UPDATE: We're still going! Keep supporting the project to reach $18,000 for radio promotion.
The Masters' Apprentice is a story of resilience. It's a story of triumph over rejection, toil, and injury in pursuit of creating something beautiful. It's also my sophomore solo album, and is almost ready for you to enjoy.
The album features eleven jazz piano solos that I meticulously listened to, wrote out into my own sheet music, then learned to perform. (None of those steps were easy.) Here's the track listing, with the original pianists in parentheses:
- Makin' Whoopee (Oscar Peterson)
- Carolina Shout (Fats Waller)
- My Blue Heaven (Teddy Wilson)
- On the Sunny Side of the Street (Erroll Garner)
- Tiger Rag (Art Tatum)
- Snowy Morning Blues (James P. Johnson)
- Erroll's Bounce (Erroll Garner)
- Blue Moon (Art Tatum)
- Hammerhead (Carl Sonny Leyland)
- My One and Only Love (Donald Ryan—that's my dad)
- Blues Etude (Oscar Peterson)
I've already recorded all the music, so now it needs to reach listeners' ears. Let's do this.
Besides spreading a message of resilience, my ultimate goal with this album release is to increase my exposure as an artist and ultimately perform more often and extensively. With that in mind, I constantly return to one question when strategizing for this album release: What would wild success look like? Here's my response:
- Articles and reviews in national publications like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair
- Radio play and interviews on NPR and jazz stations across the country
- Performances for music industry professionals in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville
- Attracting a powerful agent
- Distribution through an established label
- Really satisfied backers
Ambitious, I know. But I think we're up for the challenge.
While such wild success isn't entirely within our control, here's how we can best set ourselves up to achieve it.
An Extraordinary Kickstarter Campaign
I don't want this campaign to just be successful, I want to blow the doors off of it. Why? Because then people will start to notice that there's oddly strong support for some Tulsa, OK-based pianist playing jazz. Let's reach the base goal of $10,000 as soon as possible to make way for the 'stretch' goals (more on that later).
A Beautiful Album
The album needs to communicate its story through every possible facet: design, photography, sound, and manufacturing. I've assembled a team of astoundingly talented people to make each of those aspects impeccable. More on them later too.
Additional videos are critical to spread the word about The Masters' Apprentice. You can expect short documentaries and showcases of my playing to be just as engaging as this campaign's video (since the same company will be making them).
Getting the attention of the New York Times or NPR is no easy task, so funds raised in excess of the $10,000 stated would allow for a well-connected public relations firm and radio promoter to be brought on as part of the release team.
You'll be informed (and maybe even directly involved) every step of the way, from campaign pre-launch to after the album release. I want you to feel that you're getting even more out of this campaign than you're putting in.
Then we wait and see what happens. And who knows? There might even be some pleasant surprises along the way.
Management: Jim Halsey Company
The reason I can (somewhat) realistically have high aspirations for this album is because I'm working with one of the best managers in the business: Jim Halsey. He has the knowledge and connections to transform a great CD into a raving success.
Photography: Nathan Harmon
Nathan Harmon is a wizard behind a camera. As loathe as I'll be to phase out his famous 'footgrab' photo of me (pictured above, obviously), I can't wait to see what he captures for this album.
Design: Moncrief + Rains Design Group
This design duo has completed multiple projects for me over the years, and is already strategizing for this one. They're a complete joy to work with and produce stunning work.
Video & Marketing: Charles Patrick & Co.
This company is my own, so I'll skip the part where I praise it. But if you liked my campaign video, you're going to love what's coming next.
More partnerships soon to be formed.
And now to the heart of the matter. I'm asking you to help by backing this campaign and spreading the word. Here's what your support will provide.
The base $10,000 goal will allow for a modest yet impactful release, complete with full album production, marketing videos, and a concert in Tulsa, OK. An additional $8,000 would fund a full radio promotion campaign, and $7,000 more would go to dedicated PR for print media and strategic performing for music industry professionals. Further funds would enable me to go even further to connect with new audiences through this and my next project.
Please share this with everyone you think would be interested and through every medium you use. Examples include:
- Phone call
- Actual in-person conversation
- Morse code
- Carrier pigeon
Thank you for learning about this story, and I hope you'll join me in writing the next chapter!
Risks and challenges
With the experience of a previous album already released and the music for this one having already been recorded, the risks are few. There is that of failure, but I've failed before and things eventually turned out pretty well. There's also the risk of bigger success than I'm hoping for, but that will be a pretty good problem to have.
One significant question waiting to be answered is that of the album release date. That will depend on the amount of promoting to be done in preparation, which will depend on the funds raised by this campaign and the personnel I can hire for the promoting. I anticipate release by early in the second quarter of 2017, which is why most rewards' delivery is set for April. I appreciate your understanding as that date remains flexible for now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (18 days)