Meet Jackie Tury, the designer of my album cover and one of several artists creating illustrations for the album companion booklet that also includes the lyrics to each song. Jackie is a childhood friend and fellow dreamer. Her passion includes combining her art and clinical skills to help others ignite their own dreams! Thanks for the personal note below, Jackie.
Last night I finished the final episode of the Netflix series, ‘13 Reasons Why’ and sat stunned. Speechless. Haunted. Heavy. Regardless of your opinion of the show - whether you think it glorifies suicide and is dangerous for teens to watch or should be applauded for its jolting reminder of the destructive power of bullying and sexism or both, it’s real. I know its real because I’ve had five - count them - five - people in my life commit suicide and a brother die from an unintentional overdose – so that’s six. Six people. Read More…
If you would’ve told me at age 25 that I would be launching my career as a professional songwriter at age 50 – I would’ve most likely made a flippant, sarcastic comment like, “Uh, yeh, if I can launch it from my grave, maybe.” Fast-forward 25 years (like, blink your eyes, fast-forward) and here I am. I launched a Kickstarter campaign on my 50th birthday to fund my first solo album and it hit the $8,000 goal in 3 days! Now I’ve set a stretch goal to reach $16,000 by April 29, 2017 and I’ll be able to create two albums. It’s crazy awesome and I’m super thankful it’s not from my grave. (Btw, if you haven’t seen my Kickstarter yet, you can view it here.)
I do have a confession to make, though. Getting to this place hasn’t been easy. I worked for close to a decade in a job that was truly sucking every ounce of energy I had in me – out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly thankful for everything I learned while in that position, but there were days when I seriously didn’t know if I was going to ‘make it’ and I mean that literally. I was completely exhausted with no passion or zeal and although I walked into my six hours of meetings a day with a smile on my face, I felt dead inside. Corporate America had swallowed me whole and I was stuck somewhere deep in its bowels. I cried the day my company laid off my entire team and kept me. Oh, the irony.
A little over two years ago on Christmas Eve, my mom’s 77 year old sister (my aunt) got up, went outside, walked down the front steps, picked up her newspaper, turned to go back up the stairs and fell. The result? A broken ankle, a deep gash over her eye, and the end of life as she’d known it for 45 years.
That moment of that day also ended life as her husband, my mom, and I had known it. My aunt and 78-year-old uncle, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, could no longer live independently in their home. They lived in a split-level house that was hard on my aunt’s knees even before she fell and the daily demands of caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s were becoming way too much for her to bear alone. They had no children and their closest friends were dealing with dementia and other challenges of their own. The two of them were alone and close to 1,000 miles from family.
So what is Kickstarter, anyway?
Kickstarter is a “crowdfunding” website for new businesses, musicians, artists, and anyone with a great idea to help get funding for their startup. The person seeking funding pitches their idea to the public. The public contributes by pledging to buy the service or product after the campaign ends.
This has given the power back to singer-songwriters like April K. For decades, it was up to record labels, music publishers, and managers to build an artist’s career, but in today’s world, it’s all about the artist building their own fanbase. In yesterday’s world, major artists ended up in debt for most of their careers… but with April’s crowdfunding campaign, she’s able to release her first album debt-free, and offer rewards to her contributors that go far beyond what any record label would provide (such as co-writing on a song, which was unheard of before crowdfunding became popular!).
If you search around Kickstarter, you’ll see a lot of other business ideas launching there… restaurants and food trucks are a popular campaign, since they can fund their opening without going into debt with a bank. And video game designers are using crowdfunding to launch new games, covering their development costs and marketing.
I once read a book called, ‘The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea’ by Bob Burg and John David Mann and I can truly say I’ve never been the same since. The first sentence of the Amazon description is 'Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving... then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.'
Since reading this book, I’ve worked diligently to be a ‘Go-Giver’ and I’ve never been more incredibly grateful for having been exposed to this concept than I am today! Not only have I experienced the gift of helping others, I’ve actually just experienced the bliss of being a recipient of a big group of Go-Givers! After only 75 hours of launching my first Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell my first solo album at 50 years old, my $8,000 campaign is officially 100% funded! Done. Just like that! And it’s all because of Go-Givers.
Now the fun really starts. With 17 days left of the campaign and having met the goal so early, we’re now entering what’s called a stretch goal. A stretch goal gives people who haven’t had the chance to contribute to the project the opportunity to participate in the creative process, and it provides me with both additional funding to create more music and keep the momentum going. Momentum is key for exposure and exposure is key for a songwriter (especially a 50 year old, unknown one) to make a living in the music industry. The more people who hear my music, the better chance of having one of my songs placed in TV, film and/or with other artists to perform. So, sharing and math are the game. On average, out of 100 people who are exposed to my campaign via social media sharing, I’ll get a handful who will click through to check it out. Out of that handful, I’ll typically get 1 who will contribute (if I’m lucky). So, you can see how the math works out… on average, it will take 100,000 people viewing my campaign to get 1000 people contributing to it. I would love to shatter some Kickstarter records for an unknown 50-year-old music artist releasing her first album, so sharing is the key!
Thank you for being one of my Go-Givers! I truly appreciate you and your contribution, whether it’s financial or sharing or both … and I’ll be happy to return the favor. Giving is what makes the world go around!