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A soulful, playful, hedonistic pop record for smart, ferocious, muffin-hearted libertines.
A soulful, playful, hedonistic pop record for smart, ferocious, muffin-hearted libertines.
A soulful, playful, hedonistic pop record for smart, ferocious, muffin-hearted libertines.
596 backers pledged $37,727 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Radical Magic of Pleasure and Pop

$37,727

596

The Plan

To make a great pop record with a playful spirit, in the tradition of the Beatles, the Supremes, and Sam Cooke. That means good songs with a sense of humor, soulfully played, packed with hooks, and bursting with aural pleasure.

*Update 11/4: We've hit the first two stretch goals! I've just added the "Magic Pack" reward. This reward and all others above $222 will include this limited-edition David Hale LUNA MOTH print (the same design I have tattooed on my right arm):

The Songs

I've got a menagerie of original songs on hand, and here's what they're saying:

Live joyfully, live playfully, live honestly. Pleasure is good for you. Sex is fun. Shame is a waste of time. Women are powerful superheroes. Respect yourself. Fuck the haters. Loneliness hurts but we need it. Love hurts but it is also the point of living. Feel love (and pleasure, and everything) often, and with relish.

Here are two of the songs that will be featured on the album. These are demos, and have not yet blossomed into the fullness of their pop glory, but I think they give a hint of the possibilities!

Hot Night:

 Ravenous:

 If you'd like to hear the rest of these demos, plus the other songs we're taking into the studio, become a backer!

The Money

I'm asking for $22,000. What I actually need to complete the record is $29,500. Whatever I don't make here, I will borrow (or steal, or beg for). To realize my ultimate vision for the record, which includes extra studio time and more musicians, I need about $36,000. To hire a publicity team who will see that the album gets heard far and wide, I need about $50,000.

My ultimate stretch goal is $69,000. If I were to reach that (incredible, beautiful, astronomical) number, I could make music videos for three of the singles from the album, hire the best (and fanciest) publicist in the business, and order additional CDs and vinyl. And, of course, sexy numbers are good luck.

For more info on the budget, scroll down.

Who do you think you are?

I'm a singer/songwriter living in New Orleans (by way of Philadelphia PA, Eugene OR, and Luray VA). I've been making records for ten years, writing and performing for fifteen, and singing my whole life. I've been interviewed on NPR and toured as an opener for Paul Simon, The Weepies, The Wood Brothers and many more. My last Kickstarter made over $60K, and resulted in a damn fine record, too.  

Why pop?

Well... I love pop. I love the attitude of pop: playful, joyful, unabashed, hedonistic. I love the sound of pop: melodic, lush, groove-laden, hook-driven. And I love so many of the artists who have been called "pop" over the last century: Nat King Cole, Paul Simon, Carole King, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, right up to Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

I also love that pop is not really a genre. It spans all genres, but has no allegiance to any. The Beatles, for example, were only a rock band until about "Rubber Soul". Then, they were something else; something which included baroque horn concertos, Hindustani classical music, and English children's folk songs. As a musician with an equally feverish love of Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Queen, and Prince, this approach strikes me as the ultimate expression of musical freedom, creativity, and playfulness.

But, in case you think "pop" is a dirty word, let me remind you that all of the aforementioned artists, PLUS Bob Dylan, had multiple hit songs. In other words: historically speaking, a lot of pop songs have been smart, soulful, well-crafted, and honest. I plan to make a few more of those.

Why Pleasure?

"We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world." - Jack Gilbert

I subscribe to the radical notion that pleasure is good for you (and for me, and for all of us). Pleasure is a source of joy, inspiration, connection and aliveness. It relaxes us, invigorates us, and re-connects us to ourselves and each other. I'm not talking about the shallow pleasure of Oreos and reality TV (not to knock either), but the deep-soul-pleasure of making love, night-time swimming, vigorous cuddling, and good, sweet, true music. 

For me, music is the ultimate hedonistic pursuit: I make it, and listen to it, and love it, just cus it feels so dang good. This is the attitude I'll be bringing into the studio; become a backer if you want to hear what I bring back out.

Photo by Bobby Bonsey
Photo by Bobby Bonsey

The Team

Besides the songs, I've got two weeks of scheduled studio time (in January), and a plan to attack this project with moxie and playfulness. But better yet, I've got a group of disgustingly talented musicians who are ready and willing to make this crazy thing happen.

Our merry band of pranksters includes: Pete Donnelly, founding member of The Figgs and producer of my 2009 record 'Buoy' (as well as many other excellent records); Joe Plowman, bassist extraordinaire, friend and collaborator since 2009; Pat Firth, NYC pianist and jazz/pop/R&B aficionado; and Jano Rix, world-class drummer/percussionist/vocalist/melodica player/salsa dancer.

These guys are talented. But not only that; they are silly. And smart. And committed. They know that the point is to feel good, and play with feeling. And between them, they can draw on a massive sea of musical references.

I am confident that with this crew, a lot of playfulness, and a little good luck, I can make anything I can imagine.

The Budget

Here is a more detailed breakdown of costs for my original ($29,500) goal.

 "Recording Costs" include:

  • Paying the producer and the musicians who play on the record.
  • Studio time, lodging, and food during the recording sessions.

"Design and Manufacturing" includes:

  • Printing CDs and pressing vinyl records.
  • Paying for cover art design.

"Kickstarter Costs" include:

  • Kickstarter takes a 5% fee from the funds collected.
  • Amazon payments takes another 3% for credit card processing.
  • My estimated expenses for Kickstarter rewards not included in other parts of the budget.

The Take-Home

Thank you, in advance, for every penny you're willing to part with. I am grateful every day for the people that make it possible for me to sit in my little pink studio (The Watermelon, pictured below) and write songs; or to hunker down with my favorite musicians and turn those songs into a record. 

I feel blessed and honored, 100% of the time, to make music. (Yes, even when I am cranky.) I love this work, and I love you for making it possible. I don't take this opportunity lightly (though I do, of course, take it playfully). 

I love you madly!

Carsie

Photo by Bobby Bonsey
Photo by Bobby Bonsey

Risks and challenges

I'll be the first to admit: good pop is hard to make. If it wasn't hard, there would be a lot more of it. It's hard to write a song that is true and good and bursting with hook and melody; but I believe I have a few up my sleeve. It's hard to create a delectable aural confection like "All You Need Is Love" or "You Send Me" or "Where Did Our Love Go?", but goldang it, I'm willing to try.

Other than that, my struggle (as always) is trying to operate respectably here in the material world. I will do my best to deliver all the rewards on time, and I will hire a helper or two to make that more likely. But, in case I'm late, I hope you'll follow Mary Oliver's advice about holding meetings with creative people: "If I have a meeting with you at three o'clock, rejoice if I am late." It means that the spirit of pop has possessed me, and she's not done with me yet.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    IT'S MY PLEASURE TO HELP! Pledge any amount you want out of the goodness of your delightful little heart. Select this level and you won't get a physical reward - just a heap of gratitude, and access to backer updates (including song descriptions, demos, and harrowing stories from the inside of my brain).

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    POP-POURRI: SMALL. This level is for backers who want to fully embrace the playful nature of this project. You will receive one random, unique surprise some time between now and October 2016. Could be a postcard, could be a song, could be a cupcake. NOBODY KNOWS!

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    POP-POURRI: SMALL. This level is for backers who want to fully embrace the playful nature of this project. You will receive one random, unique surprise some time between now and October 2016. Could be a postcard, could be a song, could be a cupcake. NOBODY KNOWS!

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    THE DIGITAL ALBUM. You'll be one of the first people to hear the new record, the very day it hits the proverbial shelves! Plus, access to backer updates.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    THE CD - EARLY BIRD PRICE! The first 50 backers will get the CD for $15. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    THE CD! Get a shiny new SIGNED copy of the CD in your mailbox, the veritable moment it's released! Plus, bragging rights to your friends that you supported the making of said CD. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    LUCKY DAY. This reward is only offered for one day: October 22! Backers who pledge for this reward on this day will get the signed CD, plus something extra special which I can only tell you about on Facebook.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    THE VINYL LP! Hold in your hands the actual real-life VINYL version of this album. Don't have a record player? Hang it on the wall! I promise it'll be pretty. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    PLEASURE BOMB. This gets you the signed CD, the VINYL record, a POP MIX CD (curated by me and guaranteed to expand and deepen your love of pop), a handwritten LOVE-NOTE, and some CUSTOM CARSIE-FLAVORED* CHOCOLATE (or other confection - will not be able to ship chocolate overseas or during summer months).

    *Not in the literal sense.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    GIFT PACK (THREE CDS/NO VINYL): This is the pleasure bomb, but instead of vinyl you'll get 2 extra signed copies of the CD (that's one for you, one for your mom, and one for your good friend Bruno Mars). Plus POP MIX + LOVE NOTE + CHOCOLATE.

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    Pledge $77 or more About $77

    POP-POURRI: MEDIUM. For backers who want to fully embrace the playful nature of this project. I will send you a copy of the SIGNED CD, but other than that, I'm not telling. You will get one random, unique surprise, some time between now and October 2016. Could be a four-leaf-clover, could be a puppy, could be a private video concert. NOBODY KNOWS!

    Note: it won't be a puppy.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $102 or more About $102

    SECRET SONGS + PLEASURE BOMB. This gets you a limited-edition CD of "orphans" (songs that don't make it onto the record), plus demos, live performances, and limited-edition LINER NOTES (handwritten by me)! Plus the Pleasure Bomb or Gift Pack.

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    Pledge $122 or more About $122

    INSPIRATION PACK: PLEASURE. I'll curate a box of goodies to inspire your more pleasurable life. Includes HANDWRITTEN LYRICS or POEM to hang on your wall. May also include: books, music, 4-leaf-clover, prayer candle, good luck charms, and other goodies pertaining to the theme. Plus the Pleasure Bomb (or Gift Pack) & Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $122 or more About $122

    INSPIRATION PACK: CREATIVITY. I'll curate a box of goodies to inspire your more creative life. Includes HANDWRITTEN LYRICS or POEM to hang on your wall. May also include: books, music, 4-leaf-clover, prayer candle, good luck charms, and other goodies pertaining to the theme. Plus the Pleasure Bomb (or Gift Pack) & Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $122 or more About $122

    INSPIRATION PACK: PLAY. I'll curate a box of goodies to inspire your more playful life. Includes HANDWRITTEN LYRICS or POEM to hang on your wall. May also include: books, music, games, 4-leaf-clover, prayer candle, good luck charms and more. Plus the Pleasure Bomb (or Gift Pack) & Secret Songs!

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $132 or more About $132

    THE FULL CARSIE DISCOGRAPHY on CD. You'll receive SIGNED copies of: all 7 of my existing albums, the new record on CD, and the unreleased Secret Songs CD. This set includes burned copies of two CDs that are out of print. (Hush & Beau).

    All my albums: Hush, Ain't So Green, Buoy, Beau, Idiot Heart, Rude Remarks & Dirty Jokes, Not Old, Not New, the new record, and the Secret Songs.

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $152 or more About $152

    THE FULL CARSIE DISCOGRAPHY on CD + VINYL. You'll receive SIGNED copies of: all 7 of my existing albums on CD, 'Not Old, Not New' on vinyl, the unreleased Secret Songs CD, and the new record on CD and vinyl. This set includes burned copies of two CDs that are out of print (Hush & Beau).

    That's Hush, Ain't So Green, Buoy, Beau, Idiot Heart, Rude Remarks & Dirty Jokes, Not Old, Not New (CD and vinyl), the new record (CD and vinyl), and the Secret Songs.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $222 or more About $222

    MAGIC PACK. This magical reward includes a limited-edition DAVID HALE LUNA MOTH PRINT (the design Carsie has tattooed on her right arm). Plus, HAND-WRITTEN LYRICS or POEM from Carsie on a topic of your choice. PLUS the Pleasure Bomb* or Gift Pack, and Secret Songs!

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $322 or more About $322

    POP A CORK WITH CARSIE*. Two tickets to a live show of your choice (any show, anywhere, any time in the next 2 years), plus dinner with me before (or after) that show. PLUS the Pleasure Bomb* or Gift Pack, and Secret Songs!

    *Not a sex thing.

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    Pledge $330 or more About $330

    THE DISTRIBUTOR PACK. This is the pleasure bomb, but with 22 SIGNED COPIES of the CD! For rabid fans who like to share (and also like chocolate). 22 CDS + POP MIX + LOVE NOTE + CHOCOLATE.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PERSONALIZED ORIGINAL THEME SONG. You provide the person(s), animal, story, or event; I provide the short (30-60 seconds) theme song. You'll go down in history like Rocky, or Doug, or the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. Plus the Pleasure Bomb and Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $770 or more About $770

    POP-POURRI: LARGE. This level is for backers who want to fully embrace the playful nature of this project. You will get one major, random, unique surprise, some time between now and October 2016. Could be a pony*, could be a choir, could be me taking you out to dinner. NOBODY KNOWS! Plus the Pleasure Bomb and Secret Songs.

    *Probably won't be a pony

    **I may ask you to provide the number of a friend or loved one to assist me in pulling this off.

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    Pledge $1,007 or more About $1,007

    SOLO CARSIE HOUSE SHOW (ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD). I'll play your living room within 18 months of the date of your pledge. We pick a date together, you invite all your friends, and then we party like it's 1999.

    TRAVEL EXPENSES NOT INCLUDED (either you pay for my travel, or we wait until I'm touring through your area).

    Plus the Pleasure Bomb and Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $1,277 or more About $1,277

    SOLO CARSIE HOUSE SHOW (ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD). I'll play your living room within 18 months of the date of your pledge. We pick a date together, you invite all your friends, and then we party like it's 1999.

    TRAVEL EXPENSES NOT INCLUDED (either you pay for my travel, or we wait until I'm touring through your area).

    Plus the Pleasure Bomb and Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $1,722 or more About $1,722

    CARSIE & JOE PLAY YOUR HOUSE (ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD). Myself and my illustrious bassist Joe Plowman will play your living room within 18 months of the date of your pledge. We pick a date together, you invite all your friends, and then we party like it's 1999.

    TRAVEL EXPENSES NOT INCLUDED (either you pay for my travel, or we wait until I'm touring through your area).

    Plus the Pleasure Bomb and Secret Songs!

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    Pledge $2,200 or more About $2,200

    PLAY DAY AND DINNER PARTY. A full day of adventuring with yours truly, in a city of your choice. We'll pick a date that works for both of us, I'll meet you at your home or favorite hang-out spot (my travel is included anywhere in the continental USA - message me for info if you're in another country!), and we'll have an adventure. You can bring friends!

    Our day may include: hiking, dancing, museums, high tea, me singing for you, you singing for me, listening sessions, conversation, and lord knows what else*. Once we're tuckered out, I'll cook dinner for you and 1-4 of your friends (I can cook a thing or two!) OR take you all out somewhere cheap and good. Plus the Pleasure Bomb (or Gift Pack) and Secret Songs, AND YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES!

    *Still not sex.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    NEW ORLEANS VACATION WITH CARSIE. I'll move into the studio, you get the house! You and a guest stay with us for up to five nights (if you don't mind sharing a bathroom), and I'll show you around town. Expect a swamp tour, a parade or two, some great food, and trips with me to the best live shows in town. INCLUDES AIRFARE (coach, via Southwest Airlines) from anywhere within the contiguous lower 48*, and dinner with me at a favorite local restaurant.

    Dates will be chosen at the convenience of both parties, to be delivered by spring 2017. Plus the Pleasure Bomb (or Gift Pack) and Secret Songs, AND YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES!

    *Not in the USA, and/or willing to cover your own travel? Message me for info!

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    Pledge $9,069 or more About $9,069

    IT'S FINALLY SEX!!!

    Just kidding, it's still not sex.

    *Dear Kickstarter staff: this is a joke. Please don't be mad. It's definitely not sex.

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Funding period

- (32 days)