In 2014, I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda, East Africa to work and perform with some amazing people from there. I continued on to Japan (Hiroshima) and other countries, as well as Pine Ridge Reservation in the Black Hills. Songs were born from these experiences connecting with and bearing witness to our human condition, our joy and resilience. These songs are in praise of friendship and love in the most unexpected places, of unsung heroes, of perseverance, of water and stars.
It's always a victory when songs are brought to life, especially by masterful musicians/friends in deep collaboration. My hope is that Thousand Miles will serve as a friend to the listener and be part of the great map of Art that reveals time and time again how short the distance from one another truly is.
"I could run a thousand miles from here but I would get nowhere / I've got to stay right here / Illuminate my own atmosphere / Luminous energy field, slow it down / Hear that sacred sound / In the midst of the mixed-up going 'round" (lyric from title track "Thousand Miles")
One of the new songs for this album, "Stars", was inspired by some of what I witnessed while in Rwanda. I was there for the 20th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi. I sat in circle with survivors and perpetrators, and one day a mother gave a testimonial of how she and her newborn daughter had survived. Her daughter, now 22, was sitting with us and wearing earphones. I figured she was listening to the translation. As we were leaving, the daughter came to me and whispered, "Can you help me? What are stars? What is the meaning of this word?"
After I answered, she smiled bright as the sun then enthusiastically stuck her earphones in my ears and asked, "What else is he saying?" It was Bruno Mars singing "Just the Way You Are". In it he sings, "Her eyes, they make the stars look like they're not shining" . . . She had lived her mother's testimonial, she didn't need to hear it again so she turned to music. I learned two things in that moment: life continues even through impossible pain, and that music heals.
Another song on this album,"Baldwin's Wing", is inspired by James Baldwin's essay, "The Creative Process". In it he teaches, "The conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty. He is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place."
Out of 37 songs, I have selected 13 to focus on for this recording.
I am going in a slightly new direction with a jazz quartet as my foundation.
Progress so far: I have workshopped these songs live and made demo recordings at Grand Street Recording.
OUR MINIMUM GOAL IS $38,000
If I reach my goal, I will be able to record the songs with the quartet, add additional instrumentation and vocals, and then mix and master the album. If I surpass my goal, I will also be able to promote this album.
Stretch Goal #1 - $58,000: This goal will provide support to produce marketing materials such as a photo shoot and music video(s), as well as hire a publicist to facilitate interviews for magazines, radio, and television to promote the album.
Stretch Goal #2 - $108,000: This goal provides additional support for touring to promote the album through live shows.
HOW YOUR MONEY WILL HELP:
Your money will be used for:
- recording studio time & costs
- musicians fees
- musical arrangers fees
- purchasing tape & hard drives for this project
- packaging (includes design and manufacturing)
- tour support
Risks and challenges
Thank you for reading this far! This will be my sixth album. I have recorded with major labels as well as independently, and have learned the importance of strategy and having a competent and creative team that I know and trust. Investing in each other's creative endeavors is the new paradigm. We are interdependent and have a say in what we want to see and hear brought into our world. Your financial support and presence is vital and appreciated.
As an Artist there are always risks involved in being vulnerable, but that is precisely our job. To stay open and receptive, to reflect and document our human experiences. We need each other more than ever and I need to share this music, so I'm asking from my heart for your contribution, large or small.
Thank you for believing in music & thank you for your support through the years.
With Love & Gratitude,
*Special Thanks to Ticking Clock Productions for interview video, Sharon Blynn, La-fy and Peter Cunningham for generous use of photographs*Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)