It was back in January of 2010 when I first interviewed NANCE Brody. Since then I’ve made it a point to get out to see her live show in Second Life whenever I can. She’s been playing the top rooms on the highly-competitive SL circuit for several years now and, like with many solid working artists, I had seen steady growth over that time. But this was different.
I had recently stopped by a gig and – as always – I was looking forward to her set. What I observed this time was a dramatic leap forward in both her sound and her writing, two areas where I had already admired NANCE’S craft. What I heard made me decide – right then and there – to write a new piece about her, and to use this two-pronged quantum growth as the central theme of the article.
To begin with, her live sound has progressed in leaps and bounds. NANCE has always been a very talented guitarist with a great live sound and now that guitar sits right out front in the mix with those killer vocals beside it. It’s obvious that she’s tweaked her live sound and I decided to ask her about it.
Traci Nubalo: What guitar are you using in SL these days?
NANCE Brody: I’m using the same one I have used all along – my trusty 12-string Takamine. It’s an EN-12C model with built-in electronics. It plays well and sounds good.
TN: Yes, it does sound awesome.
NB: I don’t use a guitar pic so it has a different sound and my tuning is like a regular tuning. Some players tune a 12-string with six of the strings an octave higher but I do not do that. The Takamine also has an electric input that goes into my sound board.
TN: Directly in? Any efx in between?
NB: Yes, I run it directly into my mixer, which is an X1222USB Behringer. My fans bought for me because mine died and I couldn’t afford a new one at the time.
TN: Which vocal mic do you prefer?
NB: A Shure SM58.
TN: The old standby.
NB: Yep. The best mic for live shows; very reliable.
TN: What effects do you use for your amazing vocals?
NB: That, my sweet woman, is a secret of my trade. *grin*
NANCE Brody has one of the most powerful, expressive sets of vocal pipes that I’ve heard in SL – male or female. She’s blessed with plenty of potential volume, great control when singing softly, and a rare ability to toss in any number of inflections for even more tonal coloration and expression. And now those vocals sound even more incredible than ever (despite her unwillingness to share why). *wink*
She has also long been a master at writing songs that are perfectly-suited for her voice and for her emotional temperament. There’s been a clear progression in her writing ability which parallels her tweaked-up sound. NANCE has long been SL’s reigning queen of the “naughty song”. A song title such as “Naked With You” says it all. And don’t misunderstand me; some of her pieces lean toward sexy and somewhat suggestive. But they are also always clever, fun and extremely-well written.
Of late, however, a new type of original has begun to appear in her stage act: songs that hit deeper levels of meaning than before. One that I particularly love is called “Sea of Pink and Blue”, in which she frankly discusses the fact that as a child she never fit into the traditional categorization scheme of “girl” or “boy”.
NB: I love to write about things that move me; I honestly don’t write to suit others. “Sea of Pink and Blue” seems to hit a lot of people. Everything in this world revolves around being either a male or a female. Being born in a pink and blue world is tough for gay kids and I was a gay kid. It’s a very healing song for some. It tells them “hey you’re not alone and it’s okay to be you.”
TN: The message is a critical one; and it represents an entirely deeper level of songwriting craft for you.
NB: I wrote that one for myself and it affirms me to keep moving forward even though I sometimes feel that I am the only rainbow ball on the sea of pink and blue.
This is a woman to be listened to and respected. Hers is a path that few have ever tread, and she doesn’t mind sharing her ups and downs with the world through writing and performing. “A lot of my growing has been because I have been healing all those hurts that keep my spirit from flying free,” she told me. “And as I heal the hurts, the spirit gets more and more able to fly.”
One of her most recent projects has been to engage the laborious process of recording her back catalog and newer material onto mp3’s and to offer them for sale in SL. She told me she has five new albums completely transferred “and probably up to five more to go.” NANCE has also thrown her considerable creative energies into a very cool SL live music connection space called LIVE Gig Alley, which has been going strong for more than a year now.
I closed my discussion with the great NANCE Brody by asking her about her loyal group of fans – the ones who love her so much that when a critical piece of her stage gear blows up they pitch in to buy her a new one.
“I love my fans; they have no idea how much they mean to me. It’s very hard to tell them exactly how much they mean to me. If I had the time I would get hold of each one of them and give them each a hug and a personal ‘thank you’ for supporting me. And I’d ask them to keep doing that – it makes me smile. And I’d tell them to get off their butts and buy my albums now.”
I concur. Swing by LIVE Gig Alley and catch NANCE Brody’s show. And pick up any of her now-available albums and see for yourself what the musical fuss is all about.
NANCE Brody can be reached on her website:
You can contact Traci Nubalo inworld, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or via her award-winning blogsite Traci Nubalo ~ The Word: