The Singer/Songwriters of Second Life

August 31, 2007

Are you leading a Second Life yet?

Second Life (aka SL) is an online 3-D chat world. People sign up (for free) to create little animated characters known as “avatars” to represent themselves in the online world. Then, their little avatars run about this computer-generated world building houses, buying clothes, dressing up and stepping out to clubs and live music venues. It’s amazing and beautiful. If you haven’t experienced it yourself yet, it’s a little hard to imagine.

In the four weeks since my avatar was “born” in Second Life, I’ve been to 100s of concerts. These are live concerts, not pre-recorded streams of music; they are happening as you watch. I can see my animated avatar on my computer monitor (usually in a pretty little party dress and stiletto heels) along with scores of other beautifully dressed people and we’re all watching and listening or dancing to the live music. Up on the stage, singing his songs and playing his guitar or piano or whatever, is the evening’s performer. And somewhere in the world, the real life (RL) musician whose music we’re enjoying is sitting in a home studio strumming his real guitar, singing into a microphone, and streaming his live performance to our virtual club in Second Life.

The real life musician is watching his computer screen, too, and he can see my avatar and the rest of the partyers at the club. He may greet you when you come in the door or comment on someone’s computerized dance moves or thank you for your tip (yes, you tip real money in SL). Did I already say this was amazing?

And there are wonderful singer/songwriters to be found. I’ve picked out a handful of my favorite SL artists to be featured on the Acoustic Pie home page in October/November. These three featured musicians, Dale Marsh (Texas), Dann Russo (Boston/New York), and Clayton (UK) are established professional musicians who, if you can, are definitely worth checking out in the real world as well. I’ve also been astounded by the number of promising young songwriters who seem to be trying out the waters of professional musicianship within the security of the virtual world. Here are a few that I recommend: Avvy Barzane (aka Ed Barber an 18-year-old UK artist), Mel Cheeky (aka Melanie Fudge of Wales), and Natalie Moody (aka Therese Ahs of Sweden).

Of course, not all of the music is amazing. Your rate of success is probably comparable to blind coffeehouse jumping in a big city. There are a lot of amateurs performing in SL who, I’m afraid to say, have more PC skills than musical talent. And, unfortunately for my particular taste, the cover musicians outnumber the original music by at least 2:1. But teleporting from virtual coffeehouse to virtual arena is as simple as a mouse click.

Playing in SL is free as long as you don’t want any real estate (yes, I’m renting a little beach house now ~ sigh) and are happy with the clothes and hairstyles you can find at the freebie shops. I gave in and pulled out my credit card for the first time after I showed up at a club in the same freebie party dress as another gal (LOL :) ) To get started, you pick out a name, go through a couple of tutorials on how to move about and communicate, then go straight for the SEARCH button to find some great Live Music in Second Life.

Kelley Martin
August 2007
AcousticPie.com

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