In real life Tony Slade is a seasoned performer from California, whom by his own admission has worn holes in countless pairs of shoes from years of being a lead singer in several bands and performing up and down the coast of southern California.
He has also had success internationally with performances in both Japan and Germany.
As a relatively new artist in SL Tony has amassed quite a loyal following and Toggle For Music is pleased to showcase him as the first of our monthly featured performers.
I caught up with Tony during a break in his busy schedule, and he was more than happy to sit down with me for a chat about himself and the live music scene in SL.
Harlow: What made you decide to perform in SL and how did you get started?
Tony: Well, I can definitely say that Covid-19 is directly responsible for the decision. I am also a nightclub singer in RL, and the last time that I had performed was a Christmas event in December 2019. So after sitting around the house due to the lock down, and craving to sing, I logged into SL for the first time in more than 2 years, and started exploring the live industry. I had thought about performing before my two-year hiatus from SL, and even reached out to Samm Qendra (she probably doesn't remember) and she was gracious enough go give me a notecard with full details of what I would need to get started. That was very helpful in sending me in the right direction, so THANKS SAMM! Once I had the equipment I needed, I just started going around to venues I like and begging to be allowed an opportunity. I also credit Ashley Steele (Saddles owner) who helped me with promoting myself, and DownUnder (a great performer) for helping me get my sound together and letting me ride his coattail by doing impromptu performances at some of his gigs. My debut performance was at Ciera's Gin & Juice (thank you Ciera!) on May 8, 2020, and I keep it in my profile picks so that I can remember that date. I was very nervous but got through it ok because of the support of the audience. After that, I was hooked and still am!
Harlow: You have quite a following and there are many familiar faces at your shows time and time again. What does having that continual support mean to you?
Tony: It means the world to me and is the reason I continue to perform in SL and give my best every time I hit the stage. The SL audience is very loyal and show me so much love and it makes me look forward to singing every time I have a show.
Harlow: As you were growing up who were your musical influences, or still are and do you have a preferred genre?
Tony: Growing up I listened to a pretty much all genres, and although R&B and jazz are my favorites, there are particular songs I love to sing that cover them all, with the exception of heavy metal.
Harlow: You have an extensive song list. Is there ever a time someone requests a song that you haven’t sung in a while and you go…damn hope I get this right?
Tony: When I have free time, I usually practice new songs and I go over songs that are rarely requested. I have a pretty good memory, and rarely have a problem remembering a song even if I haven't sung it in a long time.
Harlow: At your shows you are playing to an audience of people that are all over the world, yet in the same room. Is that a surreal feeling?
Tony: I wouldn't say it's surreal, because of the times in which we live and since I have been in the SL community for almost 14 years, I'm used to interacting with people from all over the world. I will say that I am lucky to have the chance to perform to people from all over the world though.
Harlow: Recently you were In a stage production of The Wiz (Wizard of Oz), which I must say was fabulous. What was that experience like and would you do it again?
Tony: I am proud and honored to be a part of the The Wiz cast in SL. To begin with, the show is well produced. The creator Scorpio Aeon, and the choreographer Mahogany worked tirelessly to make sure that everything was well planned. And then the coming together of some of the best performers in SL to give stellar performances made the presentation very special. We will probably perform The Wiz a few more times, but I am also looking forward to taking on other similar projects in the future.
Harlow: Michael and I created Toggle For Music to showcase performers and hopefully get more people interested in different artists and music. What is your opinion of the live music scene in SL and do you have a fave artist?
Tony: Live music is alive and well in SL. To be truthful, I didn't know much about the live entertainment in SL until I started performing in May of 2020. Before that I had only been to a couple of mediocre live performances and wasn't impressed. However, I have discovered a lot of very talented singers and musicians since I started singing, and I spend a lot of my SL time going to hear other performers do their thing. I don't have a favorite, but I do enjoy quite a few performers here. And I respect all who come here and get on stage to make the SL masses smile.
Harlow: What advice would you give to someone just starting out or wanting to get in live music in SL?
Tony: Don't take SL live music lovers for granted because they expect you to put your heart into what you're doing, just like they do in RL. So, if you're going to do it, put your all into it, and they will love you.
Thank you, Tony Slade, for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving us a glimpse into the man behind the performer. Also thank you for being such a great supporter of Toggle For Music and SL live music in general.
You can catch Tony at various venues around the grid and can find links to his calendar and SoundCloud in his profile.