As a reporter, you have to learn to keep emotions and feelings separate when you report on events, to remain neutral in opinions and generally be someone other than you for a while. However, when it comes to Miss Diva Stone, I for one will go doe-eyed and girly in a split second and not give a flying damn how pathetic I look. Ever since I heard her sing my name, I’ve never been the same. So when I asked her for an interview, and she agreed, I literally turned into a prime number and exploded. She arrived almost as nervous as I was and brought her Master and Chain Sister for moral backup. We sit by a fireplace full of candles and the coffee starts to flow.
M: So, Miss Diva, first of all thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, first of all, when did you discover your talent for singing?
D: I began singing when I was in 3rd grade in French class. The teacher was teaching us a song called "Alouette". And I would sing louder than the whole class. But instead of singing along, I would be ad-libbing. I didn’t know what it was but I had heard my mom doing it when she sang in different venues in Detroit, and then later at home for my Dad. So I was imitating her in class...got me in big trouble. I still know that song.
M: But I bet you didn't do it in the style of Aretha Franklin!
D: I tried my hardest I am telling you and my teacher (French Canadian) did not find it funny, but my Mom did. She wanted to pull me on stage. And sing in front of thousands of people. She sent me to classes and coaches. But my nerves...that was the real problem I had. I would go out on stage with her and puke. It was my Dad, who focused me.
M: And how did he do that? How did you overcome the nerves? Do you still get nervous?
D: Well first, yes I do, but not as nervous as I used to get. My Dad would make me sing in front of him, I mean real close in his face. When I tried to close my eyes or if I would get woozy, he would thump me on the forehead and say "Are you weak? Are you Mine? Then act like it “I was so pissed at him the first time he did it. Then it would be for him and the family then for him and his co-workers. Then it went to the middle of K-mart! He was super focused and determined, I thought he was just crazy. He would make me sing him to sleep and in the morning, and after work. He was relentless. So, the first time in a while after the puking incident, my mom was opening for Anita Baker at the Fox. She was singing "If I Could" by Regina Bell, I was standing back stage with my dad right in front of me with this look on his face like "Don't you embarrass me!". And when he called my name, he smiled and pulled me in close. He said "you have my strength in you. Use it" then he thumped me in the head for good measure. And I went and stared at my mom for the first part of the song, she pointed at my Dad, he smiled and pointed at the audience. I love my Dad, I love him for that. And that was all she wrote. I was 10 by then
M: So with your Mom's voice and your Dad's determination, you became who you are today?
D: Indeed. I must say, I am still finding who I am and it still takes a lot of determination and practice and I doubt myself even now. I just have a few more tools in my packet to use to help get me through. Not to mention a few good people always ready to thump me in the head or give me a pep talk.
She looks at her Master and Sister, sitting close by
M: What doubts do you have? I mean with a voice like yours, what could you possibly fault about yourself?
D: I sometimes don't hear myself the way other people do. I am extremely hard on myself. I am a perfectionist when it comes to this music thang. I hear every fault and crack and broken board in my voice before it leaves my lips and I am always drilling myself and trying for better. It’s not just the sound that I critique. I have to feel what I am singing in my core. If I can’t connect to what I am singing, I don't do it. If I can’t make myself Happy, or Sad, or Aroused with a song, then I trash it. I cry and laugh and sometimes bring myself to the brink of an orgasm when I sing. I have to feel every song. And that’s not always easy. Especially if I am not happy when I sing a happy song for example. I have to find happiness, so my audience will FEEL my joy. You feel me?
M: Not since the circus event no, but yes I do generally. Oh god that sounded bad...ill rephrase that
M: But to answer your question, yes I feel everything; every intonation, feeling and emotion in every note you sing.
D: And that is when I feel I am doing a good job, when I am worthy of the applause...
M: As an ex entertainer myself, I know about perfectionism and self-critique
D: It can be nerve wracking. But so worth it in my opinion.
M: Indeed, half the battle is overcoming the fact that people have come to hear YOU. The rest is gaining their admiration and love through applause.
D: yes! Exactly
M: Which is why my stand up career fell flat.
D: I don’t know why, you are funny as hell. It was a joy to work with you, truly.
M: slips Miss Diva L$100 and whispers "Keep Talking"
D: I still panic before every show here in SL
Mιʂʂ Dιʋα Sƚσɳҽ giggles and tucks the money in her top, and continues..."Your wit is basically unmatched and refreshing"
M: Someone once told me that when the nerves go, it's time to jack it all in. Do you believe that’s true?
D: I do, the nerves keep you hungry and open. Open to growth and striving to get better. They keep you yearning and thirsty for that new thang, that new edge the new lick or trick in your voice. A new height and pull with you vocal folds. NEWNESS! And new things are always more exciting. Keeping them guessing and hungry right with you, in the moment..stuck
M: Let's talk more about you as you are now. When I first heard you sing my name, it was like aural magic. I thought to myself "there is one special talented and quite frankly gorgeous lady whose vocal talents are unmatched anywhere in Second Life"
(Leans over and takes back the L$100)
M: How would you describe your style?
Mιʂʂ Dιʋα Sƚσɳҽ winks, pulls 100 more from her purse and places it where his used to be.
D: I would describe it as RAW. It is sexy and sensual, even the songs that are not. I make them that way. It’s raw in that I like to appeal to the animal nature in my listener... I growl and grovel and please and moan and whine...I whisper...it’s guttural. It’s from my soul to yours.
M: I can certainly vouch for that!
D: I want to be felt as well as heard. My sister is saying personable and personal. I completely agree!
M: How did you find about SL? Is there much difference between performing in real life and in here?
D: I was watching TV one day and I saw a commercial for it, it seemed similar to the Sims Family which I played in my spare time. Then I googled it and saw realistic experiences of a sexual and graphic nature and let’s just say..I was feeling like that at the time...so I came...to SL. And as for singing here. It is very different for me because I am used to the theatre and singing on stage in plays and such in RL. So it was an adjustment to go from that. Full power, no mic singing to having to hold back and still give all of my passion and soul in my music. But, I do enjoy not having to spend hours..wait I still spend hours getting my avi ready so scratch that.
M: Who were your singing idols growing up? Did you have any?
D: Oh I had many, my Mom being the top of my list. Then it was Etta James, Rachelle Ferrell and Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston definitely
M: Is there any of them in your vocal performances?
D: Oh yes! My growl and raspiness are a product of Etta James. My runs and licks often stem from Rachelle Ferrell, and Whitney Houston. My Power comes from my Mom and Aretha Franklin. My Moan exudes Nina.
M: So where can people find out more about you and where you're performing?
D: They can join my group or my subscriber. But If they search my name, I have in my profile, my schedule, a list of people who are blogging about me and in this case writing articles ^^ :), and I also have links to a few songs in there as well. For booking and to obtain a bio they can contact me directly or my most AWESOME manager and good friend Misitblu Verino. I have some videos also coming up soon to YouTube.
She is still a bundle of nerves by the time I conclude the interview. She tells me she enjoyed the experience of being interviewed and the nerves appear to leave her. I wish I could say the same. I’m still a wobbly gibbering wreck on the inside but ever the professional on the outside. After all, I’ve just interviewed my favourite singer of all time and can still hear the raw sexiness in which she sang my name, all those weeks ago. Will you excuse me a moment?