Immersed Improvisation: Prowess Rayna by Netera Landar
Whether on stage at Rose Theater or Graine’s Café, Prowess Rayna performs with grace and classic style. Her solo piano improvisation portrays her passionate love of music, and is a part of who she is. Her classical selections are influenced by New Age, Rock, and Jazz. That same artistic expression is observed with her virtual wardrobe. Bright, flowing, and dynamic, she is also visually engaging. Her fans follow her from one virtual world to the next.
“Prowess Rayna is one of the finest concert pianists in SL. Her style of classical improvisation, a demanding form, is always leavened with a playful sense of humor, interspersed with personal anecdotes and witty commentary. Her concerts are more like being invited into her parlor than attending a show. Sinking into her warm cocoon of sound, I am always in danger of forgetting to host!” —Graine Macbain
Keeping up with Prowess, one must have wings. She has a multi-level skybox home in InWorldz. Garbed in her gypsy festival gown, she shared how her passion for music began at the age of three, when trained by her grandmother. She also began classical piano lessons. While her peers were just learning how to add and subtract, Prowess was already composing music at age seven.
By fourteen, Prowess began to perform professionally, and developed her dreamy, sensuous, passionate style. She evolved into a true musician. Her influences have been Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, T. Lavitz, Keith Emerson, Liz Story, and will admit that she got into Rock, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. But she loves Chopin.
As much as she loves tapping the piano keys, she adores the creative possibilities in virtual worlds. Prowess’ interest in computers was influenced by her father’s ever-changing network of circuits and data. Growing up with computers, she knew they would be able to capture the intricate range of music. In the future, this became true with the birth of virtual worlds.
“I knew it would happen as soon as we could get the technology together. It actually happened a little faster than I thought it would. For a time, I was working with interactive CD-ROMs and speaking to people in chatrooms. I loved talking to people all over the world.”
Her introduction to a virtual world was in the earliest form of the technology. She recalled being a butterfly in a room that lacked any element of color, light or form. Still, it was exciting. Then she lost track of that little virtual world and couldn’t remember its name. Years later, after presenting her resume to headhunters, she received a call from Linden Labs asking if she wanted a customer service position. Though she wasn’t interested in the job, had he said it was for a virtual world she would have looked into it. On Feb. 9, 2008, she finally had the opportunity to come in-world. When she did, it was difficult to find other people with common interests.
“Someone told me I needed a mentor, so I was running around asking where I could find one. Instead, someone gave me a sexy walk. I was so excited when I discovered the search button! I found a wonderful place with dragons.”
Prowess then learned about a music academy and knew that’s where she wanted to be. When she began attending concerts, she realized performances on a virtual world were possible. At the music academy she met Clarissa Schuman. Clarissa then called Kate Miranda to find out how to get “the right sound.”
“I want to do my originals. I worked in real life doing the top 40’s and everyone else’s material. I quit all that in real life and decided in this world, I would play only what and where I wanted. Music is my art and soul.”
When Prowess first performed on SL, money did not dictate her bookings. She wanted to be in control of where she played and when. Instead of performing for money, it was only for her love of music. Now, she is paid well, as she has earned the respect and appreciation of her followers and venue owners. The opportunity to perform even more is a possibility, though she is not interested in filling a calendar with performance dates.
Prowess found a place called Piano Bar, and applied for the position through a notecard. She sat down at the piano and took pictures, so excited to see that it could be done virtually.
“The owner got back to me and said she was looking for a piano player, unique and creative. So I said, ‘Here’s my music,’ and handed her a recording. She listened to it and said, ‘You’re exactly what I’ve been looking for.’ She asked if I could stream and I told her I couldn’t yet. She streamed the recordings that I gave her, and told me to sit at the piano and play. I invited people to come hear the recordings of my music. A lot of people came and said they loved it. It took me another month to get it all together and get a stream.”
Finally, Prowess was able to play her music live. Shortly after, Kate Miranda invited her to perform at Music Island. Prowess regards this as an honor.
Prowess never plays the same song or composition twice, and she doesn’t know what she is going to play when she sits down on the piano bench.
“I don’t sing in any of the virtual worlds, because I want the focus to be on the piano. There are so many singers that are really good, and I don’t want to be compared to them. There’s a special place and time for instrumental music. When music is going through my head, I hear the whole orchestra, because that’s how I was raised on classical music.”
“With her warm cocoon of sound, Prowess Rayna is one of the finest concert pianists in SL.” —Graine Macbain
For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com.