Last month at an “industry” party, I overheard some bro' say that songwriters really lose it after 40 because they can no longer write impactful, relevant, creative songs. I interrupted his conversation and told that young brat that he was an idiot. My goal in life ever since has been to prove him wrong. He is my new nemesis.
I truly believe that my new songs are some of the best I’ve ever written.
Will you help me destroy My Nemesis?
This will be my first record of all-new original songs in, gosh, nine years. It took a little (well, slightly longer than little…) break from recording, but now I’m back with a creative vengeance!
“Nostalgia Kills” is an album of short-story songs: an autobiographical look-back, an acknowledgment of the present, and a reminder that we all have to keep moving on. There are sad songs here, but even they have a dash of hope and humor and a hint of redemption and forgiveness.
A couple of the songs were written for a one-woman show that I’m working on called “#Fuck7thGrade”. Everyone's worst year ever.
I’ve enlisted some of my amazing musician friends, including Wayne Kramer, John Doe, and Roger Manning. The wonderful Ben Lee is producing.
Who I Am
I’m a songwriter, storyteller, musician, performer, activist. And over the last – Geezus! -- 25 years, I’ve put out nine records, written three musicals, scored for television, and traveled the world playing clubs, theaters, TED and EG conferences, political rallies, and maximum security prisons.
My first record, released on MCA in 1990, was produced by the legendary Todd Rundgren. Joe Jackson worked on my next record but the label dropped me before it was released. (I’m still looking for those tapes…)
In 1995, after signing with Atlantic Records, I had my first brush with fame. My song "I Kissed a Girl” (the original!) was the first Billboard top 20 hit ever to celebrate a same-sex romance, in spite of being blacklisted by numerous radio stations throughout the Bible Belt. To this day, not a day goes by without someone, somewhere emailing or approaching me to say how much of an impact that song had in their life. In all humility, that makes me proud.
That same album also included the song “Supermodel,” which played during the iconic bathtub scene in the movie “Clueless.”
Since then, I've released four critically acclaimed records: “Happy Town,” “Pink Pearl,” “Underdog Victorious,” and “California Years.” The latter was one of the very first crowd-funded records. In 2015, I released “Dottie’s Charms,” a literary concept record, which was launched by Harper’s Magazine and featured co-writes with some of America's finest authors, including Luc Sante, Jonathan Letham, and Rick Moody.
I’ve toured with some of my heroes, including Billy Bragg, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Weller, X, Joe Jackson, Tom Morello, and Warren Zevon. For bragging rights, I have to add that I was once onstage with Paul McCartney, James Brown, Brian Wilson, Neil Diamond and, Carole King, singing Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City.” (I’ll never forget James Taylor nudging me to say, “Can you believe who we are up here with?")
What have I been up to lately? A lot.
I’ve been writing for musical theater: I wrote all the songs for a new musical version of the 1970s play,”Yentl” (before the Babs movie). We’ve had runs in several U.S. theaters and plan to take the show to Poland in 2018. I co-wrote the music for “Times Square” (an adaptation of the 1980 cult movie of the same name) with my longtime writing partner, Robin Eaton; NYU will be presenting it this January.
I’ve also been very active in political and social causes, playing prisons with Wayne Kramer's Jail Guitar Doors, performing at fundraisers and campaigns (for the better candidates); I played dates this last Summer on Lady Parts Justice's "Vagical Mystery Tour". My song about the history of anti-immigration sentiment, “When They Say We Want Our America Back, What The F#*k Do They Mean?”, made a splash during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
I recently curated "Monster Protest Jams, Vol. I," a compilation of mostly original protest songs by some wonderful artists including Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, and Boots Reilly.
Now comes the New York Times endorsement of me, from pop critic Jon Pareles:
“Jill Sobule can claim her place among the stellar New York singer-songwriters of the last decade. Topical, funny and more than a little poignant…grown-up music for an adolescent age.”
The Last Time I Did This… I inspired Kickstarter with my Jill's Next Record fundraiser!
In 2008, a friend and I, over a bottle of wine, came up with the idea of a website which had a tiered system of gifts and services in return for various levels of donation. The press got wind of our idea (I was on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, etc.) and the campaign became a complete success -- I was able to record my record “California Years” with producer Don Was and some amazing musicians.
Since then, I’ve been scared to repeat the process for a lot of reasons, including the fact that everybody is doing these kinds of campaigns now, and we’re all inundated with zillions of inbox requests.
So why should you give to my Kickstarter?
To prove my nemesis wrong and show him that artists over the age of 40 can still kick ass. To finance the making of this new record and fund its release and promotion.
The music business has changed dramatically. In the old days, we artists and musicians could make a living putting out records. Now, unless you are the 0.001 percent lucky enough to sell billions of CDs, most musicians rely on touring, house concerts, and platforms like Kickstarter in order to keep the music flowing.
I plan on spending $40,000 to make the record. That includes studio time, paying my musicians and my producer what they're worth, mixing, and mastering. In addition, I have budgeted an additional $30,000 for marketing expenses (publicity, radio promotion, advertising, travel, tour support, etc.). I intend to spend the year on the road. I'm gonna give it all I have!
Risks and challenges
I have so far written and recorded 10 songs for this project. I know I will come up with one or two additional (and even better) songs before mastering.
My hope is that all of you (the backers) will feel proud to have made this next record possible. And of course, that I will get to meet each and every one of you when I play these songs live in a club, theater, or your living room in the very near future.
xo, JillLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)