so I could keep writing and recording songs.

Q: What instruments do you play, and how did music come into your life?
A: Back when I had fewer physical limitations, I'd play whatever instrument in the studio that needed playing. I don't think I got proficient at any of them since I'm completely self-taught. But, I did a passable job on most things I tried. That said, it is quite painful to my ears and ego whenever I listen back to myself on drums or harmonica.

My origin story starts in the womb when my mom played nonstop early Beatles records for nine months. It was a foregone conclusion that I'd end up being some kind of musician or artist. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be George Harrison. Then once I got to high school, I wanted to be John Lennon. Unfortunately for myself and the whole world, that's when he was cruelly taken away from us. But, if there's one singer-songwriter that ever existed that sums up most of what I'm trying to say through my own songs, it's definitely John.

Q: How do you decide what visuals to go for in music videos, and how does the music inform it?
A: I love that question and already feel like my answer will fall short. But, here goes... This was the first album where I decided I wanted a video for every song and not just one or two. I did the videos by following the track order. So, track one was done first and the final track was done last. I think I got better at video editing by the end. Anyway, the one thread that tied the videos together was that each one had a cameo by one or more crows. Sometimes, it only lasts for a split second, so the viewer has to pay attention. I remember Alfred Hitchcock always made a similar cameo in his old films, and he had a film called The Birds. So, that's likely where I got my idea to tie it all together that way. Of course, it also helps that the final track is called 'Full Crow Moon.'

Q: Who are some cool musicians that you've discovered over the last year?
A: If you'd said the past decade, that would be much easier. I tend to stick with a songwriter for a while. So, if they come out with an album one year that speaks to me, chances are good that I'll also be interested in their fifth album. Since nothing I've discovered in the past twelve months rivals what I've discovered in the past five to ten years, I'll say that my favorite current singer-songwriter is Angus Stone, who mostly records and performs with his sister Julia. My favorite band is Doves. Their album The Universal Want is hands down my favorite from 2020. Since Wolf Alice is finally putting out a new album in 2021, I predict that will be my favorite for this year. Stay tuned. I'd be remiss in leaving out my dear friend, and sometime collaborator, Bruce Lash. He's got albums in both years and they're fab.
 
Q: Describe the creation of your album Solo Seasons and your creative vision for your music in general.
A: Thank you for specifically mentioning my latest album. It was my first one in six years, and the first one that I played all the parts myself, since the first solo record. This time everything was played on keys, even the drum parts, so it was easy to just write and record the whole thing by myself in the crypt (my basement studio). As with every solo album, the theme was dictated by the number. This was the fourth record, so ‘four seasons' seemed like a decent theme. That meant two songs for every season, eight in total. I just mapped it out like that. So, the first two songs on the album are about springtime and the final two tracks are about winter. I'm very methodical when it comes to details and making sure everything is in its proper place (even when usually I'm the only one who will notice).

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: While it's admittedly been a minute since I was playing shows myself, I'll say from a fan's perspective that it's a great world to be a part of. Especially during this era where most of us are spending even more time in the house than before, it's my current way of providing some semblance of normalcy to my weirdly wired brain. I can just walk around in SL and catch a show and be shoulder to shoulder with other concertgoers without wearing a mask or worrying about anything other than which show I am going to see when there are at least three good ones going during any given hour. So, it's easy to be grateful to the virtual world of Second Life and all the tireless work and creation of the music community, and all artists in general.

 

Thank you, Randal! If you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

Oblee MM.jpg

This week's featured artist is Oblee, whose performances in SL center around live looping to create a unique experience for the audience every time. 

Please check out his music on his official website, as well as his social media below:

Spotify
Facebook
SoundCloud
BandCamp

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about Second Life shortly after its release, but didn't spend any time inworld until late 2007. It was an exciting time to be there! I had some friends in France who had done a little machinima pilot in SL and wanted me to do some voices. That's when my current avatar was born. At the time I was playing drums in a few touring bands and was looking for a way to play live, original music to people around the world without having to sit in a van with 5 other grimy musicians. I was becoming the prototypical and annoying drummer gone solo and SL was my accomplice. 

Q: Your music is hard to define. What genres would you say it draws from?
A: Thank you! I think that in part, a lot of my original music was born in SL, or at least born when my mind was often in SL. As far as a specific influential genre, I really can't say. I've never been very proficient at describing music or knowing which genre was which. I'm a lousy critic, and can usually find something I like about any piece of music. That said, I think the musicians I look up to the most are the ones who just did what they were going to do without commercial pressure. I've never heard music that didn't influence me in one way or another. 
 
Q: Who are some of the musicians that have influenced your style?
A: The musicians I've heard! While I say that with some degree of humor, I really have been influenced by everything I've heard. I do hear bands like The Cure or artists like Tom Waits pop up in my original material, and the band The The was always an inspiration to be a self-produced one man band kind of act. A lot of the musicians with whom I've played in bands have influenced my style and my attitude toward songwriting. The Country/Americana songwriter Sand Sheff was a huge influence on me personally and professionally, and all this after my first words to him were "I hate country music!" I guess in the end, the artists who have influenced me most were the ones I perceived as authentic or honest, playing their music because it was burning a hole out of them instead of playing it to seek some kind of commercial success. All this aside, I think that a lot of non musical things have affected my musical style as well, the natural world in particular. I used to describe my music as like the "house music on the Millennium Falcon" in an attempt to say it respected the old and the new, the classic and the modern, technology and nature, all at the same time. 

Q: What type of equipment do you use?
A: At this point? OLD equipment! I've recently become a parent, which has, predictably, stopped my impulse buying of musical equipment and instruments. I use a Boomerang III looper run on a sub mix from a 16 channel mixing board. Into that looper goes a DW drum set, a few acoustic guitars, an electric bass guitar, a handful of vintage synthesizers, an upright piano, congas, djembes, bongos, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I'm not much of a gear head, and feel like the "feeling" far outweighs the instruments, but I am slightly addicted to old synthesizers. Outside the mixer I use the normal rack full of compressors, gates, and effects units to make a hopefully bearable, radio-like sound to my live performances. The looper itself has no permanent memory or click track or other bells and whistles. It is just a bare bones machine that records and plays. One of the reasons I've stuck with that particular looper is the fact that it has no safety net. Once a song is over, it's all erased forever. Mistakes can be song-ending and quite embarrassing. I think the potential for catastrophic, embarrassing failure is what makes live music live music. {In SL, Oblee likes to use Thunk equipment.}
 
Q: Tell us about your favorite experience playing live in SL.
A: I've had some amazing times in SL. Some of the most fun was on those wild nights quad-streaming with Los Federales, or dual streams with Beth Odets. (Ask her about what I did on her birthday.) Apart from the musical collaborations, my favorite experience, in a broad sense, is having an audience who wants to hear my original music. An audience who is listening, often alone, at home, is so much different than a real life bar audience because they notice musical nuances and they actually hear the lyrics to songs. I've had a lot more audience members tell me they liked the lyrics to a song in SL than I have in RL. The first time someone IM'd that the sim is full and they couldn't get in was a wild and exciting experience. It was so nice that I now play homestead sims as often as possible.  After all these years, I have trouble pointing to specific moments in time as the best times, but I can say with confidence that it is the people that make those moments. Playing the SL birthday celebrations has always been a highlight to the year, and one of those moments that I am very proud to be a part of such a vibrant community. Oh yeah, Simon's party for the solstice was a real hoot!

 
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Musicians need an audience. At the end of the day, I think we all write and perform music as an act of communication. The music industry can be a cruel beast, and a lot of times a musician's ability to reach a larger audience is inexorably tied to their location and/or willingness to take enormous risks. The Second Life community tears down a lot of those barriers and is a loving and supportive group who gives artists a place to shine, sell their music, and perform. I often say that my original music was born in SL and that is very true. When my paying gigs in RL demanded playing popular cover songs, my SL audiences were encouraging me to write more and cover less. I'm eternally grateful for the people I've met playing music in SL.

 

Oblee was also featured in the Drax Files, a Destination Guide video, and his local paper.

 

Thank you, Oblee!

 

If you or someone you know would like to submit content to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form.
 

Tara Linden
Parker-Static-MM_2.jpg

Parker Static-Riley at BBW Heaven Beach Club

This week we are featuring Parker Static-Riley, who has been singing an impressive and stylistically broad repertoire in Second Life for a decade. Her stage presence is sweet and uplifting, and she has performed at many major SL events like SLB Music Fest, Music Faire, and more.

Check out her music on her SoundCloud and find more information on her official website.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about SL in 2007... I came to SL knowing I wanted to sing after watching an episode of MTV’s True Life about a girl who performed in SL under the name Keiko Takamura. I joined and like many people, I was so confused at Welcome Island. I logged out and didn't come back for 1.5 years. I came back after seeing a rerun of that episode, this time with a little more patience. Lol! Here I am! 

Q: What initially drew you to music?
A: In RL I grew up in a family of singers... Legit, everyone in my family sings. So singing was just a normal part of life for me.  When I really discovered my passion for music, I was four years old leading songs in the choir. Music is my passion, it’s just a huge part of who I am.

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
A: In no particular order, just to name a few... Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder, Adele, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston.

Q: If you could open for any musician/group, who would it be?
A: Stevie Wonder, because he is one of the few legends of music who is still alive, and he is one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Q: What are your favorite genres of music?
A: I love them ALL but being from Nashville, country, gospel, soul, and R&B all have a special place in my heart. However, I cover all genres at my shows.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Second Life is a marvelous platform that allows us to share and touch people all over the world with song. For me, it's being able to make people FEEL. Whether it's happiness, sadness, a memory from childhood, or laughter at me being silly. As long as you FEEL something, I'm good with that.

 

Thank you, Parker!

 

If you or anybody you know would like to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

 

Tara Linden

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Photo Credit: Kissmy Spicoli

This week's featured artist is Jed Luckless, who has been providing us with upbeat and improvisational guitar jams since 2009! With over 600 shows under his belt, his immense music archive is filled with enough tunes to get you through the rest of winter and then some.

Please check out his website as well as his YouTube channel.

He also has some great videos of inworld performances: Nantucket Yacht Club, The Cave, & Hippiestock.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I first became aware of Second Life in 2009. I heard there was a live music scene happening there. At the time I was playing in a Grateful Dead cover band, and I was honing my skills on that music so I wanted someplace I could recreate the complete Dead show experience. I did a search in Second Life for Grateful Dead and stumbled upon a {region} called DarkStar, which had a complete recreation of the Dead’s stage setup, and I knew I had found my place. That was my home for many years and I played a lot of shows there. After a while, I branched out into playing more of my original music.


Q: Your music draws from a variety of styles, what subgenres do you think would be appropriate to describe it as?
A: My style really is all over the place, which likely comes from being exposed to all kinds of music by my parents, from classical to jazz to showtunes. My own musical tastes gravitated initially toward hard, classic rock, like Led Zeppelin, then later progressive rock like Genesis, and eventually jam band music, which is typically how I describe myself now: jam band inspired, which reflects the large amount of improvisational jamming I do at my shows.


Q: How many years have you been playing guitar, and how did you get into it?
A: I picked up guitar around age 15. I think it all started with the Partridge Family. I wanted to be Keith Partridge and I loved the idea of driving around in a bus playing music. An early love for guitar heavy rock bands like Kiss, Aerosmith and AC/DC also propelled me to pick up the six-string.


Q: Tell us about some of the musicians who had an influence on your style.
A: I mentioned a few of them already, but not the biggest one which is Phish. Not too many people even know who Phish is, but they have such an eclectic mix of styles in their music and that’s what first drew me in. It might surprise people to know that I first saw Phish live in 1992 and have seen hundreds of their shows over the past 30 years. They do a lot of improvisational jamming too. My tours and shows in Second Life are very much patterned after the way Phish and The Grateful Dead do it, with a run of shows set up around a theme like “Winter Tour 2021” and stops at various venues across the grid over a few weeks or months. The concerts themselves are typically a two-set format with a setbreak.


Q: Do you have to adjust any effects like distortion, whammy bar, pedals, etc. while streaming in a way that is different from a performance in the physical world?
A: I would say that if anything, I have to change the way I perform in the physical world to replicate what I do in Second Life, since that is where I have really developed my act and my sound. When playing in Second Life, I use in-ear monitors and an on-stage mixer that allows me to put drums, keys and other instruments through my looper to create a kind of one-man band. It’s really hard to do that on a physical stage with the typical amps and monitors that a bar or club has set up. In Second Life we also have an amazing particle light show by Moondance Parx. If only we could make that work in the real world!


Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I think the answer is right there in your question. Community. The group of fans and friends that come to the shows and the interaction I have with them and they have with each other is really what it’s all about for me. It’s very similar to the vibe of a Dead or Phish show, and that’s the goal. It’s not just about the music, it’s about the scene. That’s why we have a set break, so people can socialize and connect. I totally love that I’ve been able to build a community around my original music and I couldn’t have done that without Second Life. But my shows are only as good as the energy the crowd brings to them. The more connected we all are the more the circuit hums and the more likely it is to be an electric experience for everyone.

 

Thank you, Jed!

If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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Photo provided by Fly Kugin

This week's featured artist is Fly Kugin, an immensely talented violin player who injects a classical flair to jazz, rock, pop, and music from all over the world. She enjoys both solo performances as well as dual-streams with many talented SL performers.

For more information and to hear her music, check out her official website and SoundCloud

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I discovered Second Life five and a half years ago. I had a new laptop and was searching for games. I discovered an advertisement on the internet about Second Life, so I downloaded the viewer and created an account. It happened by accident via the internet.


Q: At what age did you start playing violin, and do you play any other instruments?
A: I was at a fine arts high school when I started playing the violin and have been playing since then. At the same time I also started playing the piano. In addition to the violin and the piano, I can also play the flute and the ukulele.


Q: Are there any aspects of playing the violin that are specific to this instrument and not found in other string instruments?
A: I was at high school when I started playing the piano and violin, as I stated above, and in the beginning the violin was harder for me to play than the piano. This is because I had experience with the piano in middle school. I had a small keyboard and was playing melodies and the piano was initially my first musical passion. At the beginning of my professional classical music education in high school, my main instrument was the violin and everyone in my class had to play the piano. I still loved to play the piano at the time, as I was more familiar with the violin, but one cannot get the sounds as easily on the violin than on the piano. But my high school violin teacher started to give me very emotional pieces to play. An example of such a piece is Pietry Illyric Tchaikovski's "G Minor Canzonetta." This particular classical piece went straight to my heart and was so emotional. After this, I started to practice the violin more. Within four years I realized my violin skills had improved very much. I applied to university with the violin as my piece for the entrance exam to the music program, and I passed! At this point, the violin was my main passion. In music I really cannot compare any instrument, but I was wrong because you have to be patient with instruments. I was not patience with the violin, so in the beginning the piano was my main piece and I practiced it more. I believe that there is no instrument that is harder than any other: all instruments can be played if you have time, patience, and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to learn the instrument.


Q: What are some of your favorite songs to cover on the violin?
A: There are too many to count and name! But there are a few that I feel really passionate about. These pieces are: Lara Fabian's "Je T'aime," Queen's "Show Must Go On," Tomaso Albinoni's "Adagio," and Lucio Dalla's "Caruso." I am always adding new covers, but I cannot ever stop playing these four pieces.


Q: Tell us about your creative process as it pertains to instrumental music, like how you convey ideas and feelings without words.
A: This is hard to explain, as it is about feeling. For example, if the song is about losing someone, I put myself into the song so to speak and I think about a time when I have lost someone and put that emotion into playing that particular piece. If the song is a funny song, I remember a time when I was having fun as a child and put that particular feeling. My feelings are reflected with my violin fingers when playing. Music is a reflection of feeling, so the audience will feel the pieces as well. If I feel happy I will play happy music, If I am sad then the music I am playing is sad.


Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: For me the most meaningful aspect of the SL community is the music. Because music is life for me. Music is the place or object where I realize I am real when I am in Second Life. Music makes me feel so alive.  I could make music in any location or in any time zone, but Second Life provides a great opportunity for me to share my music to strangers and friends who are around the world. This is important because there are so many people around the world who have different perspectives about music, so getting appreciation from many people from different backgrounds and cultures gives me confidence and makes me very happy.

 

Thank you, Flyqueen!

If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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This week's featured artist is Lexus Melodie, who has been performing soulful indie folk in Second Life for about a decade. Her interest was piqued by the creative and entrepreneurial sides of SL, and she even met her RL husband inworld! She's been writing songs about experiences from both of her lives ever since.

Please check out her Youtube channel for some RL content, as well as some inworld performances: Cafe Musique, this glamorous closeup, and a birthday concert.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: Back in about 2008, I was working in London and a friend showed me an article about Second life and the people who were making money with land and making clothing etc.  I had already played Sims for a few years and it felt like the ultimate upgrade. I spent a year making clothing until I rented a store at the classic old SL venue Guthries, where I got my first taste of live music in SL. I never looked back.

Q: What instruments do you play in addition to singing, and at what age did you start practicing music? 
A: I play guitar for the most part these days, but I've been pretty musical since the age of 5, when I started playing trumpet, piano, and later, cello.  I was lucky enough to live somewhere where music education is free. I feel like music has always been in me. Guitar is the only instrument I hadn't had formal lessons for, so it's my bit of fun really.

Q: Tell us about a few of the musicians who have influenced your style.
A: This is a difficult one... I love so much music but I'm probably influenced quite a lot by the angst of Alanis Morrisette, the heartbreak of Amy Winehouse... the melodies of SIA and a whole lotta soul music.

Q: What do you think is the best show you've ever played in SL, and what made it so special to you? 
A: After 10 years on and off of playing music in SL it would be almost impossible to pick a single event, but the thing that makes it so special in SL are the people who come out and listen to the shows.  They could just plug in the stream on their land, but they make the effort to come out and support the venues and the shows. They make me feel like my words mean something in a world in which it's hard to be heard sometimes. It's a relationship... I perform, but they give back so much... it would impossible to do it without them.

Q: What advice would you give to other musicians and artists who are struggling to find inspiration these days? 
A: Don't be afraid to step away from music, whether it's for a week or a month or longer... sometimes you just need to refresh and give yourself the time to get inspired again. Listen to the music that used to make you sing aloud in the car, or dance around your room with a hairbrush mic.  


Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you? 
A: Just that.... that it truly is a community. For all the good and the bad... we come here to escape and end up mimicking reality. We might not want to be physically near people but you still want the other parts of the community, friendships, and even commerce that SL has to offer.  It's a really special place that has been important to an awful lot of people for a million different reasons. It's slife as we know it.

 

Thank you, Lexus! If you or anybody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

 

Tara Linden
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(photo of Zak Claxton taken at Lutz City of Templemore)
 

This week's featured artist is Zak Claxton, whose smooth and easygoing tracks range from indie pop to alternative rock. With over a decade of experience playing music in SL, his shows have an atmosphere of heartfelt exuberance that makes every person in the room feel welcome.

Please check out his music and videos!
http://www.zakclaxton.com
https://zakclaxton.bandcamp.com/releases
https://theystolemycrayon.bandcamp.com/releases
Video for "Blew the Dust Away"

1. When/how did you hear about Second Life?
The shortest possible answer is that in fall 2006, my friend and former bandmate Mike Burns called me to chat one day and said, “Have you heard about Second Life? Duran Duran has an island there.” None of these words made any sense to me at the time, and I had to have him explain the entire concept of a virtual world. I was living here in the Los Angeles area, and the woman I was seeing lived in Seattle. We’d been taking trips back and forth to spend time together, but Second Life seemed like an ideal way to be able to hang out and feel like we were connecting beyond the aspects of emails, texts, and phone calls. I told her about it, and we signed up together on October 12, 2006. At that point, I had no idea that music performance was at all possible in SL. On one of our early virtual dates, we looked in the event listings to find something to do, and noted that a person named Keiko Takamura has hosting some kind of concert, so we went and checked it out. My professional background and career is in audio technology and musical instruments, so it didn’t take long at all for me to try doing my own livestream shows in world.

2. What instruments do you play?
My primary instrument for all of my SL performances is the acoustic guitar, supplemented by occasional harmonica. As a singer-songwriter, I find that keeping things simplified and streamlined helps keep the focus on the song itself. My SL shows are 100% live, with no backing tracks or prerecorded material, though I think all SL music performance styles are appropriate and welcomed. In real life, I’ve spent nearly my entire life as a performing musician, and my instruments also include electric guitar, bass, piano/keyboards, and the art of music engineering and production.

3. You mentioned on your Bandcamp that you are also in a band. Could you tell us about some of the pros and cons of solo work vs. being in a group?
I love playing in bands, but there is a massive difference between the process of being a solo artist versus a member of a band. The biggest difference is that to do well in a band, it requires a serious time commitment among a group of people for rehearsal, and there are also the challenges of having to balance the differing goals and musical styles of multiple people. As a result, there’s often a lot of compromise, and when you hear about bands breaking up due to “creative differences”, that’s a real thing. As a solo artist, I have the benefit of playing whatever music I choose to, and it’s much easier to hop onstage by myself and do my thing. That being said, the fun and camaraderie of being in a band is something every musician should experience at some point. I am currently a member of a recording project called They Stole My Crayon, along with Christina Lee and Bunny Knutson. Our debut album came out in 2016, and we are slowly working on a sophomore release.

4. You said you've been playing music in SL since 2006, wow! What are some of your favorite aspects of the way the music scene has evolved?
When I got started in 2006, live music in Second Life was still a relatively new concept, and the entire community of SL music performers was maybe 30-40 people. Over the years, that’s grown immensely. There are now hundreds and hundreds of people who perform live shows on a regular basis in SL. I would also say that the quality of overall talent in SL has gotten better and better over the course of time as more and more serious real life musicians discover SL and bring their music shows in world. In terms of the music scene beyond the performers, the challenges that SL-based live music venue face have remained the same. It’s a difficult task to operate a live music spot in SL and be able to break even on the expenses. Also, like anything done successfully, it requires a high level of organization and coordination between the artists, their management, their fans, and the venue’s staff. I’ve been very fortunate to have had excellent support from many SL venues, and I’m always grateful to them and do whatever I can to help them do well.

5. Tell us about some of your biggest musical influences.
If I answered that question completely, you’d run out of room on this web site. I started on piano at age three and guitar at seven, so I’ve had over 40 years to accumulate musical influences. Some of the big ones that are manifested in my own original music and my SL performances: Neil Young, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Kurt Vile, Sun Kil Moon, R.E.M., and many others. That being said, my personal tastes as a listener are extremely wide. I am mostly into new indie folk and indie rock artists and bands, both hard/edgy and soft/introspective, and I seek out new music constantly.

6. What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
I have to give you two of them. First is the aspect of it being a real community. I have attended a number of SL Live Jams, where members of the SL music community get together in a physical location along with fans and friends, and do multiple days of live performances. I’ve attended those events in places like San Diego, Orange County (CA), Nashville, and Minneapolis. I have gotten to know people via the SL music scene who have become lifelong friends, and I highly value those relationships. The second aspect is the fact that a person like me has been able to cultivate a worldwide following as a musician. I would not have ever been in a position to do all of the touring and promotion that it would traditionally require to have music fans throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, but due to SL, that’s exactly what I’ve done over the past 14+ years. Second Life is a great platform for any musician who wants exposure to a global audience who is eager for good music.


Thank you, Zak!


If you or someone you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form

Tara Linden

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Tone Uriza at Blues Seduction

This week's featured artist is Tone Uriza, a local blues legend in his home state of Arizona and an active Second Life musician since 2007. 

Check out his website to listen to his music and learn more about his lengthy performance career.

He also plays at his own club, Blues Seduction (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rainy Valley/238/227/21) every Saturday at 7pm SLT.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I found out about Second Life in January of 2007. A friend of mine that played drums in my hometown, Kyle Bronsdon (aka Kyle Beltran in Second Life), sent out an email to all of his musician friends and fans about a virtual club that he had created. He said we could all come and see his avatar perform on our computers. The catch was it required creating a Second Life account. Because some of our peers were technically challenged (mostly baby boomers) most just ignored the email. But I did not. You see, I began studying digital electronics in 1976. From 1980 to 1989 I worked for a digital electronics research and development corporation as a line tech and later as a senior technician for reliability engineering. Needless to say, I used computers on a daily basis for testing line product as well as new designs from engineering. All the while playing music professionally at night. In 1990 I quit my day job and went full-time as a professional musician and sound tech. Meanwhile, I began raising a family and wanted to stay close to home while my wife worked by day as a computer aided drafts person for a missile corporation. Her job required a computer so we got our first PC in 1995. I became fascinated with it and started building and fixing PCs for myself and others. So when Kyle emailed about Second Life I had come to a time when I was not playing in the real world much, so I said yes please to SL. And I was so happy I did. It came very naturally to me as I was also a casual gamer. My experience with sound tech made it easy for me to set myself up with a stream and start playing to a worldwide audience. I left for a short period to take care of health issues, but it’s all good now. I came back in December of 2019 and started getting bookings right away. Soon I was able to set up a club of my own. I like having one as a backup in case I have a cancellation or just feel like playing when nothing is scheduled. One of the great aspects of Second Life is the flexibility. Real world performers and clubs don’t have nearly as much flexibility. I play several venues now on a regular basis, and I have Blues Seduction, which is the name of my club.

Q: How did playing music become a part of your life? 
A: Well that's an easy one. It runs in my family. My dad played guitar, my uncles played guitar, my maternal grandfather played guitar, my mom played piano, and her mom played guitar as well. An interesting fact about my maternal grandfather: he played guitar and sang in the brothels that peppered the Arizona-Mexico border at the turn of the last century. So when I asked my dad for a guitar at 9 years old, he immediately said yes, took me down to Sears, and got me my first guitar. I’ve been playing ever since. That would be 56 years. Well except when I had to have carpal tunnel surgery. LOL.

Q: Are your band members also SL Residents?
A: Only one, but the band was retired a few years back in the real world. His name is Marx Loeb aka Speelo Snook in Second Life. He DJs in SL these days. My friend Kyle is also still in SL and sings/plays piano in his own club, Meatspace.

Q: Blues music has been interpreted in so many different ways, how do you personally describe it?
A: Historically, everyone knows where and when the music came to fruition. But it has transcended history to become a major thread in the fabric of American life. The blues are nothing more than a good person feeling bad and having a musical language or vehicle to communicate that, and possibly rid oneself of the feeling. It can also be a very celebratory type of music, such as the blues from the New Orleans area.

Q: Tell us about the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame experience!
A: The Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame is a virtual place where musicians and supporters of the blues can pay homage to the outstanding achievements of the great players in our state who have used their music and notoriety to promote and preserve the blues heritage. I am humbly honored to be included as an individual player. Additionally, my band The Torpedoes was recently inducted this year.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I think that would have to be how much they support one another and care for each other. And it allows all kinds of collaborations by musicians that would have never come together otherwise. But there are so many, it’s hard to name just one. All I know is that I love to play for people and Second Life has been a blessing for my soul. Thank you, Linden Lab.

 

Thank you, Tone!

 

If you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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Donn Devore at Gonja Land

 

This week's featured artist is Donn Devore, a talented multi-instrumentalist who creates electronica and post rock inspired by the paranormal, his spiritual experiences, and more. He even has an album of Brony music!

Please check out his official websiteBandcamp, and an extended YouTube set.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?

A: It was around the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006 when I saw a news story on tv about SL and virtual worlds. I had been playing WoW for a couple of weeks but I wasn’t that interested in quests and monsters. SL seemed more interesting: with an economy, virtual real estate, you can fly everywhere, meet people, make out with them, have a laugh, and no one is trying to kill you. I explored SL for a year before I decided to perform. I saw musicians performing for crowds of 80+ listeners in a sim and thought, I can do this! So I learned how to set up a Shoutcast audio stream and started playing gigs, singing cover songs and playing acoustic guitar. That was in October 2007 and it’s been an interesting ride. 

Q: What types of instruments do you play?

A: I play guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, organ, drum machines, and various electronic devices. I’ve played guitar and keys since I was about 9 years old, I took lessons as a kid and studied music in college. I performed in metal and hard rock bands all through high school and college but was always creating electronic music in my room with synthesizers and drum machines. I worked as an audio engineer in recording studios for many years so that experience helps with the technical aspects of performing a live stream show since it’s essentially a live broadcast of a studio session. 


Q: While there are so many types of music software, do you have a favorite or do they each serve different functions?

A: It depends on what kind of project I'm working on. I’ve been a Protools operator for over 20 years in recording studios. It’s the most stable DAW and is especially good for recording acoustic instruments and bands, and it’s better at synchronizing with video or film. But in the last 5 years I prefer to use Logic Pro and Ableton Live for electronic music production. Ableton is a loop-based digital audio workstation which lends itself well to electronic music, letting me trigger samples and loops in real time to create a song from sections instead of a pre-recorded track that plays the same every time you play it. I use Logic Pro for a few specific instruments because it has the best sounding Hammond B3 organ and electric pianos in the game.  I perform using Ableton Live and Logic Pro in combination with real keyboard synthesizers. With Ableton Live I can create song arrangements on the fly using an 8x8 grid controller like a Novation Launchpad, triggering different loops that play the various sections of a song. It gives me control over each individual instrument in the mix. I use drum pads and note repeat functions to play live drum fills, create transitions, and dial in delay and reverb effects on the fly. Or, I will let the loop run for a while and I’ll play melodies or improvise solos on keyboard or guitar.

Q: I'm a fan of electronic music and I really enjoyed your album Telepathic Alien Communication. Did you have a strong reaction to the Pentagon releasing UFO videos? Although it quickly faded to the background with all the 2020 madness! 

A: Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the album.  As a fan of the paranormal and ufology I appreciate this question, and I could speak for hours on UFOs and the decades of government cover up. We’ve known since the 1970’s that UFOs have shut down nuclear launch control systems like Malmstrom AFB in Montana and visited military bases in the UK. Other countries have released video and information about UFOs. Our military has known about them since the 1940s going back to the Roswell crash and the Mt. Rainier sightings or the Phoenix Lights in 1997 and other more recent events like the Tic Tac videos released by the Pentagon. I’ve followed many of the authors and speakers in the UFO community that have advocated for disclosure for many years so it wasn’t really a surprise, but it was an odd time to drop that information on the public given what we’ve all been dealing with in 2020. Most people either didn’t notice, didn’t care, didn’t believe it, or said “I’ve been saying this for years and I told you so!” I’m probably in that last group. But we should always be skeptical since we've been lied to and they have reversed their position on this topic many times in the past.

My personal contact with aliens was through a series of shamanic experiences. With the intention to quit smoking cigarettes in 2015 I used psilocybin mushrooms to help me overcome my addiction to nicotine. In those ceremonies I communicated with different alien-like entities. This is a common report from people who travel in these spaces. I composed most of the songs for that album as a result of those intense experiences. I spent the next three years recording and mixing the songs, all the while suffering from serious health problems as a result of a toxic mold exposure. This album project was part of a long healing process for me and the ‘aliens’ gave me encouragement to continue on the path, to find ways to heal myself from a painful chronic illness, to tell my story and help others. I’m in a much better place now, despite the current pandemic, since through that crisis I have learned many different methods for maintaining my mental and physical health. Music is a part of that along with a healthy diet, yoga and exercise. 


Q: Where would you suggest starting out to someone unfamiliar with the SL music scene?  

A: For listeners, the fastest place to find music inworld is through the live music listings in the search tab. Search for live music events inworld and go to lots of shows. If you want to get onstage and perform, search for open mic events. It doesn’t matter where you start, just go to lots of different places to listen and watch what people are doing, and you’ll get a feel for the environment and find a place you like. Make some friends, talk to hosts and venue owners. The scene is like a small town with hundreds of musicians and dozens of live venues where we all play on a weekly or monthly basis. There are many live music announcement groups you can join inworld to get artist info and landmarks for all the shows happening or upcoming.


Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you? 

A: Sharing a few precious moments of live music with other humans listening from around the world is meaningful. Music relieves stress and reduces anxiety for the listener. It transcends language, political and cultural boundaries, it can lift spirits, make you cry, make you laugh, make you dance... It can have an emotional impact on the listener, remind them of the beauty and joy in the world, and how awesome it is to be alive. When someone tells me they have been inspired by me or my music to improve the quality of their own life, that's meaningful and makes me proud of what we are doing here.

 

Thank you, Donn!

If you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.
 

Tara Linden

Music Mondays: An Interview With Amforte


Music Mondays

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Image provided by Amforte

This week's featured artist is Amforte, whose dedication to music started when she was a child, growing more potent with time as she became familiar with various styles. This singer songwriter is not afraid to bare her soul, and her music is an energetic and comforting reminder that there is always someone who can relate to what you're feeling.
 

Please check out her official website to listen to her music and see what's she's been up to! Below are some links to follow her inworld.

AMFORTE (AMFORTE Clarity):: 
secondlife:///app/agent/16f3fc26-7d2b-4e89-9de2-0cd96303df2d/about

SL Music Group
secondlife:///app/group/6e7b8cdc-46a2-6ccd-dd97-f15423689378/about

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about Second Life from a friend who was already performing online. It wasn't long before I signed up and started performing. This was all back in December of 2008.

Q: How did you start playing music?
A: I was eight years old when I begged my father to let me take piano lessons. Years later, I picked up a guitar and started to learn how to play and write music. I have never turned my back on music ever since. I started performing in SL as a guitar player and vocalist and never actually played the piano for 12 years until recently. I introduced piano to my concerts and haven't stopped.

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
A: There are so many bands/musicians that are my favorite, but these are some of them: Radiohead, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, U2, The Verve, Garbage, Alanis, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Cranberries, and many more! I don't just like one genre of music. I listen, love and sing to country, rhythm & blues, pop, rock, edm, jazz, blues, and I don't stop there. Music is my life. It moves me and it's my therapy.

Q: Tell us about one of your best songwriting moments.
A: To me, emotion has a lot to do with songwriting. I have to feel something. I remember a few years ago, I experienced such heartbreak, and ended up writing a song in a matter of minutes. My emotions took over and I ended up writing one of my best songs.

Q: Do you have a favorite SL venue for performing?
A: All of the venues that I have performed in within SL have been amazing. Although I've had to cut my schedule down a lot, I will still be writing music and performing in SL. I have been working on my second album that should be released in December 2020, or early January 2021. I am also working on a couple of film projects: one is a web series called GHOST SLAPPED that will be out sometime early in 2021, and the other will be a short film (and perhaps my first feature film) later in 2021. Anyone interested can follow these projects or my music in the links shared here.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: The most meaningful aspect of SL to me is reaching out to the community and sharing my music with the world, virtually. There is a community here that relates to my music, and some find comfort in it.

 

Thank you, Amforte! Here are some more links to her projects.

AMFORTE MUSIC RL LINKS:
Subscribe: www.REVERBNATION.com/AMFORTE
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMFORTEMUSIC
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amforte/?hl=en
AMFORTE FILM PROJECTS:
www.GHOSTSLAPPED.com
 

If you or anybody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

 

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Photo courtesy of Mavenn Resident

This week's featured artist is Mavenn Resident, who imbues familiar songs of intimacy and romance with an unrestrained passion that can be both soft and powerful. She pulls from a range of styles, and you'll hear everything from ballads to folk and some blues rock.

Please check out her music here.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I had been on another chat program previously when a musician friend of mine mentioned he was going to start performing in Second Life. He asked if we would be interested in following him into the program and checking it out. There were several of us and within weeks we were running our own venue, and hosting incredible artists.

Q: What got you into music, and do you play any instruments in addition to singing?
A: I have always been an avid music listener and just casually sang, school performances, and was in a band for a short period as a teenager. I was always singing along to the radio enough to drive my children mad. I was involved in school orchestra growing up and played the oboe. It wasn’t until I was in Second life for about a year that I began to sing in any kind of regular way. Now singing is so much a part of my life, I wouldn’t want to live without it.

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
A: My favorite musical inspirations are David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, and of course, Beth Hart.

Q: What advice would you give to other musicians who feel frustrated by the restrictions of our current circumstances?
A: This is a perfect time for both observation of the zeitgeist and self-discovery; keep living in your art, and be thankful weed is more widely available.

Q: What is your favorite memory of performing in Second Life?
A: My first show in Second life was at a venue built much like a regular brickhouse pub. Optimus Prime tp’d in and couldn’t fit inside the Pub so he sat outside on the lawn to listen and the chat hilarity ensued with the audience. That’s when I knew I loved the camaraderie and inclusive nature of the platform.
 
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I absolutely love getting to know the other artists by having so much access to them. Having your regular favorites perform so regularly allows you to watch them grow in their art. I adore being an audience member with my audience as well. The scene is a fascinating and thriving community SCENE when you take the time to observe and get to know the people, free your soul and drift away.

 

Thank you, Mavenn!

If you or anybody you know would like to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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This week's featured artist is Jack Slade, whose moving and relatable songs are inspired by his life. From his humble beginnings to the Army and beyond, his voice highlights the beauty in the seemingly ordinary and is sure to leave an impact.

For his music and bio, check out his website here.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: Someone who heard my music told me that I should sing in Second Life... I don't remember when. Around 2014?


Q: How did you start playing music and do you play any instruments in addition to singing?
A: I started playing guitar in the Army in the 80's and began writing songs not long after that.


Q: What is your favorite genre of music?
A: . I don't have a favorite genre of music... but I prefer songs that come from the heart or that touch mine.


Q: Who was the last person you saw perform in SL?
A: The last person I saw perform in SL was Lexus Melodie or Mimi Carpenter.


Q: Tell us about your album, Beautiful.
A: My album , Beautiful, is a not very well produced CD that I created with a few songs that I've written over the last 35 years... not much more to say about it, really lol.


Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I would say that the most meaningful aspect of SL music is how far reaching it can be... to sing to people in France, Germany , Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Japan... all at one time, is amazing.

 

Thank you, Jack!

If you or anybody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form

Tara Linden

Music Mondays: Community Appreciation


Music Mondays

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(Photo by Melony Parker)

In just a few months, Music Mondays has been an incredible journey of getting to spotlight the part of life where music and SL overlap. A space filled with people of all ages, from all over the world, who play a broad spectrum of genres.

I hope newcomers have felt inspired to take to the stage, and that maybe even some veterans have dusted off their virtual gear. I also encourage musicians from lesser known styles and every type of avatar aesthetic to feel excited about sharing their creative outlets.

As always, if you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please sign up here.

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(Photo taken at the Altitude music venue)

 

 

 

Tara Linden

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(Photo courtesy of Mimi Carpenter)

This week's featured artist is Mimi Carpenter, who brings us energetic acoustic reimaginings from various genres, and original material, both subtly encased in her French accent.

Please check out her music on the following platforms.

SoundCloudYouTube, Twitter, & Facebook

She also has a calendar of upcoming events.

 

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I first discovered Second Life back in the summer of 2006 (yes... it's been quite a while... haha). It was on a rainy weekend while I was doing an internship in Salzburg, Austria. I was browsing the internet, looking for an online community and I found Second Life, which was free to sign up for. I tried it out and made my way to the Help Island.

Q: How long have you been playing music, and what got you started?
A: When I was about 6 years old, my mum asked me which activity I wanted get into. Could have been judo, ballet, or whatever else that was available in our area. I said I wanted to learn music. I hesitated between violin and piano for a while and I ended up starting with the electronic organ and music theory!

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite French musicians.
A: Naming some of my favorite musicians is always a difficult task for me in general. If I could name a few, I'd say Noir Désir, MC Solaar, Jacques Brel, Daft Punk... 

Q: I absolutely loved your cover of "Realiti" by Grimes, I never would have thought that it would translate to acoustic so well. What is your approach when creating an acoustic version of a song from a very different genre?
A: I am glad to hear that you loved it! I usually do enjoy covering songs that are sometimes less expected. That's why I like covering male songs as well to make it different. It's something I really have a great time doing as I get excited to bring something more unique to the table, whenever I'm able to.

Q: Who is that little yellow bird next to you? Do they have an SL presence?
A: I do like cute things, so this is a cute little chick I found when I traveled to Seoul with one of my previous jobs. Unfortunately no, he doesn't have a presence in SL but that's a good idea. I may consider that, thank you haha. For many years since I started performing in SL, I've had my pink piggy, Maple! He's been around and got a mesh update a few years ago as well. His name is inspired by Canada, where I had wanted to move to for a long time and where I've now lived for close to 3 years.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: What's awesome about SL is that I've been able to keep a following over the years from all over the world, and I'm able to go on singing for them, no matter where I live. I've lived in about 7 different countries. I made many friends thanks to SL and live music and enjoyed attending Live Music meet-ups in Europe and in North America. It's a shame we cannot travel at the moment but it's definitely one of the best things that has ever happened, thanks to SL live music.

Thank you, Mimi!

Join her group at secondlife:///app/group/aa81b6f9-fe5b-c995-d688-f689489bd716/about

If you or someone you know would like to submit material for Music Mondays, please fill out this form. Have a great week, everybody!
 

Tara Linden

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(photo courtesy of Tally Mercury)

This week's featured artist is Tally Mercury, who gives us a mix of original music and covers that are made distinct by the contrast of his powerful voice with featherlight acoustic guitar.

His music can be found on many platforms through his Linktree, and don't forget to check out his videos. For more information, please visit his website.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I first heard about Second Life by working in the education sector. Some colleagues of mine were investigating how SL could be used to enhance digital learning. As a graphic designer, I got involved as I saw an opportunity to be creative and make clothing, so I started doing that back in 2009.

Q: How long have you been playing music?
A: I've been playing music for as long as I can remember. I think I have been singing for as long as I have been talking lol. I started singing properly when I was 16 though, in a church setting. They sang quite modern songs, and that is when I started to play the guitar, too! I had played many instruments before that, but the guitar seemed to sing with me, so I've stuck with it for the remaining 24 years!

Q: Name some of the musicians who have been most influential to you.
A: There have been so many over the years and from such an eclectic mix. I grew up listening to classical music, through to Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, to Michael Jackson. When I was 16 and started playing guitar, I got into a lot of rock music. Nu Metal particularly, like Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park, but over the years, there have been certain musicians that have always stuck with me. Jeff Buckley is probably my biggest inspiration. He inspires me with my vocals and with my songwriting. The guy was a genius. I just wished he had lived longer - I often wonder where he could have taken his music.
In Second Life there have been a few musicians that have had a big impact. Skye Galaxy really helped me to use more emotion and create more atmosphere in my performances, but there have been people like Saintess Larnia and Lexus Melodie that have always driven me forward and encouraged me too. Phemie Alcott is also a great emotional performer.

Q: Do you feel there have been more concerts this year since the pandemic started, and do you think the atmosphere at inworld shows has changed?
A: There are definitely more concerts inworld, but there are also more artists performing. I have seen many new artists either join SL for the first time or start performing for the first time. I've seen some artists that haven't performed in years come back to the scene, too!
I don't think the atmosphere has changed. There has always been a very strong music community in Second Life. I think it has grown, so we are seeing larger crowds now, but it's still the same positive vibe as always, and I find it very exciting to see it thriving still, even after performing here for 11 years.

Q: Tell us about an "A-ha!" moment when something about playing music clicked for you.
A: I remember playing a concert in Second Life at a sim called Burrow that my good friend Harlow Heslop owns. After the show, I got a message from someone who was there for the first time. She told me how she had been brought along to the concert by a friend because she had been feeling down. She had recently come out of an abusive relationship in RL and was struggling to put things back together again, but she said that when she heard my music, she felt her soul heal. I mean, what an incredible thing to hear from someone. So I guess I realised a few things from that moment. 1. How important my music is, even when I don't think I'm doing anything significant, or those days when I feel like I'm rubbish and should give up, that despite how I'm feeling, my songs could just be helping someone through a dark moment and show them some light. 2. Never underestimate how much putting your own emotion into your music can translate over the airwaves. I always try to feel what I am singing, so that those listening can feel it too. It makes for a more intimate performance and it becomes way more than just listening to someone sing. It really is a performance. Listeners cannot see me, they can only hear me, so I have to give it that something 'else.'

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: I think the friendships I have made. The people who have committed so much time and money to help the music scene thrive for as long as it has. The late Garrett Lutz was a huge inspiration. He believed in the live music scene in SL. Even up to the point of when he passed away, he was still supporting the scene here. Places like Templemore (Lutz City) owned by Luis Lockjaw and Whata Conundrum, that has just celebrated 10 years of being a live music venue in Second Life. How awesome is that! I will never get over how dedicated people are to the community and how much they invest in keeping it alive. It's why I keep coming back, and can't imagine a life without it. I love every single person that has ever come to a show and supported the artist and venue. I love how we all need each other, The artist, the venue and the patrons - we can't do this without everyone involved. What an amazing family to be a part of!


Thanks, Tally! He is also in a band called Neon Fiction. Keep an eye out for them, as they hope to play more gigs in SL soon!

If you or someone you know would like to submit content to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form. Have  great week!
 

Tara Linden
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(Photo courtesy of Phemie Garfield)
 
This week's featured artist is Phemie Garfield, whose earnest and uplifting blend of folk and indie rock will energize the start of your week.
 
Please check out her music here
 

Q: When and how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about Second Life on New Year's Day at the dinner table with my family. My brother asked me if I'd heard of it and how it's not a game but a world where you can just socialize with people and create things, and there was live music, which made me so curious to check it out!

Q: Some of your songs come to a really powerful crescendo, is that of particular symbolic value to you?
A: That is a really interesting question! Yes, I think I've always been a fan of dynamics and expression and power in music. When I'm writing music there is a cathartic release of emotion. I feel things very deeply and sometimes talking about it is so uncomfortable, but with music I can express it safely. It's like riding a wave and that crescendo is probably my way of riding that wave of anger or passion or sadness or hurt or joy. I've always loved anthemic rock, like U2 for example.

Q: How did you first become interested in playing music?
A: It really started in high school after a few years of devouring records that my big brother would play for me and listening to my dad's old vinyls that I would sing to in my bedroom. I started piano in 5th grade and learned how to sight read very quickly, and then in college learned acoustic guitar. Once I graduated college, I moved home and somehow started jamming with a friend and then it turned into a rock band that I sang in for four years. We toured regionally and I loved every second of it.

Q: What instruments do you play, and do you have any favorite models?
A: I play piano and guitar.  I think it's fair to say that Tori Amos was a big influence especially with how she wrote piano. Vocally my role models are Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Bono, and Sia. 

Q: Tell us about some musicians and/or artists that have influenced your style. 
A: Bono and U2 were a huge influence on me. He had this passionate soaring voice that just carried you into another dimension. They were heartfelt and something felt so true and authentic about his voice.  Tori's Amos' style was delicate and yet strong, deep but accessible. Her music is beautiful yet when you read some of her lyrics they are edgy, dark, and full of pain, and you can tell she was working out some deep stuff. Joni MItchell... Well, she was just a goddess genius of lyricism and melody. Her voice was warm and could move you, and her melodies were so imaginative. All these people taught me that it isn't enough to just sing, you have to give yourself... It has to come from deep within. The music has to come from your heart and you can't be afraid.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music scene to you?
A: The SL music community is one of the most accepting and welcoming communities around. If you have an original to throw out there, they welcome it. If you aren't the best singer in the world but you have heart and you give your time to people, they will come and listen and they will stay the whole hour. It's just wonderful to see. People love to hear a live performer just giving their all and they give budding musicians a chance to be heard and to practice their skills. Also, hearing from people who IM me and say things like, you really helped me through my night, or you really made me feel something is so awesome. To know people from around the world are listening! That is so cool.

Thank you, Phemie!


If you or somebody you know would like to submit content for Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

Music Mondays: An Interview With Levi Zuzu


Music Mondays

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Levi Zuzu at The Burrow

 

This week's featured artist is Levi Zuzu, whose modern take on 80s synth pop, rock, and jazz is the perfect soundtrack for some cinematic musing.

Please check out his SoundCloud and stay tuned for his new album, which is in the works.

 

Q: When and how did you hear about Second Life?
A: It has been a minute! I was looking for a new game to play with a more realistic touch, and later on I found Second Life. 

I bet it doesn't sound very exciting when I say I found it through Google but living in Germany you don't have too many English-speaking people, so I was also happy to be able to connect to other people. This way my English was also going to be kept crispy! 

Q:  Do you play all the instruments in the recordings, or do you collaborate with anybody? Tell us about the instruments used in the music you shared.
A: Oh yeah! My starting point is the piano, a Yamaha upright felt piano with a very close mic so, and an absolute classic, the Fender Rhodes Mark 1 stage piano.  When it comes to my synth sounds, it's either me crafting the sound on my computer or my Roland Dx7 Synthesizer. It doesn't get more 80's than that. Oh, and lastly drums, a Gretsch drum kit! 

Q: I also listened to the Djane Batista remix of "I can feel myself" and really enjoyed it. Is this the first time someone has done a remix of your music? How does it feel hearing someone reinterpret something you created?
A: That was the first time! I was just so surprised. Never saw this one coming. I have to say it made me proud. 

Seeing that my music inspires someone, and they even go to the lengths of remixing it, is a huge compliment for me as a musician. 

Q: Your style seamlessly incorporates elements from diverse styles, from an 80s synth vibe, to a jazzy cover of "Roxane" by The Police, and toned down r&b. How did you acquire such a wide range of tastes?
A: Good question! I guess my taste in music has to do with how I grew up. It's always been 80's and classics from back in the day from various genres. I've always been incredibly curious when it came to music, and my parents were always very passionate about it as well. So I guess that's how this came about. I  started with music quite young. Got my first drum kit at the age of 3, piano followed shortly, along with singing. And later in life, even career choices were all around music. 

I have always loved covering songs and giving them my twist. That's also what I do on Second Life. Sometimes I slip in my originals but since my album isn't fully finished I try to mix it up.

Q:  What are some of your favorite musicians?
A: There are so many good musicians out there that have inspired me and continue to do so, to this day. But my top list would be: Prince, George Michael, Nat King Cole, D'Angelo, Phil Collins, and lastly, Thomas Newman.

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music scene to you?
A: I think the connection to people. It's wonderful to be able to touch someone emotionally, give them a smile, or just a good minute of escapism through music. 

 

Thank you, Levi!

 

If you or somebody you know would like to submit content to be featured on Music Mondays, please fill out this form.

Tara Linden

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Pictured above: Holly Giles at ~No Strings~

 

This week's featured artist is Holly Giles (pronounced 'Jiles'), a smooth crooner with an eclectic style hailing from Australia. She likes to sing country, rock, and pop from classic to contemporary and can be found at her venue ~No Strings~ each Tuesday and Saturday at 8pm SLT. (slurl for venue: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Areumdeuli/226/27/80)

Please check out her music on her website as well as this video.

Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: In 2011 I joined an online chat platform called IMVU due to some personal stuff that forced me to be at home and unable to work. I ended up staying for 5 years. I heard about SL from some people at IMVU who were trying to convert some of us over, haha. I created an SL account in 2015 and kinda used both IMVU and SL for about a year until I decided that SL was more to my liking, with people around my own age. I was in SL for about 2 years before I even KNEW there was a Live Music Community lol, so once i discovered that, I gave away my IMVU account to a friend and I have never looked back.
 
Q: I really enjoyed your renditions of classic country songs. What drew you to that genre?
A: My music is actually very mixed genre, with country music only taking up about one third of my song list. I was raised on classic country music with my mum having her own band in my childhood, so I learnt my love of country from her and I always say that classic country is my soul music lol. But I do love all music so I tend to sing what I love, from classic country, classic rock, 90's pop and country, through to modern pop like Lady Gaga.
 
Q: As with any artistic style, country music has evolved so much over the last century. Which decade/era is your favourite, and why?
A: Oh that's easy. I love the old country. The Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn era of country. These country legends are like storytellers. Every song has a story. Every song has a purpose to it. I don't know how else to explain it. I can have my heart broken and find my story in a classic country song. I can feel overjoyed about something and find my happiness echoed in a classic country song. While I love all music and listen to even the most modernist of pop music, I personally just don't get that feeling from it. I get the happiness of an awesome beat, or well-written lyrics but yeah, not that feeling.
 
Q: If you could open for any musician (alive or deceased), who would it be?
A:I think a lot of people who follow my music would expect me to say Dolly Parton right now, and I thought I would too, but you know, I think I would LOVE to open for Bette Midler. Wow, what a musician she is. I think if I opened for Bette Midler, I could sing anything I wanted to before she took the stage. I could sing some James Brown, followed by a Dolly Parton song, followed by some Creedence lol. I wouldn’t be restricted to one genre, like I would be if I opened for Dolly, I feel.
 
Q: Do you ever get stage fright before performing in SL? Describe your preshow ritual.
A: OMG. I only started singing, I mean really singing in Second Life AND real life 2 years ago. The reason I never sang before is that I suffered MASSIVE stage fright. I would freeze up and my voice would go shaky if I tried to sing in front of anyone. It took a lot of help and compliments from online friends for me to get the courage to sing in Second Life. My very first show I was so nervous that I felt sick. But by halfway through I suddenly forgot that I was nervous and I just sang. I found the talking part a lot harder than the singing part lol. Now, I don't feel any nerves in Second Life, but am working on my nerves in RL lol.
 
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Without a doubt, the part I enjoy the most is singing a song and seeing in local things like “OMG I love this song!” or "Oh wow, I haven't heard this song in years!” I love getting requests, I love sharing my love of music with others. I love talking about how my mum used to sing this song or that song in her band while I slept under tables at the local pub. I love that 2 years ago I couldn't sing this song or that song, but that now with some practice under my belt, I can blast that song out like it's nothing. I love just being able to sing and the fact that people want to hear me sing still blows me away every time I open my mouth.

 

Thank you, Holly!
 

Tara Linden

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(photo courtesy of Mike00 Carnell)

This week’s featured artist is Mike00 Carnell, bringing us rock music with an infusion of upbeat blues guitar from Hamburg, Germany. For his performances in Second Life, he is usually accompanied by Henrietta the goat, pictured above. (She also has a RL counterpart.)

Check out his SoundCloud for some fun bops to start your week with!

Q: How and when did you hear about Second Life?
A: A friend from Skype told me about SL in 2007 and after a few weeks I decided to create an account. Her name is Amelle Loon.

Q: What instruments do you play and what brands/models do you prefer?
A: My main instrument is the guitar. At the SL music jams I also play bass and cachon/drums or percussion. The main brands for guitars I use are Fender, Gibson, Taylor and Martin and for amps Fender, Marshall and Roland (RL use).

Q: Your SoundCloud says you live in Germany. Can you tell us about some cool German musicians that people in other countries might not know about?
A: I’ve been to SL music jams or meetups in Germany, Netherlands, England, and USA, and I have met a lot of great musicians at all of them. The ones from Germany are Aminus Writer, Lani Aboma, Wolem Wobbit, Mark Taylor, Edy Rau and more. By now I call them all RL friends.

Q: I remember hearing "Without You" by Harry Nilsson and how much I loved it, and then my mind was blown even more when I heard "Si no estas tu," the Spanish version. Have you ever had a moment like that? How many languages do you sing in?
A: I know the feeling of suddenly hearing a song you know in another language. My preferred language for songs is English for some reason. In SL I sing in English and German. Some people are kinda surprised to hear songs in German in SL, which makes me smile.

Q: Tell us about the most memorable show you've played or seen in SL.
A: The most memorable shows are always the dual (greetings to KevinMThomas Carpool) or multi-streaming shows when you interact with one (or up to three) other musician(s) to create a full band live sound. It is so much fun and also challenging to all jam together.

Q: What is the most meaningful part of the SL music community to you?
A: The most meaningful part of the SL music community is that people from all over the world are connected together, and due to the time zones you can listen to live music almost 24/7. You can listen to all kinds of music, many languages, and accents. 
Especially these days, it’s very nice to have SL live music, you can still play gigs or listen to other musicians, being around people without risking anything.

 

Thanks so much, Mike00!

 

If you or somebody you know would like to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form. Wait times on hearing a response will vary, as we have received an enthusiastic response from many talented musicians (to our delight, of course!).

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