This month's Spotlight is on Downunder - a guy I have come to truly like and admire over the years for many more reasons than the amazing voice and stage presence usually associated with this prince of Second Life performers.
Our paths have crossed many times over the years but my lasting memory of Down goes back to 2017 and an event my partner Valeri and I had organized to raise funds for the wonderful Feed A Smile charity.
Our target for the event was 50k and Down opened up with a blistering set that set the tone for the whole day and had raised almost 30k by the time he left the stage.
Later in the day, as the last performer was leaving the stage and we were congratulating ourselves on raising over 70k, Down reappeared and asked me to reload his stream.
So there he was, back on stage, playing his heart out, bringing more and more people in - and demanding a total of 100k in donations before he stopped playing - and he did it!
Right now Down's RL music career in Australia is going through a very busy and exciting time but still he agreed to be interviewed by Toggle For Music and I caught up with him during a short break in his hectic schedule ...
Michael : First up - You (usually)come over as a sane, balanced kind of individual - how on earth did you get involved in the crazy world of Second Life?
Down: Well it was by accident really i was on a program for a while called imvu where i could dj only it was a friend on there that recommended second life to me as he said you can perform there , so i joined up and at first didn't like it avatars weren't so good so i went back to imvu for another year or 2 then i finally went back to second life and stayed. I was lucky to find an awesome manager Pam Astonia who has been with me for many years and of course the amazing Downettes they get to experience what its like to be on the stage and they all do an amazing job.
Michael : Do you remember your first gig - the venue and how it went ?
Down: That i do i always hung around a karaoke lounge called olounge and it was by chance a venue owner came in and listened her name is Whisper owner of colour of whispers, She messaged me and asked if i could put an hour show together i was very hesitant but agreed and performed at her club , as to how it went i had a quick dodgy setup and as new singers do had a small crowd but overall i think it went well.
Michael : Following on from that is there a gig you remember above all ? (excluding the memorable ones you did for Feed A Smile of course)
Down: The show that always has stuck in my mind was a memorial for a past manager of mine Annie who unfortunately passed away it was a very hard show to do as she was loved by alot of people and i still dedicate her favourite song to her to this day bless her.
Michael : You know the Second Life live music industry inside out by now. Do you feel it is in a healthy state at this moment in time ? If you could do one thing to improve it - what would it be?
Down: I think the SL music scene is healthy as ever and is great starting point for those closet singers to actually get out there without the crowd watching them as for improvement i think it is progressing itself very well so i do say if you want to get out there and try please do.
Michael : Conversely what would you say irks you the most ? (aside from annoying interviewers)
IDown: think generally the people that enjoy the music scene are amazing people for me every show i perform i do as if its a room full of people i can touch,so i guess trouble makers and griefers irk me the most.
Michael : At Toggle For Music we are now a few months into our crusade, with our blog, to promote SL live music in any way we can. Could you give us any advice on ways we could go about this?
Down: The only advice i could give is to treat every singer equally as they all have a talent i dont think noone is better than another but i think you do that well anyway.
Michael : Thank you!
At the top of this interview wrote about how Down went the extra mile to help support children in Africa. Like every other high profile personality in Second Life Down has his supporters and his critics. For myself, I don't think I ever met a more genuine and generous person in 14 years of Second Life.
MichaelJ Rossini Apr 2021