My name is Amber Darland. I am an indie-folk singer+songwriter+musician from Bellingham, WA. For over a decade, I have been performing regionally and nationally as Amber Darland and as part of a duo, The Sweet Goodbyes. This will be my 4th studio album and perhaps my most important work yet. While I've always been comfortable wearing my heart on my sleeve in my writing and performance - I never anticipated the emotional complexities - the healing and the magic - of recording songs that demanded nothing less than laying my wide open heart out on the table.
What am I doing?
I am making my first full-length SPIRITUAL album! Yes, you heard that right - a Spiritual Album. Ever since I can remember, I've been a seeker and a peacemaker. I have always felt deeply connected to nature and an infinite creative energy that seemed to be flowing around me and through me. When faced with adversity in my life, I've simply had this knowing that all would be well, and was unfolding just as it should. Even when I didn't seem to fit into a spiritual community, I found my own way of connecting with that thing - that voice - a divine something, more vast than I could imagine. Whatever you might call it - God, Spirit, Nature...Love. This thing that so many of us crave in order to find meaning and faith when we feel hopeless is the very thing that connects us all. As I've grown older, I have craved a deeper connection with this Love even more and it is no surprise that this message has been showing up in the songs that I write. I don't believe that you have to belong to any particular spiritual community to find these songs useful and inspiring. The music really is for anyone who craves positivity and grounding in their life. Songs like "We Are Sacred", were birthed out of necessity to stay focused on the Light when the future of my own children feels so fragile.
"We Are Sacred" by Amber Darland (w/Lisa Harmon and the Bellingham CSL Music Team.)
I've been writing prolifically on this message of Oneness, Love and Presence for the last couple years and feel extremely blessed to belong to a spiritual home where I am encouraged to create and share these songs. I have so much new material that I decided it was time to release 13 of my favorite songs onto a new album. As the music director at the Bellingham, WA Center for Spiritual Living, I get to sing many of these songs with our congregation on a regular basis. Here is what a couple folks had to say about this project:
Thanks to a few generous donors, I have already completed a huge portion of the recording for this album. I've been working with the amazingly talented Michael Connolly at Empty Sea Studios in Shoreline, WA and am so thrilled about the work that we are doing! While my studio work is coming to an end, now comes the hard part....actually FINISHING the project and getting an album out into the world!
So, I'm launching this Kickstarter Campaign knowing that there are so many of you who love to support independent musicians and this message of Love. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs or your faith tradition, I am certain that these songs will bring joy, peace and comfort to those who listen. This album is made to uplift spirits and put a smile on your face.
Putting out an album is not for the faint of heart. I'm not 20 years old anymore and the juggling of time and money is real. I am a self-employed musician and teacher, a student (yes, I'm currently working on a masters degree!), a wife, and a mom of two amazing humans. My family, my bank account, and my reduced cortisol levels are forever thankful for your support!
If all goes as planned and I meet my minimum Kickstarter goal, I will be releasing this album in July 2019!
Here is another taste of the music...this song, "There's a Calling" is the title track for the album:
What am I asking for?
THE MINIMUM GOAL: $7500 – Sharing the Music with the masses
I am so blessed to have had several early donors who helped fund a good portion of the initial recording costs for this album. This was a huge help to get the project off the ground while I crowd fund for the remaining costs of recording, mixing, mastering and CD production. The bare minimum I’ll need to raise in order to finish what I started - and to get this music out into the world (and into your hands) is approximately $7500. I know that with your help and the magic of social media - this goal will be met in just 29 days! Kickstarter is all or nothing, so if after 29 days I fall short of this goal, your cards won’t be charged and I won’t get any of the funding. So, I NEED YOU...your friends and family...your co-workers, your teachers, your ministers, your grandma, most importantly - your credit card :) Let’s make this happen! Please help me share this music and campaign FAR and WIDE!
It takes a lot of thought and anticipation to figure out how much money is needed to finish this project. Here is a breakdown of my anticipated costs:
***Studio Recording Time: $80 per hour or $500 per day --- PAID in FULL!!! ----
Through some generous donations, a fundraising concert and presales of the album, the remaining recording costs for this project were recently paid in full!!!
To finish up recording: $0 - YAY!!!
***Professional studio musicians: ~ $500
I've hired some amazing studio musicians to help sweeten up these recordings. Seriously, this is the good stuff and worth every penny.
***Mixing: $80 per hour
Once all the tracks to our songs are recorded - guitars, vocals, solo instrumentation, etc….Michael Connolly at Empty Sea Studios will be mixing down the songs to make sure they sound their best. This process can take nearly as long (and even longer) as recording each song. We anticipate needing close to 4 hours of mixing time per song to finish up this part of the process.
4 hours x 13 songs = 52 hours mixing time to get final mixes of our songs.
Mixing cost: 52 hours x $80/hr = $4160
Once all the songs are mixed - we will need to ensure that the final audio data is up to par - volume levels and overall sound is sweet. Costs are typically a flat rate for the album and $500 is the average cost.
***Album Art/Graphic Design Costs: ~$450
Not only is this album going to sound amazing - the physical CD is going to be a beautiful work of ART too! I am elated to be collaborating with local Bellingham artist Jessica Olson for the artwork on this album. Her painting "Intuition" was literally calling me from my living room wall (we purchased the original painting last year). Thank you Jessica for saying YES to this collaboration! I can't think of a more fitting work of art for the album cover. $450 covers the artwork licensing as well as graphic design to make it all work.
*** Manufacturing: ~$1250
Yes, I'm still pressing CDs. The artwork alone on this album makes it worth it - and I refuse to let the CD go (since many of us still have CD players in our cars or at the very least, love to read the liner notes). $1250 covers the cost of 1000 copies of the album plus 500 digital download cards as well as the cost to digitally distribute the songs worldwide.
***Songbook (with lyrics, melody and chords): ~ $1000
Since writing these songs, I have felt strongly that they were being called out into the world to be heard AND to be learned by those who want to sing/play them on their own or share them with their spiritual community. As the music director at the Bellingham Center for Spiritual Living I know just how valuable it is to have access to lyrics and chord charts so that I can share a wide range of music with our congregation. The initial estimates to compile the music and to publish an e-book as well as print and bind 300 copies of the songbook is approximately $1000.
***Kickstarter/Credit Card Fees: ~ 10% of $7860 = $786
Kickstarter takes 5% of what we raise plus credit card fees which can vary. Kickstarter advises campaigns to budget up to %10 to cover the cost of these fees.
So….if we do the math:
- $500 (musicians) +
- $4160 (mixing) +
- $500 (mastering) +
- $450 (graphics/artwork) +
- $1250 (manufacturing) +
- $1000 (songbook)
- $786 (fees)
***I held a fundraising concert on April 13th which brought in enough money to pay for the remaining recording costs PLUS $1500 to put towards my other costs of this project. ***
$8646 - $1500 =
= Total anticipated costs remaining: $7146
In order to really make sure that I've covered all my bases (because projects like this almost always run over budget), and to help offset shipping costs, I'm rounding up! Knowing there is abundance and generosity waiting in the wings to crush this fundraising goal I am setting my minimum goal to:
MINIMUM GOAL: $7500
With you help, we can reach this goal so that I will be able to pay for RECORDING, MUSICIANS, PRODUCTION, MIXING, MASTERING, ARTWORK, CD DUPLICATION, DISTRIBUTION and SONGBOOK PUBLISHING as well as cover KICKSTARTER and CREDIT CARD FEES (which are about 10% of gross pledges). This IS AMAZING! And remember, Kickstarter is ALL OR NOTHING. Meaning, your credit card won't be charged unless the minimum goal is met! Please share widely so this music can be released out into the world!
STRETCH GOAL: $10,000 – Promotion and Regional Touring
If we can reach this stretch goal, I'll be able to share this music even further with radio and social media promotion. It would also allow me to take these songs on the road for some regional tours in 2019/2020.
If we reach this STRETCH GOAL not only will you have a better chance of hearing these songs played at a live show near you, but ALL Kickstart Backers will receive an EXCLUSIVE REWARD of a studio recording of an unreleased song!
Thanks for being a part of this endeavor. I really could not do it without you. Thank you for saying YES to supporting and sharing this project and a message of Love.
With immense gratitude,
Risks and challenges
It is all super risky - this business of sharing my creative process with the world. The mind has a funny way of telling me all the ways in which I might fail...how this risk taking is totally unnecessary and even dangerous (to my ego mostly).
What I can tell you is that this project feels perfectly timed - to me and hopefully to you too. We live in a world that is constantly changing and challenging us in big ways. I don't know about you, but I could use a little more lightness to my step on the daily. These songs bring that Light.
While I can't predict how these songs will be received - I am confident that with the help of these funds, this music will be released out into the masses, uplifting the hearts of those who choose to listen to it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)