Share this project


Share this project

An album dedicated to my mother's video poster

An album dedicated to my mother. A tribute to her life, and to all lives lost too soon. Read more

San Francisco, CA Pop
Share this project
pledged of $10,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on February 28, 2011.

An album dedicated to my mother. A tribute to her life, and to all lives lost too soon.

San Francisco, CA Pop
Share this project

About this project

We made it! We've reached our goal of $10,000! I, and everyone involved with this project, are so excited to have the opportunity to make this album as we envisioned it, and so thankful to all of you who donated. Thank you. Your generosity and support has been truly amazing. And it only took 11 days! Wow.
We still have 30 days left until the campaign is officially over, so if you haven't had a chance to donate yet, you still have time to do so! If we continue to exceed our funding we will be able to do more things that we'd really love to do, such as: book an extra day in the studio, record another song (making it a 7-song EP), hire an arranger for several songs, and compensate the musicians involved more fairly.
As an added incentive, I am adding a new reward. If you pledge $15 or more you will also receive a "Sonya Cotton" patch, which I will design and print myself.
Thank you again!

I would like to record an album of six songs dedicated to my mother, Karen Imparato Cotton.

My mother passed away a year and a half ago, and since that time it has felt important to me to find meaningful ways to pay tribute to her life, and to keep her memory and her spirit alive. It has also felt important for me to find outlets for the pain of missing her, as well as the thankfulness in having known her. Writing and singing these songs has been cathartic for me. I feel it's time now to share them. Throughout my life, I have often found great solace in the music others have written. I hope that these songs provide some measure of solace for those of you who are experiencing loss of some kind in your own lives.

The content of these songs confront not only the personal relationship I had with my mom, and my feelings of loss surrounding her death, but it also confronts other, perhaps more universal themes of loss: the loss of sanctuary or safe space, the loss of wild animal life, the loss of wild habitat. My mother was herself a passionate advocate for animals and the environment; over the years she worked with many organizations, including IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), New York City Audubon Society, and most recently ABC (American Bird Conservancy) as their Bird Collisions Campaign Manager. I hope this album serves to encourage reflection on some of these issues that both my mother and I felt and feel so passionately about.

My plan is to record this album live at Hyde Street Studio C in San Francisco, with engineer Scott McDowell (who engineered and mixed my last album, Red River.) The unity, the energy, and the immediacy that can be captured when an album is recorded with everyone together in the same room is remarkable to me. It is a unity that I believe would serve this collection of songs, which I hope will represent a very specific and emotionally honest space.

The funding I am asking for will allow me to rent the studio space, hire the engineer, compensate all of the twelve musicians involved*, mix and master and press the album.** It will also allow me to go on a 3-4 week tour of the east coast in May with two band mates, performing and sharing the album in intimate spaces such as churches, homes, art spaces, and folk venues, and traveling by train and bus as much as possible.

Please donate what you can, and don't forget to check out all of the special rewards you will receive in exchange for your donations.

Thanks so much for reading.

*Some examples of the amazing musicians involved:
Gabe Dominguez (SHAKE YOUR PEACE!) - voice, flute and drum
Nick Stargu - classical guitar
Kelly McFarling - voice
Jeremy Harris (Ever Isles, Kacey Johansing) - bass
Anton Patzner (Judgement Day) - violin

**For the sake of not wasting plastic, my plan for "pressing" the album is to release a cardboard sleeve with full artwork and lyrics, and a download code. I would like to work with Stumptown Printers, a collectively owned print shop based in Portland, OR, that is dedicated to sustainable practices such as using recycled paper and soy/vegetable based inks.

The jazz standards that I am offering to record as part of the $250 reward include (you choose one):
Body and Soul
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Basin Street Blues
Do Nothin' 'til You Hear From Me
The More I See You
Don't Fence Me In
Too Young
Come Rain Or Come Shine
Love Is Here To Stay
I'm Beginning To See The Light
There Will Never Be Another You
These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)

The tentative list of towns that I plan to visit on the east coast tour include (I'm also excited and open to hearing your suggestions, as long as your town is accessible by public transportation!):
Washington, DC
Philadelphia, PA
Princeton, NJ
New York, NY
New Haven, CT
Poughkeepsie, NY
Cold Spring, NY
Providence, RI
Boston, MA
Burlington, VT
Concord, NH
Portland, ME

Video shot by Aubrey Trinniman and Blake Henderson. Edited by Scott McDowell and Sonya Cotton.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    6 backers

    An exclusive digital download of an unreleased original song, "A Good Time", recorded at Hyde Street Studio C, and your name listed on my website in the "thank you donors!" list.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    30 backers

    All of the above plus a digital download of the upcoming album.

  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    54 backers

    All of the above plus a copy of the upcoming album (including envelope with original artwork, lyrics, and download code,) and a personalized thank you note.

  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    0 backers

    *NEW* In addition to the other rewards of the $15 pledge, if you pledge $15 or more, you will now also receive a "Sonya Cotton" patch which I will design and print myself.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    35 backers

    The rewards from the $5 pledge plus a copy of the upcoming album and a copy of Red River (my last album.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    27 backers

    The rewards from the $5 pledge plus, a signed copy of the upcoming album, a signed copy of Red River, a copy of Out Of the Ocean (my album from 2006), and a copy of an original Sonya Cotton drawing.

  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    5 backers

    All of the above plus a hand-picked collection of songs and poems that have influenced and inspired me and my work.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    12 backers

    All of the above plus two hours of my time dedicated to a charity I am involved with (singing for patients at UCSF Medical Center or caring for dogs at Family Dog Rescue -- you choose!)

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    4 backers

    All of the above plus a jazz standard recorded for you (please choose a song from the list at the bottom of the "About This Project" section,) a limited edition Sonya Cotton T-Shirt, and your name in the liner notes!

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    All of the above plus a visit to your home*, where we will play a house concert for you and your friends. We'll also bring a homemade vegan dessert for you to enjoy. (*This is if you live in the Bay Area, or in one of the towns on the east coast that we'll be coming through on tour in May --see our tentative list in the "About This Project" section. If not, then this concert will be broadcast live over video-chat to you in your home, and we'll send you the vegan dessert through the mail!)

  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    0 backers

    All of the above plus a performance of a song you choose* delivered in the form of a a singing telegram to someone you love (if you live in the bay area this will be live, in-person, and if not then this will be live over video-chat.) *This can be an original Sonya Cotton song, or a song from Tiny Home's repertoire (Tiny Home is my other band, with Gabe Dominguez.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    All of the above except when we come to your house for the house concert we will cook you dinner in your kitchen (you provide the ingredients, we'll cook and clean up,) and all of your guests will receive a copy of the new album. You can also select the songs for our set-list if you'd like!

Funding period

- (45 days)