There are three things you should know first:
1. I believe in stories. Stories remind us of who we are, where we’ve been, and who we want, or not want, to be.
2. I believe in songs. Songs allow us to tell stories with more than words, to communicate as much with melody, harmony and rhythm as we do with lyrics.
3. I believe in family. Family is the first mirror we hold to our own faces, the first lens through which we understand life and the world around us. Family offers us a history of ourselves that is bigger than the story of our own lives, that connects us to those who lived before us.
This new album of original songs is the ultimate trifecta of these beliefs. I have lived with these songs for a long time. The deeper they have taken me into my own family stories, the more I have wondered: How does understanding the lives of our ancestors help us understand our own lives?
In many ways, this project began the day I was born. Like most of us, I was given a name: Avery Dohrmann Hill. Each of those names has a story, but my middle name has always fascinated me the most.
When she was born in 1895, my great-grandmother was given a name, too: Meta Katharina Dohrmann. The video I’ve included mentions that, as a young woman, she had a dream that stayed with her her whole life. In 1922, that dream helped her make a choice that would affect many lives to come: she said no to a marriage proposal, and left her home Germany to immigrate to the United States.
I’m a total sucker for these kinds of stories. I love those moments in time when everything seems to hinge on one human choice. It is also powerful to think about how this one choice made possible the entire lives of her descendants. And it is humbling to consider how knowing that story helped me a significant choice of my own.
That last part - how the stories we know and tell about our families can affect the choices we make - that is what has inspired me to bring this project to the public.
How does understanding the lives of our ancestors help us make sense of the lives we are living right now? When we learn about the choices they made, how does that affect the choices we make for ourselves and our families today?
These are very general questions - and yet, very very personal. Even those who belong to the same family will answer differently. Our family experiences and the meaning of our ancestors’ stories are so individual to each of us. And yet again, any way we do explore these questions, we are all using stories to do so.
Don’t get me wrong - family stories can get messy. They are not always pleasant to talk about, and can bring up a variety of emotions. But if we don’t talk about them, even just with ourselves, what do we risk? How can we have healthy conversations about the people we come from, and how they have shaped the people we are? I wrote these songs to remember my family. I sing them so that listeners can remember theirs, and consider the stories of their own journeys.
If these are ideas and questions that resonate with you...
If you want to invite them into your life, even just a little bit...
If you support independently produced art projects...
If you enjoy listening to songs that are substantive and thought-provoking...
If you believe in the power of stories, of songs, and of family...
Or maybe you doubt one of them, or two, or all...
Your support of this project is so important. Please consider contributing.
Recording a full-length album of music involves a lot of important steps: I have recorded my voice and instrument in the studio, and am now inviting other musicians to add their voices and instruments to different songs.
After everything is recorded, the sound engineer and I will work together on the mixing process, making sure the sounds on each song are balanced for quality listening. Then comes the mastering, which balances the sound of the songs with each other, and prepares them for different formats. Once the songs are all ready to go, it’s time to replicate the CDs, including a case with liner notes and photographs.
All this has to happen before these songs really start their journey. Separate from the recording process, there are photo and video shoots, artistic coaching, publicity consulting, and a whole campaign that comes after this one to get these songs in the hands of reviewers, the press, and new fans.
In addition to these expenses, I have included fees that go to Kickstarter for hosting this campaign and to Amazon for processing payments, as well as production and shipping expenses for the extra items included as thank you’s for your support.
If you’re still reading at this point, perhaps you have more questions. I am happy to answer them from my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A FINAL NOTE
Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, you make meaningful art possible. What is a painting without the person who sees it, or the song without the person who hears it? There are a lot of artists out there doing important work. Thank you so much for the time and attention you've given to consider supporting this project.
Risks and challenges
I have already learned that the biggest risk with a music project like this is TIME.
Things always take longer than we like and than we expect. But that's part of the process of getting it right. I didn't want to start this campaign until I had a better sense of when it would be finished, but the exact finish date is never set until the CD is in my hands.
That said, as soon as it *is* in my hands, it won't take long to get it into yours.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)