(SLGT) Contest was created and first produced in 2013 by Jackie Lefko. She is the CEO of BlueByrd Entertainment (formerly Lefko Entertainment). The idea of SLGT came to Jackie after debuting several new SL performers at her venue, The Speakeasy. She felt a contest would be a great opportunity for those looking to showcase their talent but to also engage in a personal challenge.
Each round features a variety of genres and the judges have the difficult task of deciding who moves on to the next round. Artists who make it to through have a significant chance to be the last competitor standing to receive this prestigious award.
Sound the trumpet… This year’s SL’s Got Talent Winner is Scarlett LaRoux (scarlettla.roux), a musical gem in Second Life as well as the owner of Scarlett’s Place; a venue built on love and mutual admiration for soul, good music and good company. Scarlett’s sound is smooth and soulful. She truly has a fabulous gift that she readily shares with others. If you were to close your eyes and listen closely, you would almost feel as if you have been transported back in time to a smoky Jazz club.
In RL she sings Jazz, R&B, and Soft Rock. She has sung in a cappella groups that covered genres from gospel to rock, and has done solo performances that cover many genres. Her voice is her instrument and she loves use it to speak to and influence audiences.
The SL Enquirer caught up with Scarlett to give you a behind the scenes look at the woman behind the voice.
Meet Scarlett LaRoux
Hi Scarlett first and foremost, congratulations on winning SL’s Got Talent 2016. Can you tell your fans what it felt like to hear the announcement?
Scarlett: I was hoping for that outcome, but mostly I was surprised. It was amazing to know that the judges felt that I deserved to win the contest. It was a privilege to be considered the top performer from this great group of performers in the contest. I heard that the scores in the final round were really close. That fact makes me more grateful for the opportunity to sing for this group. I met some really dynamic performers during the contest, and hope to remain friends with them for a long time. The first couple of days after the event were a bit overwhelming with lots of places to be and a lot of people to talk to.
Where are you from and when did you begin singing?
Scarlett: I’m from North Carolina, near the Southern Part of Heaven. J I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My first performances were in church. I remember the first time I realized that people applauded a performance of mine. It was when I was about four years old, and my dad was singing in church. Somehow I made my way from the pews to where he was singing, and I started singing with him. I also did a little dance. Evidently the singing was okay, but the dancing put my mother over the edge. After that I sang with the youth choir and in school.
My first solo performance was for a celebration for the small town I lived in. I was about eleven years old at the time. The ceremony was held in the town square, and I sang “The Wings of a Dove.” I remember everyone had gone quiet. I thought they’d hated it. But people were crying, and afterwards I was overwhelmed by hugs. That’s when I realized music had an emotional impact and I decided I’d sing “to” people not “at” them or “for” them.
Who inspired you the most throughout your singing career? (both in SL and RL)
Scarlett: Hmmm. Inspiration comes in many forms. So I’d say in RL one of my biggest inspirations was my 8th grade choral instructor, who at the time told me that my vocal range was “impractical.” Even with that assessment, he worked with me to increase my range and develop vocal control.
Professionally, I’m in love with Ella Fitzgerald and her vocal acrobatics, and ease of improvisation. I also derive some of my vocal stylings from artists like Luther Vandross and Natalie Cole.
In SL, I think my inspiration comes from my closest SL friends. They have believed in me since day one. I still have friends in SL that I met when I logged in about nine years ago. Some I have met in person, and we’ve become great friends in RL and in SL. There are some special people that I have connected with deeply and their opinion and suggestions matter a lot to me. I use their input to continue to develop my craft. I rely on their ears to tell me whether or not a song is suited to me.
Believe me, there are times I want to sing certain songs, but I cannot connect to them emotionally. When I practice, or try out new music, these friends can tell immediately whether I am connecting, just by the tone of my voice when I sing.
When did you discover you could perform in Second Life? What were your thoughts?
Scarlett: I’d gone around listening to various performers with a friend of mine, and heard MidKnight Auer. He’s a great jazz performer. For some time after hearing that performance I thought how cool was that? I too could actually sing music that I liked in a place like this, and to people who liked the same kind of music I do.
A few weeks later, I scheduled my first performance at a venue called Catch a Falling Star. Silverwind Tzedek was the owner. That first performance was rough. I nearly hyperventilated, and the stream was too slow, so it was a little choppy. I still can’t believe the people who were there sat through it.
As a singer, what do you find the most challenging and rewarding?
Scarlett: The most challenging thing for me is to keep my fingers on the audience’s pulse, and to find music that I can share with them that they’ll like.
Describe what it feels like to perform. Is it something that comes naturally or do you feel nervous before a performance?
Scarlett: Before most performances I am a little nervous. I talk through an intro to make a connection with the audience, and sing the first few notes of a song, after which things start to come more easily. As long as I feel like I have two-way communication with the audience I’m fine. My dad has always said that I put the ham in ham, so if I know someone likes what I’m doing that’s like adding wood to the fire, and makes me go a little bigger.
Can you share one of your most memorable moments in your singing career?
Scarlett: One of the most memorable moments has been winning the SLGT contest. It blew my mind right outta my head. Who knew! I had taken some time away and was a little bit out of practice.
Someone hadn’t shown up for a performance at Café Musique, and I asked Laya Sugarplum if I could sing until the next scheduled performer showed up. She said, “yes,” even though she didn’t know me from Adam. Shortly after that she told me about the SLGT contest. She knew I was trying to ease back into performing in SL and thought that it would be good for me.
Not only do you perform in Second Life but you also manage your own venue; Scarlett’s Place. Can you tell our readers about this venue and people who visit and talent that graces your stage?
Scarlett: Scarlett’s place came about because I had benefactors in SL for a while, Atticus Falconer and Arwyn Lavendel. They actually built Scarlett’s place because they wanted me to have somewhere to sing that had my name on it. Sadly, Atticus died RL and we had to move Scarlett’s place, so I moved the physical club to the first plot of land I ever “lived” on in SL.
As you can probably tell, I’m a little sentimental, holding on to that parcel for so long. Scarlett’s place is pretty much a hangout for anyone who wants to go there, and for anyone who wants to sing there. When I run into people who are learning to perform in SL, I bring them to Scarlett’s Place and help them with the technical aspects of it. If they need or want vocal coaching, I provide that too. I’m just paying forward the kindnesses that people have shown me through the years.
Before we wrap up this interview, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Scarlett: I love singing as much as some people love chocolate. RL my coworkers know whether I’m having a good day or a bad day by the songs I sing, or by the phrases I set to music coming out of just general conversation.
Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview and again congratulations!
Scarlett’s Place SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Duzzclown/239/80/702
Manager: Jerry Stringer
Preferred Contact: Jerry Stringer
Booking information: firstname.lastname@example.org