My songs about Second Life were well known through out much of the virtual world community during the rush years of 2006-2008, when Second Life seemed to be everywhere and everyone and everything seemed to be coming into Second Life. The songs were such a staple of popular Second Life podcasts such SecondCast and SL Under the Radar, that in 2007 Niko was selected to be a live performer at the Second Live Community Convention in Chicago, Illinois, at which time he released an EP of songs about Second Life called Tales from the Grid. I’ve had a lot of fun experiences while being a minor celebrity in virtual world, from making the rounds of the virtual reality talk shows such as Tonite Live with Paisley Beebe and treet.tv’s Music and Arts on the Isle, to being the selected musical performer for an event celebrating the opening of a virtual version of the real world German DIY store called Plus. Niko even made a bit of virtual history with the release of his second collection of songs about Second Life, The SL Man, when his live music performance was streamed to parcels of land located on more than 400 individual sims, or Second Life regions, making it the largest musical event ever held in a virtual world to date.
In 2009 and 201o stopped doing regular performances and instead started to spend a lot of time roleplaying throughout Second Life. On a few occasions I managed to merge the worlds of roleplay and live music performance by performing in character as Mindar Bandalora, a traveling bard in the desert Gorean sims. I also had active characters in a number of other RPing sims using alternate accounts.
In 2010, I accepted a request to be one of the subjects of a doctoral dissertation research study of crafted identity inside of Second Life among virtually performing musicians entitled “Life as Art: The Interplay of Identities Among Virtually Performing Musicians in Second Life.” The study was undertaken by Dr. Deborah Wise/Flameheart Sol of the University of Colorado at Denver. In her dissertation she focused upon six popular Second Life musicians (Juel Resistance, Frogg Marlow, Jaycatt Nico, Arimo Teixeira, Louis Volare and myself) and studied, among other things, how we musically and relationally interacted with our respective audiences in Second Life. Part of her interview of me concerning my experiences performing can be found here on a short documentary. I learned a lot about Niko, myself and how the two interacted with each other by taking part in Dr. Wise’s studies.
Back to the Virtual World
I spent most of 2011 and 2012 out of Second Life, concentrating on other pursuits. I still wrote and performed music, of course, but this time in the real world rather than the virtual. Contrary to what you might think, I do in fact have a first life. Quite a busy one, actually. My job duties and life obligations kept me away from the computer for the most part until the start of 2013, at which time I was beginning to make arrangements to spend some time in a local recording studio to make a proper recording of some of my songs. While practicing the songs I stumbled upon my book of Second Life songs and spent an enjoyable evening remembering how to play them. Curious as to how things were back in the virtual world, I tried to log in and found that the viewer I was using (the program to access Second Life) was out of date. Once I was able to get in-world, I discovered that the virtual world I had known and loved was gone. It had not stood still whilst I was off doing other things. That got me wondering what life had been life for Niko Donburi. This blog tells that story.