Pandemic Performances—SL Music in the Time of COVID-19

It’s hard to find a part of life that has been untouched by the global pandemic, COVID-19. While we often hear about the negative impacts of this illness, it’s rare to hear of any silver linings. Today, Lutz Music turns toward exploring how COVID-19 has affected three performers in the SL music community: Erika Ordinary, EdinSL, and Lexus Melodie. Trigger warning: good feels ahead!

Our first interview is with Erika Ordinary.

How did you start performing in Second Life? How long have you performed in Second Life?

I first discovered SL after reading about it online, and was just fascinated by the idea of a user created game where instead of a story line or a plot you have to follow, it was just an open virtual space to exist in and create whatever environment/experience you wanted.  Once I discovered there was a music scene, of course I had to try it!  My first show in SL was at the Hummingbird Cafe, July 31st 2009, with Dimi VanLudwig. I played pretty steadily for a few months and then unfortunately RL intervened and I took a very long break from SL. I came back nearly 4 years ago, and began performing again, and have continued to do so fairly steadily since then.

What is the best thing about performing in Second Life?

There are so many things I enjoy about playing music here! I love the enthusiasm and engagement and genuine love of music that so many SL music fans express. Engaging with people during shows is a little less disruptive when we’re communicating via text, rather than if they were just yelling out requests or talking over my set in RL! There is such a breadth of talented performers here, and I’ve very much enjoyed discovering them; it’s been so interesting to meet people from all over the world! It’s so much fun to perform at many different types of venues; from fantastical settings to more traditional pubs and bars styled after RL clubs. I recently performed at Burn2 which is the SL version of Burning Man, and it was an absolute blast!!! It’s also frankly wonderful to be able to come home from work, turn on my computer, and play a show without having to haul a bunch of heavy gear across town, too! Haha!

As a performer with previous experience singing before COVID-19, would you say that the pandemic has changed your performances? How about the audience?

There’s a phenomenon occurring that I believe is a big silver lining in this dark COVID cloud, and that is the boom in creativity that we are seeing in art and music especially. There’s something about facing one’s mortality that can really call the Muses to us, I suppose! After several years struggling with writer’s block, once quarantine began I wrote two new songs! I also finally got up the nerve to give my looper pedal a try; it had been sitting in a closet gathering dust for a few years, and now I am incorporating it into more and more songs during my shows. It honestly really stung to give up playing RL gigs, and I am so very grateful to still have a musical outlet here in SL. Performing online has also literally kept us fed and kept the lights on at our home; my boyfriend is in an RL performance group as well, and they lost all of these major opportunities due to COVID this year. We are all still pretty heartbroken about it, to be honest. It’s a hard time to be a creative person right now. As far as audience, I’m happy to say that there seems to be increased interest in socializing online, since it is one of the few safe ways we can do so during a pandemic, so it does seem like there are a few people coming back after a hiatus, or maybe discovering it for the first time! I’ve been inviting my RL friends for years, but only a few have joined, thus far. They tease me that I’ve been training for social distancing for years, with my SL habits!

Do you have any special shows or anything coming up that you’d like to share with readers?

Yes, thank you! There are several venues where I perform biweekly, or once a month: (I’ll list them alphabetically!) Actually Love, The Black Diamond, Bodie’s at Templemore, Bray’s Place, The Dumpster Dive, Higher Ground Music Magazine (both their Coffee Kafe and their Main Stage), Love Kats, Serenity Gardens, Sheworthy Pub, and Taka no Sakura, I also have some awesome festivals where I will be performing soon: Moonshadow Isles Eclipse Festival on September 12, at 12 noon, and also a fundraiser at 4 pm on September 25th, at the SL Renaissance Festival which is in support of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on behalf of The American Cancer Society. I’ll be at their Minstrel’s Corner stage! Oct 3rd, I’ll be performing at the Soundwave Festival at 9 pm—and on Oct 11th, I’ll be performing at The Rose Theatre Lounge, once of the most beautiful theaters in SL, at 1 pm! Whew!

I just want to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for coming over to shows and for appreciating music and supporting artists! Many of you are artists yourselves and I want to encourage you to be strong and most of all, don’t give up, and keep on creating! Y’all are beautiful. ♥

Next, we have Lexus Melodie’s thoughts on performing in SL during the pandemic.

How did you start performing in Second Life? How long have you performed in Second Life?

When I originally came to SL around 2009, it was to make clothing after reading an article in RL from Cosmopolitan. I did this and started a store called Lexus Designs and rented some small stores, one of which was at a place called Guthries’ (one of SL’s oldest venues), and suddenly I realised that live music in SL was a thing. I dusted off my guitar (previously only used for Oasis songs in my youth) and started to try to learn a set of songs. At first, I could only play about 10 songs so I had to talk a lot. The first show was at a venue called The Paradise Saloon.  

What is the best thing about performing in Second Life?

Performing in SL pushes me. It pushes me creatively, it pushes me to practice and try new things—to attempt to keep things fresh, which can be difficult when playing 10+ shows a week. In fact, without SL, I doubt I would have ever started to write songs. The musicians here push and challenge me too, we have access to a wealth of experience and talent here and I just soak up my favourite performers like a sponge.

As a performer with previous experience singing before COVID, would you say that the pandemic has changed your performances? How about the audience?

In all honesty, during COVID we have seen a return of some of our much-loved friends and performers who had wandered off along the way on their own journeys. It has been wonderful to see them get creative again and showcase it to us all and of course fun to catch up with old friends. SL music, as a whole, I think has been a huge help to both the performers and the listeners during this pandemic. SLers are used to isolating, but on their own terms, so it has been great to have this support network to stop us all going crazy at home.

Do you have any special shows or anything coming up that you’d like to share with readers?

Catch me this week for some special shows. Tuesday  12pm @ Lakeside Pavillion,  Friday 12pm @ Club Opium & Saturday 10am @ The Eclipse Festival

We also got another chance to catch up with EdinSL on how COVID has affected SL music.

This period of transition and creativity that is being experienced as a result of COVID-19 bears powerful symbology to the meaning behind the Eclipse Music Festival. Eclipses upset the day to day of our life but that upset is temporary, lending to long lasting change that sets us on the path to achieve our dreams.

LutzMusic thanks these extraordinary performers for taking time out of their schedule to share how the pandemic has inspired creativity. Both Erika and Lexus are performers that you can catch at the Eclipse Music Festival this weekend!

Written by Sól Mercury