On April 18, 2014 I officially began performing in Second Life.
The venue was Guthrie's Folk Club and the turn-out was better than I expected (thanks to my good friend Kiesta Aljon). Also, keep in mind that I've been a member of Second Life for 10 years and have been planning on performing all that time so.., it was long overdue!
Performing original songs in front of people has always been challenging for me as I do struggle a bit with stage fright (*gulp*). In the past I've struggled with live performance but that was with a crowd directly in front of me. In a virtual world I am in my own studio - alone - playing for people all over the world who can hear me but can't actually see me.
So ~ there should be no stage fright, right? Wrong.
I was surprised at how much adrenaline coursed through my veins as I was getting close to going live. Ten minutes before show time I was way more nervous than I thought I would be and had to do a few jumping jacks and slap myself a few times to say "knock it off!!". It worked. Sure I was still nervous as the show began but I was good enough ~ mind over matter won the battle.
After performing two separate hour long shows last weekend, I've learned a few things and thought I would share.
First ~ don't take it too lightly.
My attitude going in was that I was playing in my studio and would be able to just plow through it, no biggie. The reality is, a show is a show and must be rehearsed and figured out beforehand. You must be ready to knock 'em out from the start. Coming across like an amateur is not acceptable.
Secondly, there are many aspects of an online live performance to be ready for.
Is your musical equipment functioning properly? Is your audio stream ready to broadcast? Do you have the proper virtual world software interfaces open to efficiently interact with the crowd? Do you have water/tea at your side? What happens if you break a string? Do you have a backup guitar setup and ready to go? Are you in the right frame of mind and ready to schmooze the crowd and work on building your fan base? Do you have your set-list visible?
Finally, a virtual world performer should be ready to interact with people after the show ends.
Shaking hands (so to speak) and chit-chatting post-performance is a powerful way to establish connections with those who enjoyed your music. Going viral in a virtual world happens through word-of-mouth so, even though I tend to want to run off after a show, I realize it's important to do the PR work while the crowd is buzzing. Some people will want to tell you how they feel about your music and you should be ready to listen. Remember that you never know who is behind an avatar. Maybe an A&R rep from Capital? Maybe it's a music producer from Nashville? Who knows, it might even be your next ex (grins).