Russell Eponym: Tributes and Tales
Mainly because it is so convenient to play Second Life® concerts and I have a full program, I tend to do more virtual shows now than real life ones.
I was a teacher for a number of years, then a school principal. I decided to leave the profession and to take up music, before it was too late. It was always a dream to live through my music. Plus, I had played in many bands and ensembles, as a solo artist, and as a street singer in many cities. And always a writer.
I joined SL in 2006 January, having heard of the superior quality of the sound. So I streamed on my first day—within the first few hours actually. I came from Paltalk first. So performing here was my raison d’etre…..so to speak, my sole intention. There were very few live musicians here then.
When I arrived, though, it was a real culture shock! I saw the possibilities to explore as endless, and it was initially quite intimidating. But I decided also, that it was a way of playing music to the world, and for it to provide me with an income.
Both the quality of the sound and the virtual economy enable me to make a full living from music. But it is very hard work, in a different way than real life. The lifestyle is very different. It is great that I don’t have to leave home to go to work; I work from my studio with no journeys to make. It is great to produce my own music, and to decide my work schedule. I can work as little or as much as I want.
In the first few years, I did a lot more shows, and built a fan base. I complained about my fingers hurting from playing the guitar so much! Through hard work, I have a wonderful community, approaching 1300 members.
Promotion has always been high on my agenda.
I manage myself. Only I know what I am able to do. But I do have a brilliant team of five that look after the group and the venue, leaving me to perform. They are self-motivated and highly efficient, and have all been with me for years. We get on well and they understand my needs. The secret of good collaboration is good communication, common aims, documentation.
SL has become very complex. Population growth brings greater diversification. So I concentrate in developing my Eponymous Family. The loyal fans form the main stay of my audiences. This is not just an issue of talent either. It is offering more.
I both perform music and do readings. It is so encouraging how the readings have become popular—sometimes thirty-plus in the audience! It seems that adults have come full-circle from being read bedtime stories to now enjoying the relaxation of listening. Many have said to me that my readings have reopened many doors for them. I just love to engage people in some way with ideas, words, nostalgia… whatever it takes. And I do like to talk.
I am fortunate I came here when I could grow with SL. Today there is an increasing number of venues and an ever increasing number of musicians. Many came and went—mainly because they were not ready for the challenge. And some, sadly, expect overnight success.
As winter approaches my schedule will increase, I want to do more shows which combine different performance styles. Poetry and music combines so well—they are perfect bed partners. Some of my poems have been made into songs.
I like to perform a combination of original, traditional, instrumental, and cover songs. These are the songs that have been around for a century; they are our history texts. And they are the ones I learned to sing and play to. I started playing guitar at the age of 14. I have been writing most of my life.
I grow my listening audience by increasing the number of virtual grids I play in—now five. Many of my audience grid-hop with me. (I don’t expect my audiences to attend two or more shows in such quick succession. That is not fair.) I can play in SL, and an hour later, be playing in another grid. This is one reason I do perform less in SL than I used to. I can also play in multiple grids at the same time to multiple audiences—stream to three worlds simultaneously. Most grids are stages to me, and I only participate in SL personally. I spend little time in any world doing anything other than performing.
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