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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.
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.