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Monday, October 18, 2010

MUSIC SPOTLIGHT : Mommaluv Skytower- Sandy Demina reporting

Staff Reporter
• Monday, October 18, 2010

    Mommaluv Skytower is from Pennsylvania and is an electronic artist/poetess who uses her voice as a pen and her music as paper creating globally fused artistic musical compositions that invite you into her mind.
She's from Philadelphia where she attended a magnet music school and then graduated from there, so she has been playing music for a really long time , mainly violin, guitar, and piano.

She has been in several bands since the age of 14 and, after a 7 year hiatus, at the age of 20 she got back into it when she was 27.

However she has let her skills there lapse, as her medium now is sound design with the invention of computers. "I have stayed faithful to this method -Mommaluv says -over the years, as I like to make my own sounds – either from loops I make using my Pro88 & Roland keyboards, which then bring into my production program. I also use my vocals and make them sound like instruments- tweaking them with plug-ins. And when I want a more traditional sound I collaborate with people that are much better at playing instruments than myself and then apply the same method- so I can stylize the sound as I want to hear it. "

When I asked her to describe her style she told me how she arrived, in 2005, to self-proclaim it as (a)VANTRONIK (m)AYHEM : "While having a conversation with a friend as we were trying to figure out how to market my songs on the net- so it would stand out from the rest. As we spoke, we looked at the genres that formed my style- electronica, acoustic, the avante guarde, psychedelia, spoken word and chaos. And then I took the genres and tried to mesh all the words together and decided on (a)(m) mews – which had more flexibility to play with- shortly after I saw music sites coming up with similarly named genres & thought that was cool- as the standard genres now had expansion for those of us that do not fit into anyone genre!"

Mommaluv says that she considers herself a songstress, not a singer since she likes to use her voice more theatrical than traditional , floating her music around her written poetry:further more she always hated being called a singer: her earlier years involved with music were quite traumatic and frustrating, due to the fact that record labels and mainstream producers she worked with always tried to make her sound like the famous singers at the time, quite nerving definitely. So she decided to refrain from anything remotely “mainstream”, producers, and labels...

I asked her how long does it take to write a song or a piece of music "Some of my songs I have written and composed in lightening flash speed and others I have grueled over as I wanted them to sound a particular way and have a certain emotion they evoked. Also depending on what part of the composition we are talking about changes the time frame. As practically all of my lyrics are pretty much written in a matter of minutes. Its when I add the musical composition it begins to mutate and the time then is spent on how I will deliver them as a song and what musical bed it will lay in. As I often feel as I am being used as a tool and become inhabited by some unseen force that wants to use me to say things they haven’t and wont stop nagging me until I write down the words- as I often wake up from a sound sleep with a song in my head and have to keep a book and pen next to my bed. And being that I haven’t done any great things that have helped humanity, I sometimes see this force as something/someone that didn’t have the chance to say what they needed on the physical grid and don’t mind the intrusion. As sometimes the words I write aren’t .Always from my experiences or what I particularly believe in".

I asked her on what does she spend the most time on, if music or lyrics and she responded me " the lyrics usually come pretty much in the cadence of a conversation. The music however takes a little longer- unless it is a melody – that I just bang out on the keys the mutate with the programs I use".

At my question about which acts have most inspired her she responded "In my earlier development of my music –Mommaluv says the “acts” inspired me when their artists were the not so famous artists of the time I was listening to them…Coil, Legendary Pink dots, Erasure, Moby, Diamanda Galas, Laurie Anderson, Tom Waits, Aphex Twin, Trisome3, 808, Philip Glass, Depeche Mode, the Roots, q-tip, Jill Scott, Danny Tenaglia, Yello, Blanc Mange and many others that would take up most of this interview if I listed them all. Pretty much anyone who someone never heard of
The more popular artists who pretty much have been household names since their onset to the music realm are Nina Simone- first and foremost, Blondie- although I found her last album a little short, Earth Wind and Fire, Donna Summer, Linda Ronstandt,David Bowie, Patti Smith, and pretty much anything my mother played on the ginormous stereo console that took up half the living room and 8 track, she says laughing.

Since I'm always very interested to the "creation process" I asked her where does she get ideas for songs and pieces of music."Like I said I pretty much feel “used” by an unseen force and still have no idea why and for what- she says-I do, however, write songs from my own experiences. I don’t always release those right away as they are sometimes very revealing and people tend to ask a lot of questions and sometimes they are about people or situations I did not like. So they are sort of my way of dealing with the anger or anguish that resulted- giving me retribution, so to speak."

Of course many are the sources of inspiration for an artist, many songs come from a real experience of life or from the persons we meet :Mommaluv told me she fortunately had some very positive people in her life and also extremely negative damaging people as well. And it’s those negative people that pretty much have inspired her music, as she needed an escape.

However, over the last several years her music has evolved more from her found connection with God, and witnessing many miraculous things in her lifetime and her own evolution from a very dark and lost being, who felt trapped by other’s temptations, as well as, my own.

"I no longer feel this way-Mommaluv says- and spend a lot of time reflecting on the old me and still work on abolishing fears that once enslaved me and try to be inspirational to others who may feel they too are trapped and attempt to write songs that may set something off that will help them escape the perceptions of others that may cause them to feel powerless. We are all special, unfortunately, we don’t always see that so easily, especially if someone is telling you – you are not."

There have been some pivotal moments in Mommaluv's life. Once was in 1988 when she were to be signed to a major record label. "They did not want the band that came with me -Mommaluv says- and the vested a lot of time in vocal lessons and radio play, which I though was for all of us. Eventually I was told I was the only one being signed I found that really horrible for my fellow band members as in my eyes they used them so I told them I wasn’t interested if the band didn’t come with me".

Another pivotal moment was in 1993 when she was in an industrial band and relied on the members to make the music, as she was just singing and writing and contributing creative input. "When the CD was finally produced -Mommaluv says- I was not mentioned, so at that point I decided to learn computers and software and produce my own music".

Then in 1999 she had the opportunity to work for a major recording studio, by which she got the job because of her years working on her own music and had worked with some famous DJ’s/producers and wrote some club songs and had pretty much established herself in Philadelphia as a responsible artist, that the owner of this studio thought her would be good as an assistant.

"However as my destiny would have it we didn’t see eye to eye and he told me electronica music didn’t have a chance – as he had produced a lot of Motown artists and won a lot of grammy’s for his work.-she says- It was a constant struggle and a few other things happened that just made my time there awful. So I left. Immediately had the opportunity to be in some “b” rated movies and from there found myself working with a dj/producer friend of mine and had a deal in the making to work with a very famous artists who I will leave unnamed, which fell through. Then in 2004, I found myself on acidplanet, using the artist name inFareDHaZe. I was well received there and many artists there helped me learn things I didn’t know about the Internet and branched out on several other sites. Eventually getting my songs on Itunes, which was not so easy to do then. I produced several albums of my work, which are all available on my websites. Had a few disappointments on the way, but also had a few great moments. All and all establishing myself there lead me to doing things on my own. This way if anything fails or doesn’t get done its on me and I no longer have my destiny in the hands of others who may be a little clumsy or lazy!"

Then i asked her "Which song would you most like to have written?" "What song would I have liked to have written???-Momma smiles- Hands down…Wild is the Wind….I love that song and the way Nina Simone sings it- is like no other. I believe David Bowie also did it- but its just not the same. She owns that song! It was perfect for her voice and the way she delivers her lyrics.

Then we started speaking about SL :I asked her how did you discover it?"Ahhhhh…the infamous how did you discover SL??? Well, I had been working with artists on Acidplanet and some I became really good friends with produced a song and submitted it to Indiespectrum Radio and were performing already in SL as DeepskyTravelers. Apparently the song did really well so they kept telling me I had to get into SL- that I would do really well. So after several months of them telling me- I decided to check it out and created MommaLuv Skytower. At the time I was performing in RL and traveling. I must admit I didn’t stay too long- as my brain couldn’t adjust to how this was going to work, nor did I have the know how and no matter how much they tried to explain I couldn’t see how it would work for me as I in RL am pretty much an "inyourface" kinda person and not knowing who I was dealing with kinda freaked me out as in SL it’s more interpersonal unlike the other sites I already belonged to--- somehow the idea of looking at a person- you want to make sure the avi’s puppeteer was a legitimately sincere individual- and the fact that sex is an aspect here- that in my opinion leaves room for major dishonesty and people’s intentions even if they are an avatar"

"So-she goes on telling-I ignored their requests and kept telling them it was silly. Then I had a RL scare while traveling to a show and couldn’t get back to my children, so I decided, I would put future travel on hold and researched SL music scene and what was required to make this work. I also tried to find any thing written or discussed about SL from a non-inworld resident. I then found an article about a band that was signed with Universal- I think it was- who decided to scrap their contract and only release their music in SL- giving them full control over what they did. This I liked!!! As I am somewhat of a control freak with my own music endeavors based on my history. SO I popped back in and they were constantly poking fun at me- as I didn’t quite understand the whole thing still. I quickly learned about huds, skins, xstreet, excite and hair!!! So I began the search for the things I needed that would allow me to make my avi as close to the real me as possible. I think I have succeeded- However Momma is much more glamourous than I am in RL. Lol. Possibly richer too!" However the people I met along the way, once I committed top SL have kept me here. And there are a lot of people to thank as they took me under their cyber wings and helped me a lot".

I asked her if she did ever think to use her real name for what she usually does in Second Life."Actually I do. People love the “Mommaluv” – so my friends call me Momma or greet me with MommaLUV!!! -she smiles-…I love it of course and they do their own on the spot commercials for me sometimes….using phrase and quotes I use on my websites..."
It’s really only been since 2005 I started using Mommaluv."

What you like to do here in Second Life when you are not playing?-I asked her:" I pretty much look at this like a job. I devote the necessary hours and not sure how to play here. I attend live shows, art exhibits, and anything that perpetuates creative RL interaction. I also do regular searches for sims I haven heard about to see the expressions of others creativity. I also work on my own land as I have a stage, a beach, and office, where I practice so I can get the most out of my own shows, I do also shopping as I am always impressed in the creativity exercised by the designers here and their dedication."

Mommaluv definitely thinks that SL can be a valid showcase for her RL works
"Besides my friends influence, Claus Uriza, who owns POPARTLAB gave me my first opportunity to perform and was responsible for my very first interview here in SL with TreetTV. Him and Persia Bravin pretty much paved my way here who then introduced me to Sabrina Nightfire who run the Caerleon art Collaberative. Not to mention my friends of DEEP SKY Travelers, who are constantly promoting me and introduced me to Starys Sands of Shooting Star Entertainment and who has been very instrumental in getting me paid gigs and gigs where people are actually there. She is my manager pretty much and had schooled me of the do’s and don’ts of the SL music scene,
I feel very grateful I have met these people and it is because of them I have decided to stay in SL and continue.Among them I include also the Cisum Webzine community for whom I did some awesome gigs!

I asked her if she uses other kind of digital promotions."I have and some have been instrumental and some have been pretty much just part of the growth- as I'm not sure what purpose they actually served. I several months ago to offer my music for free download as I didn’t make much money with monetary downloads. I'm guessing because there is software by which people can by-pass that and I consider what I have online as promotional material and being that most of the avenues I have used is for free – I justify the free downloads as advertisement.
If people want to contribute monetarily they can donate to my sites or see me inworld".

"Where do you see yourself a year from now:will Second Life still exist?" i finally asked her.
"I will still be doing music, as I have too and have been doing it for over 30 years- so I don’t see myself ever giving it up ever.-she smiles-I believe SL will still be around and will adjust itself to the trends that change to satisfy their own financial needs. I myself have altered, rearranged, and adjusted to the changes I have seen and will continue to do so, as it is a matter of my own survival. Things do change so if you don’t have that ability you cannot succeed. I'm also guessing - eventually I will stream my performances live as well while in world. I just don’t have the pc/man power as of yet to do that. As I sing and animate and stream and would probably need a group of people to do the video stream part- not to mention a bigger studio. Eventually I will perform in RL again, just waiting for my kids to get a little older and certain fears to subside. In the meantime I will embrace my time on Second Life and bask in its beauty and opportunity."


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