AMforte Clarity performs regularly in Second Life. Her shows always draw a large audience, and the venues fill up quickly. Her singer/songwriter skills are apparent in her original work, which seams flawlesslessly with her choice of cover material. Her acoustic, strum-driven style, backed by her wide range of vocal technique always inspires the crowd. Her songs range from the heart wrenching to the sublime, working from one emotion to the next with the true intention of a seasoned writer. She approaches the guitar with a simple-but-effective mentality. Drawing from progressive rock influences, she carries the torch between the experimental to the mainstream. Sometimes punk rock, sometimes sweet as sin, her songs display a sensitivity of someone who has felt the sting of life, yet has derived enough beauty to compel her to share her experiences. AMforte Clarity may be a tormented angel on an out of control planet, but one thing is certain: Her drive to create, and her ability to press forward in the midst of great turmoil, ensures her success within the music community for some time to come.I had the good fortune to sit with AMforte Clarity, winner of Ministry of Motion's Musician of the Year award for 2009. She prefers to go barefoot in Second Life, and we first met in her simple, yet elegant, living room. Her music is full of passion, and her fan base is very loyal and supportive. You can visit Amforte online at http://www.amforte.com and http://www.myspace.com/amforte .
When did you discover your passion for music, and what was your first instrument of choice?
How has Second Life been helpful for your music performance?
When i was young, my mother use to sing, so I picked up sing- It helps with stage fright. It helps getting my music out there, gathering fans/friends, ing from her. As I got older, i wanted to creI’M ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR A meeting other musicians, it's great. I think ate music. I took piano lessons at a young age, until my pre-teens, then stopped. In my BAND. I WANT TO GO ON TOUR when you play here, it's about the music and early 20's, I picked up the guitar one day and BUT I JUST CAN’T FIND PEOPLE not what you look like. It doesnt' matter, people come to hear the music, which is cool. To decided to stick with it since I used to write WHO ARE WILLING TO JOIN ME. be honest, I don't think I'm all that and a bag poems. I learned how to put the two togethof chips. Actually, i have pretty low self eser. teem. I'm my own worst critic.
What goals do you wish to accomplish with your music?
What about the business side of music in SL?
I like keeping the relationship between venue and I really just decided to pursue a music career when I was around 20-21 years old. I'm actually looking for a band. I performer on a professional business level. So many want to go on tour but I just can't find people who are willing people assist me, but my main assistant Lingual to join me. I decided to go all out when I almost died back in Markus is a tremendous help. I don't have the best 2007 of a massive pulmonary embolism. organizational skills, so it's best to After that happened I was like dude, from I HAVE OVER 300 IDEAS OF have others take that role. And Second now on I refuse to take a job that I hate. I SONGS …. I HAVE THEM ALL Lifehelps supplement my income, since would rather die happy then die unhappy RECORDED … ONLY FIVE ARE I don't work while I'm in school. I enwith a job I hate, going nowhere. And music PROFESSIONNALLY RECORDED joy it though. It's definitely put my mureally is my passion, so doing what I love is awesome
What kind of work were you doing? Just the odd jobs. I was a store manager for a furniture company, or a secretary.
Once you decided to pursue that direction, what were your challenges? Well, learning how to walk again of course but once I put that behind me, I kept writing songs. Trying to set up a tour, but mainly collaborating with some people and of course trying to find "the" band. I have over 300 ideas of songs, only five are professionally recorded. I mean, when I say ideas, I have them all recorded. When I stream into Second Life, I use a guitar, a mixer, a microphone, and a computer.
sic out to places it might not have reached otherwise. What are your favorite foods? Do you like the color pink? My favorite foods are Thai food/sushi/Indian. I love pink and I wear it. And finally, what's that stuff with the french fries, cheese, and gravy? Oh, poutine, love it!
The minute you teleport into OD Designs, you're immersed in Ortho Vargas's fantasy music world. With over 1000 unique products, ranging from acoustic guitars to fully programmable stage lights, OD features one of the best selection and highest quality out of any music store in Second Life. Vargas and his crew are deeply committed to offering the best customer service anywhere on the grid. Between building long-standing relationships with his return customers, letting them have input on his ever-evolving line of products, and innovating new ways to stay in touch with a customer base that is active, energetic, and all over the map, when Vargas describes his business as a family, it certainly rings true. OD Designs started out with Ortho getting into Second Life and building himself his first guitar. At the jazz clubs he frequented at the time, friends asked him where he'd gotten it, he told them he built it himself. Immediately, they asked him if they could buy one from him, and OD Designs was born. In addition to designing and building all the guitars in OD's line, Vargas also does all the scripting for OD's collection of music animations, for both guitarists and singers. I tried one out at the store, and was impressed with the fluid movement and natural, relaxed look as I played along to the store's streaming radio. One of the unique aspects of OD's offerings are their fully licensed gear from companies like B.C. Rich, Dean, and Washburn. When his business started growing, Vargas developed an OD-branded line of instruments, but also wanted to offer instruments that were virtual versions of real-life guitars. Of course, worried about copyright infringement issues in Second Life, he thought it would be great if he could partner with real life music companies to create authentic pieces. Vargas used the connections he had in real life from the music industry to get in touch with design and marketing people at these instrument manufacturers. Now, representatives from the companies review and okay his branded designs. The list is growing, and Vargas says he's currently trying to get more companies on board with his project. Vargas also wants to explore customization. Since many of his design decisions are driven by by clients' requests for new features or new colors, patterns, and designs, Vargas has recently rolled out a custom shop allowing customers to place and size stickers on their instruments, with more custom features coming soon. In addition, the programmable stage lights are something he's very proud of -- he likes to think of his job as giving Second Life musicians and venues all the tools they need to succeed, and see where they go with them. Sometimes, he said, customers come back to him and show him something cool they did with his products that he never would have guessed anybody would have done. But business isn't all making instruments and scripts. In addition to the family of seven full-time staff, as well as some part-timers and additional temporary help, OD has a family of musicians who play at OD's three live music venues. They offer a database of musicians and bands looking to work with others in Second Life, as well as a rewards point system for purchases made at their store. For Vargas, running a retail store is only part of the job -- building a community is also an important part. Vargas was proud to add that Team OD raised L$250k in one day for Relay for Life, a fundraiser that they've been doing regularly -- offering sales on goods, and pledging the proceeds to Relay. They've been doing fundraisers for Relay for some time now, and the next Relay fundraiser is a great time to stock up on OD instruments and animations. Vargas's attitude about business is that success is about paying your tier and having fun doing it. He and his team clearly seem to enjoy their jobs, helping their customers and each other, as well as the broader community. It's exciting to see that a successful Second Life music business is also in the business of helping others, from the musicians they call customers and family, to the broader community by giving to Relay for Life. See more about OD Designs, as well as browse their store, at http://www.odmusic.info/.