(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.
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!
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