Soaring to New Heights
Only a select few come to mind when you mention top tier entertainment in Second Life, but Jazz and Blues singer Jackie Lefko happens to be one of those performers in this category. A 2014 AVI Awards nominee, Jackie has developed a large and loyal following from all corners of the grid. Her live shows are not only critically praised they are a hot ticket item.
Recently, I got the chance to sit down with Jackie, early before one of her packed shows, and get her thoughts on several topics, and some of them might surprise you.
NVM: Hi Jackie and thank you for sitting down with us for this interview
JL: Thank you, Filipa. I am a big fan of Nu Vibez Magazine and am honored to be featured in your upcoming issue.
NVM: Being that you also work in the genre of Blues as well as Jazz, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask your thoughts on the Legacy of B.B. King and his recent passing on May 14th this year?
JL: B.B. King left an amazing legacy and so greatly influenced all types of music. When I heard of his death, two thoughts came to mind. The first thought was when my daughter and I met him while shooting the made-for-TV movie “Shake Rattle and Roll.” He was making a cameo appearance in a nightclub scene and we were extras in the movie. It was so fun. He was very personable. My second thought was to do a show in honor of his legacy. I had two gigs coming up and I ended up doing an “All Blues Tribute to B.B. King” live show at Ballroom Persona, a Japan-based SL club, and at Frank’s Elite Jazz Club, one of the most popular international venues on SL. I believe all who attended were happy to share in the celebration of B.B. Kings life because his music impacted all music lovers around the world.
NVM: I think many will agree with all of that Jackie, I know I do. Now for those that might not know your story can you please tell us how you got started singing and how that evolved into the SL success story you are now?
JL: I come from a very musical family and have been singing almost all my life. But, ironically, no one in my family pursued music as a full time profession. I started playing piano and singing in church before I went to kindergarten. I performed with a few local bands and groups in high school but my primary focus was on the arts. My childhood dream was to be a fashion designer and I did study fashion, but primarily I made my living working in the graphics and visual arts industry. So, you are probably wondering how I found my way back to singing. Volunteer work as a costume designer for a small theatre group in NYC led me to the stage that led me back to singing. It was a fluke. Some actor did not show up and I sat in to read the part. Then, they wanted me to sing a song. Well, I was cast in the part and the show was such a success that I was consistently cast from one show to the next – acting and singing. I started taking voice lessons and have performed at nightclubs, theatrical productions and more. I was introduced to SL while working on a Masters degree and learned of the opportunity to sing live here. Under the mentorship of SL singer Maxx Sabertooth, I finally got set up to sing and started going to open mics. I have now been singing in SL for about 3 years.
NVM: What do you think needs to happen to see the SL live music scene go to the next level?
JL: I believe the SL live music scene has evolved tremendously. There are new singers coming into SL more frequently. And, this September will be 3 years since I started SL’s Got Talent where singers have been able to introduce themselves to the SL live music scene. I think the key to the success of the SL live music scene is the venues that feature live musicians. The continued commitment of venue owners to host live music and patrons to support those endeavors financially will keep it going. Fortunately, most live music patrons know how blessed they are to be able to be exposed to this level of talent in the comfort of their own home for a minimal cost. From a musical perspective, the best live artists here have a true passion for their craft and you can hear it in the performances.
NVM: What did it feel like to be nominated to th AVI Awards?
JL: It was an honor to be nominated. It lets you know that your efforts are appreciated and encourages you to continue to evolve your craft. That is how I see it.
NVM: What is it like, juggling being a club and venue performer with owning a club that showcases other live performers?
JL: Owning a venue and singing is a great balance for me. I love scouting for and featuring live musicians as well as having my own venue to perform. Both bring me great joy! The key to successfully juggling both is keeping a calendar. LOL
NVM: If we were to listen to your personal music play-list, what are some of the artists and songs we would discover you listen to for entertainment during your off times?
JL: Great question. When driving, I listen to FUNK. Then, I love bands – Gap Band, Kook & the Gang, EWF, Dave Matthews Band, Prince, etc. Then, I like to search for new jazz and blues artists to keep up with new and different stylings. That allows me to keep up with my chosen genres.
NVM: Now not too long ago you made a business move that may have surprised people that thought of you as just an artist and not a savvy business woman as well. Tell us about launching XtreamlyU Stream Rentals.
JL: Parker Static, an amazing SL singer, and I launched the stream business earlier this year. I actually call her the brains of the operation but we both bring our own areas of expertise. We did not know anything about it and it has been a learning process. But, owning a stream store made sense for us as SL singers. Our clients are other SL singers and DJs. From a business perspective, residual income is always good.
NVM: What advice do you have for others that would like to do what you are doing with their singing career?
JL: Invest in the equipment, practice your craft, plan your shows, do open mics to get your name out there and go hear other singers to get a feel of the live music scene. Also, join some of the live musician groups.
NVM: What’s next for Jackie Lefko?
JL: Well, I am interested in Internet Radio, which makes sense since I now own a stream business. I am in research mode now for that project.
NVM: Now, finally if someone wants to book you what’s the best way for them to go about it?
JL: Those interested in booking me can first of all, listen to my demo on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jackielefko Then, they can contact me directly or my manager, lyrique.forsythe in world or via email: onyxmayrose @ gmail . com?
NVM: Jackie thank you this time and interview.
JL: Thank you so much for the invitation.