Spirit Of The Outback
This month we feature another sensational Aussie venue Spirit Of The Outback and its amazing owner Silverlight Gypsyheart.
As well as running SOTO, Silver is a very accomplished and popular performer in her own right, and is much loved for her generosity in donating her time and talent to so mant worthy causes in Second Life.
Although recovering from surgery, Silver managed to do an amazi9ng set recently for the wonderful TAO Halloween event!
I managed to grab some of her time as she was finishi8ng off the sensational Halloween area at SOTO....
Michael : Hi Silver - thank you soo much for taking time out to do this interview with Toggle For Music..
I hope you are well om the way to recovery now from your recent surgery.. Now please get yourself nice and comfy while I grill you !
Silver: Hahaha grill me, you make me sound like a lamb chop Michael.
Michael : First up -Could you tell me something about your background and how you got involved in the crazy world of Second Life?
Silver: First of all Michael thank you so much for choosing ~*SPIRIT OF THE OUTBACK*~ as venue of the month for October, Halloween month and yes we have a very cool Halloween venue up in the sky ready to Rockkkkkktober.
Music has always been an integral part of my life Michael... I am from a family of North Country English and Irish singers on my Dad's side of the family some of whom mixed with vocal royalty on a regular basis. From a tiny tot I remember my Dad singing to me every night, we lived remote so our main form of entertainment in outback Australia was the radio. By the age of eight years old I would follow my Dad around the house singing along with him as he practiced his part of the Handel's Messiah Chorus. I truly loved to sing and joined every school choir I could. As a teen I joined a folk group that rocked out the Sunday Mass each week at my local Church, we as a group also entered many competitions in Melbourne and surrounds, we usually came first or second in comps with our local priest carting us all over the state of Victoria.
Michael believe it or not it was my youngest son who first showed me this crazy world of SL... not because he was a member but because the Manager of his band at the time was an SLer and was going to organize for the band to perform a gig in world because they were the total flavour of the month RL in their home city and Melbourne where they were winning every Battle of the Bands they entered. They had a huge fan base and she was looking to extend it. I mentioned SL to a long time friend of mine from France, he checked the place out and deemed it could be fun he is responsible for me being here and for my name.
Michael : In your early SL days did you plan - or even envisage - owning a successful music venue ?
Silver: OMG No... hell I struggled to get my fingernails to add to my hands or my feet to lose that white shaper bit...but like anything with time you live, you learn... I had made good friends who help me out and still do to this day... Without my sister Karli and Chloe I'd probably still be that pink polka dotted girl next door hahaha.
My sister Karli took me to my first ever live music gig in SL... It was early 2015 and I was hooked. The first singer I heard actually went on and asked me to be their Manager in 2016. I did this from the Feb - October, got thrown in the deep end so learned a lot pretty quickly. Best way really makes you hit the ground running and keeps you on your toes.
Michael : So how did it happen?
Silver: While managing a singer, one of the team of dancers asked me to build him a venue and source him some live singers as I had got to know quite a lot by this stage...this was late 2016...I did get the approval of the person I was managing so as not to rattle any cages ( you know how that can go). Approval was given so; I built an Aussie themed venue for this guy and brought in 11 singers for him... I did all the planning and work for the two nights of live performance and built a pretty good reputation.
The owner closed the club within 10 weeks due to being overwhelmed by squabbling djs. I was asked to rebuild the a similar venue on one of the djs land...He became rather underhanded, lets just leave it at that, so it was clearly time to go out and build a venue of my own. I had the skills so I asked a friend to come co - own with me but who has since left.
Michael : So here you are now - tell me all about Spirit Of The Outback please.
Silver: Yes Michael now heading for five years since the birth of ~*SPIRIT OF THE OUTBACK*~ aka SOTO ... SOTO is a venue where we welcome everyone from all walks of life... It's a venue full of great singers, banter and fun. Fun is mandatory :) I have a great team of Aussie hosties: Val, Lakey and sometimes Chloe who are my absolute rocks. SOTO is a live music venue only, running 2 events each week... Friday and Sunday AM... times depend on day light saving... With Summer coming up and our time in Aus moving forward and hour while the Northern Hemisphere moves back an hour, we may start earlier again... but for now its 3am - 7am Friday and 2am - 9am Sunday. Some of my artists have been with me at SOTO for years and have become family and dear friends. Beautiful Remy Farman has been with me from the very start he was one of the first eleven. SOTO has given quite a few artists their very first gig in SL... but all my artists love to come and sing at SOTO and their fans always pass on wonderful comments about the atmosphere and love the appearance of the club... SOTO is my SL baby :) SOTO is family.
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?
Silver: Tough question Michael... I don't think there are as many people supporting live music in SL as there use to be...the numbers have waned all round...it's not about who is popular or who is not...it's about actual numbers online, for instance during the AM time slot ( Aus night time) that I run SOTO there is often only 29k - 32,000k people online even less some (nights) and as you know not everyone of those people comes to live music shows so when you have new venues popping up here and there it "thins the herd" in each venue...When I started SOTO Friday nights (AM SLT) were dead, thats why I chose that night and I along with one other 24/7 venue were the only ones running through to the later AM times, now there is about 6 at the same time. So let's say venue wise there are numbers, singers there are numbers but enough patrons to go around, not as healthy as it was. I have heard lots of performers comment on how low numbers are now at venues across the grid.
To improve this hmm might not win me brownie points but perhaps if Northern Hemisphere venue owners left the AM times for the Southern Hemisphere Venue owners and vice versa... GO TO BED...lol
Michael : Any High points and low points along the way ?
Silver: OOO well Michael I think business always has highs and lows but nothing I would consider a major low that has affected the continuance of SOTO... Highs are much more fun to dwell on... Highs like Jed Luckless choosing SOTO to hold one of of his 2 hour on tour shows... Jed has been to SOTO three times and has spoken of another up coming...It's more of an experience than a show.
ML also did his amazing Pink FLoyd show for SOTO with his full The Wall stage and props...that was mind blowing... SOTO held a 17hr non stop event in aid of the Australian Bush Fire Victims that was very heartfelt with so many of us living in the affected States on fire. I always design a beautiful Halloween and Christmas venue in the sky each year and thats always fun for everyone. We also try to recognize occasions eg: Mothers Day, Father's Day, birthdays etc. SL is such a visual place so the more colour and props are a must in my view.
Michael : Conversely what would you say irks you the most ? (aside from annoying interviewers)
Silver: Gee Michael you really are putting me under the pump...To be brutally honest what irks me as a venue owner is: People on their outdated computer whinging about lag in local chat... I never quite understand why these people think their dinosaur is going to keep up with the ever advancing graphics and that its ok to shout out about it and blame the venue. If they can't afford to update thats fine but its not ok to blame others and make a scene it disrupts the harmony in the venue.
Another IRK is what I call the greedy performer or greedy venue that advertise the hour long show but allow the performer to sing on for hours holding audience that may venture out to support other performers at following times. I think it's poor etiquette and inconsiderate. We need to be considerate when there are so many venues now vying for patrons at the same time.
Michael : Is there a performer(s) in Second Life you particularly admire ?
Silver: Oh yes, I admire quite a few actually, some whom only sing at the O lounge for fun, even more so than those who sing live shows. Some examples: Storm Sveiss, he has the most stunning endearing voice, lilting and smooth with a gorgeous Northern Irish accent to die for, I could listen to Storm all day... Paris Minton is a vocal dream, so modest yet so talented... Wrecker has a voice like no other, Stuckelgnom well what can you say about Stucke...just hear him if you can and be blown away by real talent, yet these men, seldom or never sing shows...
For me it's about the person a whole not just the vocal output. There is one singer I admire for many more reasons than just his voice. This man has been loyal to me as a venue owner and promoter and friend for over 5 years now, and not only that he got me started singing in SL with a lot of love support and encouragement for some time before I actually sang a live show... I doubt I ever would have sung if not for his constant encouragement and approval and continued support to this very day... While such a beautiful singer himself he is a very humble and modest person with a big kind heart, my beautiful and best friend Remy Farman, he is who I admire most. .
Michael : If you could tell your noob Silver anything, what would it be?
Silver: "Just you wait and see Silverlight GypsyHeart, you will be astounded."
Michael : Finally, in closing, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Silver: OOO Michael I think I've said quite a lot already. I would however like to thank you Michael and your team at Toggle For Music along with all the live music promoters in SL for the hard work and dedication in promoting and trying to boost the Live Music Scene again, there is so much talent coming into SL ... With Covid encroaching on RL many are bringing their talent here as they are unable to perform RL due to lockdowns etc ... so I say to everyone, get out there bring your friends, talk to noobs let them know about the live music industry we have here in SL... I think we as the live music community are the ones who need to take responsibility and re introduce the hype not just leave it to the likes of you and your awesome team and teams like you.