After competing against 17 of SL’s top performers, the judges have spoken!
Meet Jeffah (Jeffah24 Resident); winner of SL’s Got Talent 2015. Jeffah aka Jeff Blake is a composer and singer from Ontario Canada. In Second Life he is in high demand and performs at various venues across the grid. His broad genre includes Swing, Jazz, Broadway, pop, country, and rock. The SL Enquirer caught up with Jeffah to learn more about him and his inspiration for Music.
Interview with Jeffah
What does Music mean to you?
Jeffah: Music is my life. Every moment of every day there is music in my head. Even when I'm not thinking about music, it is helping me do everything I do. Music is the reason I exist.
What inspired you to become a singer?
Jeffah: It was the one thing I wasn't doing with music, and one day I just decided that I needed to develop my voice. That happened in the privacy of my bedroom, and no-one knew about it until I entered a singing competition when I was 17... and the rest is history!
What genres do you cover?
Jeffah: In my SL shows, I sing Rock, Pop, Jazz/Swing, Country, Folk, Broadway, Disney... I like to tell everyone at my shows to consider me a human jukebox – press my buttons and pick a song, because there is something for everyone!
Do you write your own music? If so, what do you like to write about?
Jeffah: All that I write is instrumental – I have never been a good lyricist. In fact, until I started singing, I very rarely paid much attention to the words in a song! I have written melodies for lyrics written by others, though. Writing complex changes and mood-altering harmonies comes as a second nature to me. Would someone like to teach me how to write lyrics? :)
How did you discover Second Life?
Jeffah: A friend on another virtual-world type of 3D chat platform told me about Second Life, so I popped over to make an account and check it out. A few months went by without much time spent on it, until one day I was roaming around and encountered someone who had a “Singer” tag over their head. I sent them a message asking about singing in SL... and we have been dating ever since! <3
You perform in a band in real life. Can you tell me more about your rl music background and what you have done before discovering the Second Life Music Industry?
Jeffah: When I was very young, I was in a Yamaha Canada Music competition that went to a national level, and I ended up winning the championship. From that day, I was their “prodigy child”. I traveled all over the world performing in concerts from small showcases, to world-wide competitions in venues such as the World Trade Center in Singapore. I attended Wilfrid Laurier University for music performance and orchestration, and have played in many ensembles and touring bands, from R&B to Jazz, choral to orchestral, and most recently with the Canadian Fiddle Rock band “Fiddlestix”.
Aside from having a live audience, what similarities and differences do you feel when you are performing on a virtual stage as opposed to a real one?
Jeffah: I can honestly say it is such a treat to be able to perform from home, in the comfort of my living room! However, there is no greater experience for a performer than stepping out on a real stage to thousands of adoring fans. I would say that I get a similar energy from my audiences no matter if they are at RL shows or SL shows – the audience's response and feedback during a show is what feeds me energy when I am performing.
Has Second Life helped your RL Music career?
Jeffah: In a way, yes. Being able to sing more often, and for longer periods of time has been a direct result of performing regularly in SL.
Can you describe the feeling when you are performing for an audience? Do you get nervous?
Jeffah: I used to get SO nervous all the time! However, after many shows around the world in various countries and different languages, you find that there is always one thing in common – music brings everyone together. After my first show, alone on stage in front of 10,000 people... very few scenarios find me nervous these days. It really depends on the situation. I was nervous during the SLGT final round! Most of the time, however, if you are confident that you can put on a good show, the nerves fade away. :)
What was it like when you were announced as the Winner of SL’s Got Talent 2015?
Jeffah: I was alone at home, so I would need to ask my neighbours if they heard me! Haha! My entire purpose of entering this year was to see if I could be heard by some people who had never heard me before. Winning was the icing on the cake, and I'm truly grateful for the opportunity.
Have you received other rewards and recognition in SL and in RL?
Jeffah: This is the first for me in SL. In RL, I would need several pages to list them all. To me, life is a journey, and everything that happens to you along the way is a part of that journey. If you like who I am today, then I invite you to thank all that has happened to me in my past... for my past is what made me who I am today. Awards or not, the future is now. Make it a good one!
The Music Industry in Second Life is saturated with performers and DJs making it highly competitive. What do you think separates you from the rest?
Jeffah: My shows are always tailored to the venue/audience for which I am performing. It is my goal to give the listener an experience where they could close their eyes and feel as if they were at a RL show. I take great pride in every note that you hear at one of my shows, truly – I hear things that most others do not, but I still hear them... and if it isn't perfect, it's not used. You can be certain that you will not hear anything less than the best I can give you, each and every time I perform.
From a performer's perspective, how do you feel about the Music Industry in Second Life? There have been debates about pay scale, varying talent and venue costs, Could there be some improvements in how things are run?
Jeffah: There are venues for every performer, from those just starting out to those who have climbed the proverbial ladder. Aside from the biggest names in music, performer fees in RL barely cover expenses. The fees most seasoned performers in SL charge are magnitudes lower than basic expenses to put on that show. If we are performing in SL, it is because we love to do it and hope that you will enjoy the show. The most important thing for audiences to consider is how much they would spend on a night out of the house, doing something similar to what they are doing in SL. If you were at a bar, for example, you would be buying drinks. If you were at an outdoor festival, you would likely be buying food and/or concert merchandise. In SL, if you can afford a few Lindens here and there, please tip the venues! Without venues, we have no place to perform.
What advice would you give new artists interested in performing in Second Life?
Jeffah: Best advice I could possibly give anyone interested in starting out performing in SL would be to talk to other performers. They are the best source of information you could possibly have in terms of where to start and how to succeed.
How can venues book you?
Venues interested in booking me can contact me directly in-world, or through my Facebook fan page.
How can readers follow your shows and sample your music?
Jeffah: I have an in-world fan group named “Jeffah's Jivers”, a subscriber service for those who don't have group space, and a Facebook fan page where I post my show details. I also have a SoundCloud profile where I have some recordings that I have made over the past few years, and I just recently hit 1 MILLION plays! That's a lot of people who have listened to my singing!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Jeffah: Find a dream. Set goals that will bring you closer to that dream. Never give up. Be yourself. Live life, don't just watch it pass by.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with The SL Enquirer and Congratulations on Winning 1st Place in SL’s Got Talent 2015!
Booking Info: Jeffah (“Jeffah24” SL username)
Group: “Jeffah’s Jivers”
Preferred Contact: SL message or Facebook