Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 4, 2013.

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Vari-Colored Songs is an album of songs written to Langston Hughes' poetry, Haitian folk songs and original compositions.

Hello Everybody! 

I am so so so so thankful to everybody that has shown me love and support throughout this kickstarter campaign. I am almost at the $17,500 mark! 

This is going to allow me a lot more wiggle room in the studio, to not rush, to be able to work very hard and make something very beautiful and to afford to do things that I would have worried about spending money on. 

Just a few short weeks before I head into the studio. I'm in Haiti with my family and I'm using this time to reflect and prepare for recording. Time is flying! 

Thanks for your continued support and for making this all possible. It's so beautiful to watch this grow! 

In gratitude and love, 

Leyla  

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Hello! 

Thanks to you all, in just one week I have met my kickstarter goal! These funds ensure that all of the base production costs of this album will be covered! What a relief! But also a great honor to be able to hire and work with all of the amazing people involved in making this album!!!

As I look further into how to get the music out to the world, I realize that promotional costs are potentially exponential. Seems there are two routes to getting your music out there beyond your immediate community (social networks, friends and family). One route is to hire a publicist, which costs at minimum about $2500 a month (eeeeeeeeek!). The second route is a bit more ninja style: order an extra however many copies of your album to give to radio stations and other media outlets so that people that have never heard of you, know about you.

For this reason, I am setting a stretch goal of $10,000. This will enable me to press an extra 1000 copies of my album to send to various media outlets that will help me promote this record.

Kickstarter itself has been an amazing promotional tool and I love that people that who did not know of me before are preordering the album and excited about the music!

Thanks for your help in keeping the word out there and for supporting this project! Once the kickstarter campaign is done, I will be collecting all of your info to mail you your rewards!

Also, this is the LAST LONG EMAIL that I'll be sending out, so thanks for taking the time to read this!

LOVE,

Leyla 

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Hey Everybody!! 

I would be honored if you would be a part of the success of my first solo record! 

What began several years ago as an inspired idea to set a Langston Hughes poem to music, has since flowered into a very personal exploration of African-American and Haitian history through song. Vari-Colored Songs is an album that has been waiting at least 5 years to be made! The moment is ripe and the momentum is strong!!! 

Lucky for all of us, there is a small break in my touring schedule with the legendary Carolina Chocolate Drops, that will enable me to physically be in one place for a bit and focus on creating a gorgeous record to share with all of you beautiful people!!

The bulk of the recording will happen this January, 2013 at Joseph "Joe Bass" DeJarnette's Studio 808A in Floyd, Virginia. I've chosen to work with Joe because I know that he will be able to capture the nostalgic feeling of my songs while maintaining the authentic sound of my instruments and my voice. 

Aside from my playing and my voice, some of the musicians who will be featured on the album include the incredible Rhiannon Giddens on vocals, lady killer Hubby Jenkins on bones, the frighteningly talented Don Vappie on tenor banjo, and master drummer Damas "Fan Fan" Louis (featured in the video above) on percussion. Seriously heavy hitters!! 

I was honored to receive an Artist Advancement grant for $3,000 from the Louisiana State Arts Council to cover the actual cost of recording. Still, there are several other costs associated with this record. 

They are: 

  • paying musicians
  • studio time for overdubbing
  • mixing
  • mastering
  • photography
  • packaging
  • design
  • travel expenses

My $5,000 goal will enable me to cover these expenses. If I'm able to exceed my goal, all the surplus funds will go towards promoting this record so that as many people as possible get a copy in their hands! 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Though I've made recordings of these songs in the past, it's taken years of singing and growing with this music to really understand what this particular record even needs to be.

Without proper funding, things might not come together quite the way I am planning for. That said, I am scheduling the release of the album for the fall of 2013 so that there's time to recover from any setbacks that may arise.

I truly feel that with your support, I'll be able to make a really reallly beautiful and special record.

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