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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Paul Nowles Entertainer Extraordinaire - ORION BARAL REPORTING


Music means so many things to so many people. You can not ask two people and get the same answer. That is one thing that I truly love about getting to meet people in the music industry in Second Life. Hearing their journey and able to bring it to you, the readers so you can learn more about these great performers. 

Orion Baral (OB): How did you discover Second Life and get involved in the music scene? 

Paul Nowles (PN): I remember seeing ads for second life in an Omni Magazine - yes I am that old and that geeky. I must have watched Lawnmowerman about 100 times since it came out and I was always fascinated by the idea of experiencing a virtual world. I read  a scifi story once that actually described living in SL to perfection, right down to a virtual person walking into a virtual music venue - long before SL even existed. And it hit me, even then, that you could meet people from everywhere. A world outside the world. I signed up for Secondlife and bounced around for a few months and then finally caught a live performer singing and playing guitar...So in a previous incarnation I started a venue. And hired some good performers. I did that until it imploded. Then I found McCoy's Island. I created my Paul Nowles avatar and auditioned. Fell in with the right people at Sunshine Daydream and the Whiskey Go-round and the rest... is proverbial history...:P)

OB: How long have you been performing in RL and in SL?

PN: Since Kindergarten... truly.. I was singing "Raindrops keep falling on my head" and knew all the words. My teacher was so impressed I knew the whole song she took me around to perform it to all the classrooms in my school. As I got older, I didn't like school much and started gravitating to the choir room (to hideout). I started singing with the choir. Then my mother had this "brilliant" idea that my cousin and I should join The Singing Angels... It was a very big choir group that performed nationally and worldwide. Bob Hope (who is from Cleveland) used to have them perform the closing of his Christmas TV specials. I never got to meet Bob, never went to Japan, but it was the best vocal training that you could get in those days.

Then I turned thirteen, and discovered sex and rock-N-roll- I quit the Singing Angels, holed up in my parent's garage for an entire summer, and learned to play a piece of wood with six metal strings... that literally was my first guitar.  Then my parents got me a better guitar - and a headphone amp... (for their own sanity).

Played in junior high and high school bands, apprenticed in a home recording studio, started playing in local bars at sixteen with bands twice my age - and never got busted for being at the bar... we all had long hair back then so it was sometimes hard to tell age...
Took a ten-year break from music and recording, then I discovered that recording had gone digital. I still have my old 16 track Fostex B16 reel to reel with the 1/2 inch tape... geek - told you… I was amazed at how much you could manipulate sound on a computer. So I started playing again.
SL I've been singing for the last 11 years. So all told, I've been performing for like 1/2 a cen... can we move on to the next question? :)

OB: What Genre of music do you cover?

PN: Classic Rock - which is the music I think most of us grew up with. 
Bob Seger, Bon Jovi, Journey, Warren Zevon, etc..
Johnny Cash - Hurt - is actually written by Trent Reznor and is bone chilling
with that deep resonant voice.
But lately, I have been featuring music from Cleveland and New Jersey - 
local acts like Michael Stanley Band, Beau Coup, American Noise, Circus, Jonah Koslen... 
These are the bands I heard in the bars and had the biggest influence over my musical tastes.
And I am looking at expanding into doing the Blues as well.

OB: Do you write your own music?

PN: I started writing when I was 13 and playing guitar. I've written at least two dozen
songs over the years and redid a few as an adult in the studio and perform them here in SL.
I like big sounding tracks to sing with so there is full instrumentation on all my studio tracks.
I also have the honor of having co-written a song with my awesomely talented friend PMann Sands. He graciously asked me to work on a song he was writing and had the music but needed lyrics and vocal parts and his only stipulation were that it be called "Believe What you Want". So I went into the studio and created the best lyrics I could for the song and added a sax solo to it (guitar synth), and we both are the proud copyright holders. Video on Youtube of the Facebook video stream.

OB: What instruments do you play?
PN: Mostly guitar, but a little drums, keyboards, and bass. These days I can do an entire song with my guitar synth for all the parts, hence my main instrument is... the computer and my recording software. These days you can make music by pushing a button (although there is more to it). But to make it sound real, you have to understand the actual instruments and the techniques used to make them sound so good. I love sampling and making music with sounds that may not have started as being musical, boxes with a lot of bass on them can make for a tight sounding kick drum, grease sizzling can make for a great high hat sound
with the right effects... I experiment. I love my looper too, great songwriting tool for making quick multitrack sounding clips.

OB: How often do you perform in Second Life?

PN: I recall a time when I would do seven shows on a Sunday. Then my voice would give out. James Brown is the hardest working man in showbiz, I almost qualified for the virtual But nowadays you can usually find me singing somewhere about 4-5 times a week.

OB: Tell me what music means to you?

PN: Insert something very spiritual and humbling... but don't try to come off sounding altruistic. Lol. I will say that it is the one thing that makes me feel exhilarated and for that one moment it's the only thing that matters... and I love sharing that with a room full of friends. 
I don't give shows, I put on parties - and you are all invited.

OB: Which musician influenced you to start playing music?

PN: Freddie Mercury and Brian May... Queen - first album was Queen - A Night at the Opera 
Tom Scholz - Boston - a brilliant man who created the Rockman headphone amp which
recreated that unique Boston guitar sound. And loved the music they made with it.

OB: Where do you see yourself heading into the future with your music?

PN: I'd love to say "the album is coming out..." or "the tour is starting..."
but it ain't happening. Right now I have the best gig you could ask for, 
no lugging heavy gear to do a show, my avie is always dressed like a rocker
so I may be in my shorts and a t-shirt, and I get to sing 4-5 times a week... RL
could be once a month or once every six months. Don't get me wrong if 
Jon Bon Jovi or Michael Stanley asked me to tour with them, I'm there.. ya never know.
I do have plans to write more songs so there may be an album in the works...

OB: For bookings who can your fans or Venue owners contact?

PN: Myself or my lovely wife Cheyanne Sinatra - former owner of the awesome Blues Warehouse venue. Where we met:)

OB: Paul thank you for the time and insight behind the man and his music. 
Being a boy from Jersey I am really fond of Paul’s music and I am sure if you come to one of his “parties” you will enjoy yourself I am sure. 

Images credited to Kenneth Topaz - Topaz Photography



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