Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Interview With Aby Teamo-Hastings (AbyGail Hastings)

By Bixyl Shuftan

I recently interviewed Aby Teamo-Hastings (AbyGail Hastings), a singer whom makes frequent appearances in Second Life, and will be among those at the upcoming Second Life Sixteenth Birthday. She invited me to her island, Kupendwa, in the Caracas sim, "This is my home. I terraformed it to a chill out spot for all in my group." Once there,
she invited me to take a seat.

Aby told me she had been singing since long before coming to Second Life, "I sang for a living in real life from the age of 21, started singing on stage at the age of six. But at 21 my father died and I sang so to keep my family." Her singing online started in IMVU, "A man that I knew there made jewelry so I used to sing love songs and he would add them to rings or rooms. It was all for romance. He sold his products and I got a percentage of the revenue." But eventually came trouble, "The rules changed, and they stopped all songs in items in fear of copyrights."

No longer able to sing in IMVU, she headed to another place online she had heard about: Second Life, "I came here when the rules changed. I didn't know there was a music community here. ... Second life had a bad reputation in the UK for being very sexual. I came in here to experience the virtual worlds, see what places looked like. I think everyone who comes to SL has a need for it, something in their life (is) missing that Second Life can fill. Mine was I had just separated from my marriage.

Once here, "I bought an island and I rented it out. ... a small plot and put a house on it." She described her first days here as, "Scary. It was all so realistic. I could walk, fly, and yet I knew nothing about it and knew nobody here. I was unsure I would stay for the first few weeks. ... Second Life was new exciting. I learnt a lot terraforming and I loved it." Her home was in "a community type sim. I met a number of people there, so it was a great experience."

But eventually, the idea came for her to sing in this virtual world, "After I bought the private island I had a man help me to develop the sim. I was working on the terraforming and I was singing away to myself. He over heard me and asked if I wanted to sing in SL. He was running a Make-A-Wish foundation three-day festival, and asked if I would sing for it. I agreed. I did the festival and got a number of offers of jobs. But I wanted to focus on the island as I was still singing inreal life. So I did not start to sing here full time until about five years ago. I sang for two years, and then my job in real life took me out of Second Life for three years. I came back in 2017.  I have been singing since then. Now I sing everyday here."

Aby smiled, "I love it. Singing is my life. I love to create fun and smiles. I do both romantic songs and upbeat, mostly I do upbeat shows.  I love the fun that can be created." When asked how often she sings, she smiled and answered, "Everyday at the moment. I used to have a day off but now it is everyday. Ville De Coeur was the first place that gave me a spot, and now I sing for Rainbow Painters, Cafe Musique, Key West and many others." She still sings for charity events, "... when I get asked I do all charities. I find that 'Relay for Life' is the big one now here, or 'Feed a Smile.' ... Recently I sang for RFL three times at different venues, 'Feed a Smile' I have done many times too. 'Make-A-Wish' is one I have not seen in a while, but if I did I would offer a show. In real life I used to make a charity, or an old folks home, every fourth show. In SL it is not so easy to organize that way."

Aby was one of the singers at last year's Second Life Birthday celebration, "I wasn't aware of it before. So when I was told about it, I auditioned and was sooo excited to get in last year. It is a big event and I loved it. Last year I sang twice, and one of those (was) on the main stage, which was stunning." She's also appearing in this year's SL16B, "I am on Festival stage on Thursday (the) 27th at 3PM."

The land around was a pretty landscape of islands, with beautiful scenery and things to do. The audio stream was on a love songs station. Aby told of the place, "I got it and set it out so my fans could come and relax or play the games, or surf on the waves, my way of giving back to them. There is a bit of something for everyone" she smiled, "I get a lot of support from my fans, they deserve something back from me." The place is named Kupendwa, "It is my past, I was raised in South Africa, the name is Swahili for 'Oh to be loved.'"

Aby had come to the interview wearing a hat with purplish pants, bracelets, and a dark top. Asking about her clothes, she answered it was for her performance earlier in the day, "the show was an 80's show, so I dressed as if 80's. My dress changes according to the show.  I have a few sets where I sing with a dance troop. That dress is made by the lady who makes our dances and so on.

When asked about her future plans, she responded, "I think most singers in here aim to places like Key West. I am happy with all and if it carries on with the same fun. I am here long term. (smile) I wish I could get to Sansar as I would like to perform there too. Alas, I am on a Mac.  I was asked to go and sing there at Easter. Alas, I could not access it, which was sad."

Aby's final words for the interview were, "All I want is smiles and fun truly.  I know a lot of people need fun and I want to give it to them in music. It has been lovely to meet you, and hey, thank you sooo much for asking me."
It was about then we parted ways. Once again, Aby will be appearing at the SL16B on Thursday June 27 at 3PM SL time.

Bixyl Shuftan

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