You know Vonda Shepard as a star of screen (TV’s Ally McBeal) and stage (the recent New York revival of Randy Newman’s Faust). Now the singer/songwriter is set to conquer yet another milieu: your living room. Welcome to Vonda Shepard's 14th Album Kickstarter!
Vonda Shepard is back with her eleventh studio album (and fourteenth overall), tentatively dubbed Rookie. It’s a title that bears no little irony, since this year marks 25 years since the release of her self-titled Warner Bros. debut. Being of independent ways and means now, Shepard doesn’t necessarily have to raise a fortune to make a record that’ll sound like a million bucks, thanks to the ongoing participation of producer/maestro Mitchell Froom (of collaborative Elvis Costello, Crowded House, and Bonnie Raitt fame), who’s been behind the boards for all of her albums since By 7:30 in 1999.
The songs have been written and are rarin’ to go. The soon-to-be-recorded album promises a mixture of moods and tempos, with perhaps slightly more emphasis on the upbeat than some past efforts. “Half of the songs I’ve written are these super-funky, dancey tunes,” Shepard says. “I felt a need to go crazy, a little bit, on this album. I’m making sure I’ve got a few songs that really focus on that element—the soulful groove, not as a cliché, but in my own way. And there are even a couple of really catchy, fun, pure pop songs in the lineup, and I’m excited about them, because they’re going to be great to play live.” But the woman who wrote and sang “Baby, Don’t You Break My Heart Slow” is never about to leave every eye in the house dry. “I’ve heard that Paul Simon fills four legal pads with lyrics for one song alone,” she says. “I may not fill four, but when I’m writing an extremely honest, painful ballad, of which there are a few on this album, I do fill up about two!”
The likely title track from the coming album, “Rookie,” is a song about… not being a rookie. “It’s actually the opposite of what the title suggests,” Shepard says. “It’s about a person who’s been around the block… around all the blocks! The chorus says ‘I’m not a rookie,’ and it really conveys this feeling that I’m a ‘bad-ass’ who’s going to throw it down.”
Vonda's team has thought long and hard about coming up with rewards her fans will love. At lower levels, incentives include signed photos, songbooks, and copies of her back catalogue. Shepard will also be offering some of the gold and platinum albums she picked up from around the world for her Ally McBeal soundtracks. (“I never put them up, but somebody might like to have them,” she says, “and I’d rather give them away and raise the money needed to make a record.”) At the highest levels of support, she’ll record a one-of-a-kind birthday or anniversary serenade for you and yours, or come up with a studio recording of the cover song of your choice, or bring a trio along to perform a house concert!
At $35,000, Vonda's new album is able to be recorded with her band, and subsequently mixed, mastered, and manufactured. However, should she surpass the initial goal, here are some great project bonuses to consider!
$40,000: Added instrumental color: horns, pedal steel, extra guitars, keyboards, guest musicians, etc.
$45,000: A live string section on the album!
$48,000: A beautifully detailed, full-color album booklet with lyrics and album art will be added to the CD manufacturing process.
$55,000: Music video shoot and production for one of the new singles.
$70,000: Multiple bonus tracks will be included on CD, plus all of the above.
Promotional photo credit: Susan Weiniger
Risks and challenges
Because Vonda's team has full access to their own recording studio, they, along with everyone involved in the project, are confident that the project's timeline will stay on schedule. Although life sometimes brings along unexpected setbacks, we've added enough time at the end of the project to accommodate any surprises along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)