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Second Life Spotlight - Sassy Nitely


Linden Lab

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This week we are shining a spotlight on Sassy Nitely, a busy mom and lifelong musician who rediscovered her passion for performing through the live music scene in Second Life.

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Sassy about to start a show in 2021 – Photo by Kaitlyn Pruitt

How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?

I have been in Second Life since October 2007. I first heard of Second Life through a coworker; she explained the platform to me. However, like many new Residents of Second Life, I had no idea what I was doing or what would come out of that decision. {Joining} Second Life was one of my best decisions and has impacted my life tremendously. I owe a lot of gratitude to Second Life. I was 30 years old when I signed up and nearly 15 years later, I can say without a shadow of a doubt: Second Life has taught me a lot about myself, shaped real life relationships, and brought me back to my musical roots.

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Sassy (top center) in Madrigals (1995), Antioch High School, Antioch, TN

How did music become such an important part of your life?

For musicians, music is our lifeline, much like the air we breathe. I grew up in the music industry here in Nashville, so this life of being a musician and being the daughter of a musician is all I have ever really known. My dad began his music career playing drums at the age of 15, and by the time he was in his late 20s, he was playing at the Grand Ole Opry behind many country music icons.

When I was 11, I loved to sing. I was obsessed with lyrics and started to write my own songs with catchy hooks and melodies. At the age of 12, I decided I wanted to be a drummer like my dad. I loved to sing, but growing up around a professional drummer I naturally wanted to follow that path. I put the notepad of lyrics down and switched it out with staff paper. He taught me how to read and write rhythm patterns and I learned the bible of all drummers: drum rudiments. In sixth grade, I joined the middle school band’s percussion section. I excelled in music, but found I gravitated more toward the melodic percussion instruments like the bells, xylophone, and marimba. Playing those instruments, I had to learn how to read sheet music and become more involved with music theory. Missing the singing aspect, I signed up for choir and finished out my sixth grade year in band and show choir. In high school I continued in concert band, choir and “Madrigals,” which is a select choir of 16-18 vocalists.

Those are my roots, and although so many amazing things happened musically in my youth through honor band and choir, I moved on to my college years and majored in Vocal Music Education. This era in my life taught me more about music composition, theory, and I also became a decent pianist and a classically trained vocalist.

In 1999, my husband {at the time} and I started a family. The music was put on hold for a while. Then, in January 2008, due to Second Life, music came rushing back into my life and I picked up the guitar that had been sitting in my closet for years.

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Sassy (bottom, third from right) at a Madrigals showcase rehearsal in 1995, Antioch High School, Antioch, TN

When did you start performing live in Second Life, and what venues can people visit to hear you play?

In January 2008, I found music on Second Life. A new friend sent a message asking if I’d like to join him at a music concert with some friends. I was excited and intrigued because I had no idea live music was even a part of Second Life. I gladly accepted the invitation. I landed at The Freudian Slip and my Second Life was forever changed with the sound of one voice and one guitar.  

Lyndon Heart was singing his heart out and strumming his guitar that day at The Freudian Slip. I knew instantly that this was exactly what I needed to do. Second Life was a way that I could be at home in the evenings with my son and bring me back into performing. That concert gave me an epiphany that saved me in many ways. I found my way back to music and have been performing in Second Life since February of 2008, and in real life since 2011.  

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Sassy performing in April 2008, photo by Sassy

In my years of performing in Second Life, I have had so many incredible opportunities to help raise money for charity through music. I’ve played concerts for Homes for our Troops, American Cancer Society, Feed a Smile, Power Up for Charge, Team Diabetes and others. This gives me a great sense of purpose and the charities listed mean a great deal to me. I have also performed for the Bloggies and most recently a halftime performer at the NFL Alumni Association's ESTV event.

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Sassy at the ESTV Halftime Show, photo by Linden Lab

I am grateful and beyond blessed to play many of Second Life’s premier live music venues. I play every other week or once a month at After Dark, The Blue Cornflower Lounge, The Black Diamond, Free Spirit Farms and Swamp Water Bluz. This family of venues has been around a while; they are a staple of live music in Second Life. If you want to hear the best talent Second Life has to offer, go to one of these venues. Those who own/manage these venues and their crew are very selective about the performers they pick.

How would you describe your music? Who are some of the musicians who have influenced your style?

My roots started in country, rock, and eventually pop, but I was introduced to many genres growing up. My music is soulfully strong with a bit of sweetness and sass (hence the name). I grew up listening to Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, The Judds, CCR, and many others. A great singing voice is an amazing instrument and I grew great admiration for those artists who could also accompany themselves with an instrument. In my teen years I listened to Shania Twain, Jewel, Martina McBride, Whitney Houston, Taylor Dayne, Melissa Etheridge, Reba McEntire and Sarah McLachlan. These ladies are all incredible artists with strong, soulful, and sweet voices. They sing with raw emotion and conviction. If the performer feels the music and lyrics, it will radiate to their audience. Just like the artists mentioned above, I leave a piece of me on every stage and if I touched at least one person through a song, I did my job right.

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Sassy performing in her band “My July”

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Sassy with her newest music project “New Binge

Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire.

I cannot miss the opportunity to point out Lyndon Heart again. I had the extraordinary honor of meeting and playing music with Lyndon at the Nashville Music City Jam in 2012. He is quite a songwriter and I encourage everyone to look him up. Other incredible songwriters I admire and consider professional in their art are Zak Claxton and Phemie Alcott. These artists not only enjoy writing, but they also accompany themselves well on their instruments and tell their stories with conviction. There is a mixed bag of incredible artists on Second Life. There are vocalists who sing to high quality tracks, instrumentalists, musicians who sing and play multiple instruments or electroacoustic artists who compose electronic music on the spot. You just have to go concert-hopping to find who fits your niche and follow them. The talent in Second Life is endless and there is something for everyone. Do a quick search of live music events in Second Life. Drop into any show and you will find greatness.

The live music community in Second Life is a tight knit family and every year there are several chances for us to get together in real life to make music. My SL and RL best friend Anastasia Yanwu and I organized the 2012 and 2014 Nashville Music City Jam. This year, Yvie Caproni and Marina Sharpshire are bringing the jam back to Nashville to continue the tradition! I cannot wait to meet up with our community and make new memories filled with fun, laughter and of course, MUSIC! From Nashville to Baltimore, Dallas, Minneapolis, London, and others there are many destinations to attend a jam. Be sure to check out the SL Live Music Jams Facebook page to keep up to date on where the next live jam will be.

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All attendees signed this board at the first “Nashville Music City Jam” in 2012

Where can people follow you to know more about your next shows? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.

You can find me listed in live music events inworld or at any of the links below. I included my RL band information as well for our Nashville-based SL Residents.

Sassy on the Web: www.newbingemusic.com/sassy 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassynitelymusic 
Calendar: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=sassy.nitely%40gmail.com&ctz=America/Los_Angeles 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2PTVKG-njH-ekhkIwsiHtg 
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/barbie-horsley 
SL Life Music Jams: https://www.facebook.com/groups/186627631374381 
RL Band: www.newbingemusic.com 

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story with you all. Second Life is full of surprises, and you never know what doors can open for you as a result. Thank you, Second Life – for everything. ♥

Thank you Sassy for bringing your melodious music to the live music scene in Second Life!

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Sassy today and get a chance to enjoy some of her virtual concerts in the near future.

Each of these weekly Spotlight posts will feature a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup

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