Michael: Hi Jae - thank you soo much for taking time out to do this interview with Toggle For Music.
First up - Could you tell our readers something about your background - were you an established artist in RL before you got here - are you from a musical family?
Jae: Well Michael, I was an established entertainer before coming to SL and I also had an Entertainment company called Blue Moon Entertainment in the Bronx, New York. I had 3 Karaoke machines working 6 nights a week doing clubs and parties all over the tri-state area. ( Ny, NJ and CT ). At this time there weren't many KJ's, as they are called now, doing what I was doing. over the years as Karaoke became more popular I became known as the grandfather of Karaoke in my circles becaue i was if not the firt one to bring Kaoke to the outer bouroughs of NYC. At that time there was really only one place in thecity you could go to for Karaoke.
As far as coming from a musical family, by definition no. There is a family story that was told to me by a few of my family members over the years saying that somewhere along the line, on my maternal grandmother's side that Bobby Darin was a third cousin. We all know about family folk lore, so who knows.
Michael: Could you describe your set up when you're singing in SL - do you have a designated room crammed with hi tech equipment - or something more modest?
Jae: I wouldn't say high tech Michael. I do have a professional set up with a 16 channel mixer for doing live shows in RL. Then I have an 8 channel board I use for SL shows. I don't use studio speakers, I use a good medium priced head set. Just to clarify for the readers Michael, you do not need an 8 channel top of the line mixer to produce your show for SL to begin with. If your just starting out a simple 4 channel or even a two channel mixer will do. One that has USB connectivity, a not too expensive microphone and an over the ear headset ( if you have blue tooth connectivity you can use ear buds, but I don't recommend those as they can cause some problems when just starting out ), karaoke music and your good to go. If you get as lucky as i did in SL then you can, in time, upgrade your equipment
Michael: So how on earth did you get involved in the crazy world of Second Life - and how did you choose your Name?
Jae: That's an easy one Michael. I used to Internet radio on Spreaker.com for about 4 or 5 years before I came to SL. In that time I made some amazing friends and learned a lot in the process. One of these friends said to me one day, Jay you should come to SL I think your singing would go over big there. At that time my friend was doing sound for a church he attended here in SL as he is a Musical engineer in RL and also an immense help to me not only with my radio show (Night Talk w/ Jay Sands) but in SL as well. As far as my name is concerned it is Jay Sands (my RL stage name). Quick story about how I got my stage name. A very good friend of mine early in my singing career had a band I used to follow. At that time I didn't have a stage name so he proceeded to give me one during a set I was doing with him one night. Him knowing my real name which sounded somewhat like Sand. blurted out, "From now on your name is Jay Sands, and it stuck. I will tell you my first RL name is Jon and my nick name was Jay, after Jay Black of the Jay and the Americans fame. When I got to SL Jay Sands was taken so I just changed the Y to an E. But i thought you weren't able to use a space in your name which is why it now reads Jaesands.
Michael: Do you remember your first Second Life gig - the venue and how it went ?
Jae: I do Michael. First I really need to start at the beginning . It took a while to get set up and learn a little of Sl before I got started as everyone does. I sought out a karaoke venue in SL called O karaoke lounge , which is still as big today as it ever was. I would go and just sing. Before long I met some very good singers and friends one or two I still have today. One of those friends ChelseaMarie noel, unbeknownst to me, owned a club in SL called NINAHI. An accomplished singer in her own right, Chealsea asked me if I would come sing at NiNAHI and the rest is SL history. ChelseaMarie noel still owens NINAHI and you can still catch her singing her way through SL. Thank you Chelsea. Make sure you catch this woman.
As for the show itself, I was as nervous as could be, as I am at every show, even to today. From there it was on to other places and to where I am today, a very lucky and humble singer enjoying what SL has to offer anyone, no matter who you are.
Michael: Was there anyone here who helped you, or inspired you, during those early days?
Jae: Yes Michael, I have already mentioned two people and there are two many to mention here.There is one other special person I met soon after coming to SL. I met her through my buddy Biv who brought me to second life in the first place. Her name is August. With her help and about $60.00 out of pocket she showed me what I needed to do to look like a performer in SL and not like a newbie. We worked for a few weeks to get me together. Thats when I started my journey into SL. Thank you so much August for all you did, some would say you created a monster. Lol.
Michael: Following on from that is there a gig you remember above all ?
Jae: Michael it's now been almost 9 years from that day I joined SL. If I tried to remember all those dates and places and venues and people we would be here for a long time and your readers would probably fall sleep.
Michael: You have a large repertoire of songs - Do you find yourself adapting each performance to the venue you are playing - or do you have a fixed schedule and see what requests come up?
Jae: a good question Michael. I do find myself molding the music to the venue if I can, Especially if I know the owner or owners enjoy something specific I do, such as a Sinatra set with the Sinatra standards. I don't usually have a fixed lineup of songs. I create the list as I go along. I very am vigilant of song requests, for they can surely dictate where a show can go and that is usually a very fun and interesting journey.
Michael: Is there a performer(s) in Second Life you particularly admire ?
Jae: Looks at Michael and says. Well, I won't mention any of them so's not to leave any out as I do admire them all. There are Female singers and male singers who utterly blow the roof off of the venues they play and I am proud to know mostly all of them and call them my friends. I will say this. There is untapped talent is this place we call Second Life and there is room for all.
Michael: Its clearly hard for new performers to establish themselves in the SL music scene with so many performers already on the grid - yet this is something you have clearly done. Do you have any advice to new artists on how to break through and stand out?.
Jae: I do Michael. Be yourself. Do not try to be someone your not, (because people have seen and heard all the famous ones already) unless your doing a specific show of just that performer. You can sound like someone famous, without having to try to look like them. I look nothing like Sinatra, some say I sound like him and that is enough for me. Try to get the best sound you can get from your equipment without spending more than you can afford. and this is probably the best tip I can give someone. KNOW THE SONG YOU DO BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS. If you want to sound like that particular performer do it to the best of your ability, your audience will appreciate it more. Or you can try to make the song your own. Either way do the song till your almost sick of doing it. I learned a long time ago, establish your repertoire and sing it every day if you can. It sounds silly but this is the only way you will learn your songs so that you will never forget the words and you can then learn put the feeling into the song the writer intended to be there without even thinking about it. It will show in your performance. Most of all be comfortable enough with your performance to enjoy it and have fun it is contagious.
Michael: As a performer in sl - does anything irk you ? (aside from annoying interviewers)
Jae: ( LOL ). Yes there is Michael. An unprepared performer. I have learned from the beginning that People are coming to see you and most times, whether in RL for the tickets or in Sl with tips or if your lucky enough to have the venue owners pay you, these people are paying to hear you sing, to perform. You OWE it to them to be the best you can be all the time. It doesn't always work out that way but you will find if you strive hard enough those times come few and far between and your audience will be more forgiving when it does happen.
Thank You Jae !!!
Michael: As well as your career as a successfil sl performer, you also run your own Radio Station ... could you tell us about SANDSNET Radio please?
Jae: I would love to Michael. Sandsnet Radio,( https://rcp.binocle.fm/public/sands ) a Binocleblobal station is the brain child of a couple of friends of mine from the group I mentioned earlier. It was created during my time at Spreaker .com when I was doing Talk radio, 3 hrs a night 5 nights a week with a couple of music shows thrown in (Night Tracks). The original station was called EXACT FM. They created this station to help younger listeners get into radio and learn how to be professional. They would come to me for advice on things connected to broadcasting and the like and then I was asked to come aboard about 3 years ago and since then we have gotten to a point where we have bout 10 stations we are working on and 3 on the air right now at www.TBGN.org. Sandsnet radio was created when I first stared my radio career way back when, then added it to the Boinocleglobal network lineup. Sandsnet Radio is what I like to call a MIX OF THE 50'S THROUGH THE 70'S with a little Jay Sands thrown in. We also have the ability to provide anyone streams and a station to anyone who wants one and the knowledge and support to sustain it. The Bicocleglobal server is s located in Ireland but we are in the process of adding a USA server as we speak which will allow a faster connection to the platform.
Michael: Finally, in closing, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Jae: I want to thank you Michael for this opportunity to talk to our readers and to all who support live music in Second Life and for also going to the shows and visiting the venues in which we perform. Please keep it up so that LIVE music can continue to live and breath and prosper in this Second Life we all share. Thank you all.