Welcome to the FFXIV Community Spotlight column! This column runs parallel with the Echoes of Eorzea series of articles and aims to highlight and show appreciation to members of our community who go that extra mile to create content for us to enjoy, usually in their own time and for free.
This week we will be talking to the beautiful and talented singer and songwriter, Sharm, who has been creating content on YouTube since 2007 and to date has over 71K subscribers.
Sharm found her passion for music at the age of 13 and began her singing career in her bedroom, creating her own radio stations and singing along to the songs. Throughout her entire adolescence, she developed her talent by being part of the school choir and participated in musicals and plays. Her passion for music was so great that she even petitioned the head of her school to allow pupils to take their music qualifications in their free time, as the school did not offer the subject. She later obtained a Grade 1 in her Piano studies and started learning both the drums and guitar. All of her music is created start to finish, by her own hand, using a mix of instruments, vocals, and technology.
On average, Sharm spends about 3 hours a day to keep up with emails, messages and social media. Alongside this, she records ideas and writes down new lyrics. In her spare time, she not only plays a multitude of games but enjoys being in the countryside and spending time with her beloved and beautiful dog, Maggie.
How long have you played FFXIV and why did you begin?
I played FFXIV way back for a few months and I was utterly addicted. However, for financial reasons, I decided to stop playing but I always had the itch to play! I picked it back up again last year and absolutely adored every second of being able to play it. I’m a huge MMORPG fan and I really love trying out all the different games out there. I’ve played nearly every MMORPG going, but only FFXIV, WoW & GW2 have held a really big spot in my heart.
What made you choose this race/job?
The Highlander Hyur’s are BADASS! I think they look so cool, plus being in my 30’s, I feel more comfortable rolling with a class that kinda looks like my age. Now, I know I’m not alone here when I say I LOVE HEALING!!! It’s my go-to specialty in every game. I’m just not happy when I’m playing DPS…and my tanking is a raid/party breaker. All of the healing classes are varied and super pretty to play, using animations that I fondly remember from the old Final Fantasies.
What aspect of the game do you enjoy the most?
Probably leveling. I mean, I just love it. I love the grind and the feeling of growing more powerful and oh, let’s not forget when you finally get a sweet change of clothing to rock around in. The outfits in FFXIV are pretty stunning – skimpy – but stunning.
What aspect of the game do you enjoy the least?
Being such a massive completionist that I forced myself to level a lot of jobs that I detested. Like tanks. I’m apologizing now to anyone who may have partied with me whilst I was tanking. I’m so, so sorry. I hope there’s no permanent damage.
What was your inspiration for creating your first FFXIV related content?
Oh, video games are my wellspring for inspiration, my lifestream, my flame! I think my first FFXIV piece was a guide on how to get your own little Chocobo mount in the form of song, haha! I tell you, when you’re running around in these huge cities and vast lands, there are so many little gems of inspiration just waiting to be found!
Is FFXIV your main source of creativity, or do you do content creation for other games (or other things entirely) as well?
World Of Warcraft has always been my “main” and so, pretty much my entire YouTube channel is smothered in WoW related things – mostly parodies and gameplay. But it’s always fun to change it up and when I enjoy what I’m playing, more often than not, a song will soon emerge from it.
How long have you been producing content (including more specifically FFXIV)?
I guess when it comes specifically to FFXIV, I’ve only been doing it for perhaps 2 years or so? But as a generic blanket to cover all of my content, it has been almost 10 years!
Which creation of yours are you most proud of?
Well, this is tough! I will pluck something from my Final Fantasy playlist here. Let’s see, I feel that my covers of “Dragonsong” and “Answers” I am most proud of. However, recently I collaborated with a wonderful lady called Alison and we produced a lovely cover of “Eyes On Me” in which Alison absolutely nailed the violin solo!
When you have difficult days, what drives you to keep producing content?
I always remind myself that time fixes most things. Sadness, difficult decision making, lack of inspiration or motivation. I never let the feeling of pressure get to me when I’m really not feeling something because I know that tomorrow, I might just feel it! My love for singing and creating content never lessens, just some days my voice wants to work with me and other days it’s a little *mumbles into hand*.
When it comes to preparing your work, what processes do you go through?
So, from the start of creating a parody, I’ll work on the lyrics – nice and relaxing, ah! Next, I’ll do the recording. So important to be in the right frame of mind at this point and have high energy so if I’m not feeling it, I’ll wait until the next day. Next, I’ll listen to it several times and make sure the mix is juuuuust right.
Then, I go on to make the video, usually using plenty of video game footage. I really enjoy this part, making sure that the video blooms in time with the vocals. And then? Then I agonize over the spelling of every single word in the lyrics as I add them to the video. I check, double check, triple check until sometimes even the word “it” looks wrong. But I am a bit of an elitist when it comes to correct spelling and grammar so I do like to make sure everything is just so.
What programs or tools are used to create your work?
Programs wise, I use Mixcraft and Vegas Movie Studio. Tools is a little more in-depth. My microphone is a SHURE SM27, I use a UX2 Line 6 audio interface which my microphone plugs in to along with my UMX610 midi keyboard for when I want to dabble in composing (which isn’t often! I’m terrible at it).
What advice and tips would you give to someone hoping to produce content in your field?
Oh please, please do it because it brings you happiness first. If it’s making you happy, your happiness will spill into it and filter into all of us who get to enjoy it with you. If you do it to become popular and number watch then you won’t grow an audience who will be passionate about your work – just like you.
Sharm’s entry for the Heavensward EU Music Contest, for which she received an honorable mention.
What aspirations do you have for your FFXIV work?
My aspirations are pretty much the same for all of my work. I just want to do as best a job I can and hope that it brings moments of enjoyment for my listeners.
How well do you feel your work has been received by the community?
Oh by the FFXIV community? Wonderfully! Everyone has been very encouraging in their comments and I think once, someone even linked one of my covers to Susan Calloway!
I know I’m not a hugely active member of the FFXIV community right now, but I do absolutely adore the game, and when I’m in a position to maintain more game subscriptions I cannot wait to come back!
On a personal note, I’d like to thank Sharm for taking part in the Community Spotlight column! She’s not only hugely musically gifted but she is the most down to earth, friendly and kind-hearted person who cares deeply about her work, and always makes time for her fans and friends. Not only does she produce a wide variety of gaming related music but she also composes original songs, publishes a weekly vlog and Q&A sessions. If you’ve enjoyed her music here, then be sure to pay her YouTube channel a visit! Her genuine passion and enthusiasm shine through in all her work. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Sharm is a true inspiration and role model for anyone wishing to explore this particular area of the content creation industry.