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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Music Venue Ownership and A Popular Singer: Scarlet and Jeffah- Fynnyus Resident Reporting




This is just a hunch, but I believe that most of what we do in Second Life is pretty haphazard. It’s a place to escape, have fun, and get away from reality for a while. It’s rare for me to make plans or set a time or date to do anything. I kind of like the serendipity of not having a plan and just going with the flow, so to speak. And so it was on a Monday morning in early June. It was then that I received a group announcement from Scarlet (scarletexiles) who owns Scarlet's Ranch & Resort. A popular singer would be performing there in the next few moments. The message said: "Canadian born-and-raised, Jeff has performed all over the RL world, and quickly became a fan favorite in SL. His attention to detail and explicit emotion in each song will bring you back show after show. Whether you like rock, pop, jazz, etc. Jeff will sing your requests. Come and experience a musical journey as this multi-award winning vocalist performs songs the way they were truly intended to be heard! Join us for an hour of great music." Being a newly minted music writer for the Second Life Enquirer, I thought I would go and see what’s up. So, off I went and teleported to the venue.
Upon arrival, the singer was just starting. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I messaged Scarlet to get some information about music venues and what it was like managing and owning a virtual place for music. Here’s how the conversation went:

Fynn: Hi Scarlet, is this your place?
Scarlet: Yes Fynn, it’s one of 3 I have here on this region primarily for music, but we do some weddings, too. I have Red Rocks and Scarlet's Aquarium here also.
Fynn: I'm curious about what it's like to run a music venue.
Scarlet: You have to love music and have deep pockets, at least for live artists. It's fun, I do it for the fun.
Fynn: If I might ask, what does it cost?
Scarlet: Well, you have to have land obviously, you don’t have to have as much as I have but you need a decent spot and then you build or buy a club. The cost of artists varies but if you’re going to have very many your looking at a nice amount of dollars going out. I have had over 35 live artists that sing at my venues. Some don’t cost, but not many work just for tips these days. The better known they are the more expensive they can be.
Fynn: Is Jeffah well-known?
Scarlet: Yes, he has been with me both at Red Rocks and here, but he is an entertainer who promotes his shows and has decent crowds come to listen. I just enjoy the music, building, and fun. I've been doing this a little over a year in SL now.
Fynn: You seem to have done a lot in a year.
Scarlet: I'm just ambitious and I don’t like people telling me I can't do something. I started out with a DJ club and a second venue with occasional live events. DJs have gotten harder to build on, but good live performances bring the people.

Scarlet was busy during the live performance managing patrons, greeting new arrivals, and such, so I didn’t get to talk with her as much I would have liked to, but it made me think I might delve into music club ownership and management at some point.
Then my partner, Misty, happened to log in so I teleported her to come and dance with me. Misty is really smart about music and has played guitar her whole life. I asked her what she thinks. She always impresses me with her understanding of music history, and he’s always honest as hell. I love that about her. We dance and listen and talk about the singer and other things. Her perspective is in this writing. She’s an inspiration and influences my thoughts as I write.


There’s lots of ways to categorize music in Second Life. Two broad types are those who accompany themselves while singing, usually with guitar or keyboard, and those who use prerecorded background instrumentals while they sing. The latter, a karaoke-style of performance, is quite popular in Second Life and it is what we hear at this performance. Jeff (Jeffah24) has a very distinctive vocal quality. It’s quite unique and he is very engaging with the fans who have shown up, and for a Monday morning there’s quite a few (of course it’s not “morning” everywhere in the world, lol). He sings works by Elton John, Aerosmith, Adele, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, and more. During the performance, Jeff actually explains what he’s doing: he has a microphone with software for background accompaniment. He can add reverb and other voice altering techniques, which he uses proficiently. And then there’s the karaoke background music, some with choral background vocals in some songs. It all makes for a fun show.
Doing my research, I find out that Jeff has been performing in Second Life quite a while. In fact, he was interviewed for the Second Life Enquirer a few years ago when he won Second Life’s Got Talent Award in 2015. His profile describes him thusly, “A six-year veteran of the SL live music scene, Canadian-born Jeff has spent his entire life devoted to music. He has performed solo all over the RL world, and tours with an internationally recognized band. His SL shows often feature Rock, Pop, Jazz, and many other genres. Experience who fans have dubbed the "Human Jukebox" as this multi-award winning vocalist takes you on a musical journey!”
Also, “Outside of SL, Jeff toured for over 4 years with the internationally recognized Fiddle Rock band FIDDLESTIX, playing keyboards, Irish whistle, sax, and vocals. He spent a further 3 years living in Lisbon Portugal, and just recently returned to Ontario Canada and has begun touring with Fiddlestix again. His vocal recordings on SoundCloud have surpassed 2.9 MILLION plays, averaging over 6000 plays per week, or 850 plays every day.” 
Very Impressive, in my opinion! I spoke with him after the show:

Fynn: Generally, why you do this? 
Jeffah: I've been a professional musician most of my life.  it's second nature to me to be an entertainer.... and SL is one of many avenues that allow me to do that and reach a wide spectrum of audience members from around the world. :)
Fynn: Where has music been and where do you think it’s going?
Jeffah: I can only speak for the past 6.5 years -- but I know that SL live music started a very long time ago as a platform for solo instrumentalists to play music for each other. It has evolved over many years to include all forms of live entertainment from instrumentalists, to vocalists, to bands and even spoken word and  stand-up comedy.  Only time will tell where the scene goes from here on forward. :)
Fynn: Tell me a little about your style.
Jeffah: I don't really have a single style.  I love and greatly appreciate all genres of music and love to perform Rock, Pop, Country, Romantic Ballads, Jazz/Swing, Broadway, Disney,...
Fynn: I am curious about the karaoke style, there seem to be those who play guitar or keyboard, and others like you who use karaoke-style. Maybe there's other ways, but those seems to be two main ways musicians accompany their vocals.
Jeffah: I'm a musician who plays almost every major instrument class.... but I perform in a band in RL several instruments, and so in SL I choose to be a vocalist.
Fynn: What's it like to be a SL musician?
Jeffah For me, it's quite a lot of work.  I don't have a manager making all of my bookings for me, seeking out new venues, keeping in touch with the venue owners, or handling all the administrative work... I do all of that myself.  On average, a one-hour show takes about 3 hours of my time.  There is promotion to be made, advertising to be posted, multiple forms of communication to my fans and followers letting them know the show details for each day, etc.  Usually the one-hour show is my time to finally relax and have some fun, provided there are no technical issues during the show!  lol... and there have been countless technical issues over the years.  I have way more to do and take care of during my show in SL than I do as a singer/musician performing in my RL band.  Not only am I the performer, I'm also the sound technician, the lighting controller, the request manager and the problem solver.... I wouldn't be able to survive a show without my amazing assistant!

It was at this point that Jeff had to return to reality for dinner. We said our goodbyes and I thanked him for his time and his insights. And hey, another success with serendipity! Give it a try, I swear it works! Until next time, I remain your Wannabe Music Critic, Fynn!

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