We have joyfully met our stretch goal (see below for more details!) and are in the final days of the campaign. Here are a few of the dreams that will be supported by additional funding from here on out:
- Zero carbon footprint packaging! Choosing this packaging for my CD reduces carbon emissions by 88% overall compared to a jewel case and keeps 400 liter-sized water bottles out of landfills or incinerators (as it is made entirely from 100% post-consumer water bottles).
DIY Marketing! Any additional funding can be used for much-needed help to spread the word about my new music in approachable ways: creating simple promotional material, shipping CDs to radio stations, and buying small ads.
Who Am I?
My name is Ellie Grace. I am a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist who has spent a lifetime making music. I have been on stage since I was a small child and first went into the studio at the ripe old age of eleven. My early immersion in music sent me down the path to fame and fortune as a professional folk and roots musician. (This is where I can guarantee my folk musician dad would make his favorite wisecrack about being able to make "tens of dollars" as a folk star!) In this life of music-making, I have been part of many recording projects: three albums with my family band, two CDs with my sister duo (Leela and Ellie Grace), an EP with my all-female Appalachian music trio (Blue Eyed Girl), a record with my songwriting partner (Claflin & Grace), and guest spots on many recordings by other musicians. While I have relished these fruitful and beautiful collaborations, I am now excited to share the solo work that has been patiently waiting for its time to shine.
Where Did This Project Begin?
All through my other projects, a collection of unreleased original songs has been accumulating. Some have been performed many times over the years while others have stayed quietly tucked away in my heart. In early 2018, I wrote a grant proposal for my vision of a solo recording project and was awarded an Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC to begin the process of making it a reality. With guidance from a community listening session, I narrowed down the selection to eleven original songs of resistance and rising, hope and heartbreak, love and loss. I also made the decision to work again with the brilliant recording engineer and musician, Pete Szkolka, who is based in Columbia, MO and who recorded Where The Waters Run (the second Leela and Ellie Grace CD). After much dreaming and planning and practicing, I made my first trip to the studio in the fall of 2018 with my guitar, mandolin, and vats of hot tea in tow to start laying down my parts.
After many subsequent drives across Missouri and long days in the studio through the winter and spring, I now have the raw tracks of those eleven songs completed. Along the way, many incredible musicians visited to add their magic to my music: Leela Grace (vocals and banjo), Kelly Bosworth (vocals), Phylshawn Johnson (drums and percussion), Kevin Hennessy (bass), and Pete Szkolka (piano).
Now the next phase of the project begins! The funding from the grant has done its job (helping pay for studio time and musicians) and is long gone. Many more expenses are waiting ahead as we take these eleven songs from raw tracks to fully realized music. I am scheduled for many days in the studio in the coming months to work on editing and mixing the songs. Then comes mastering, photography, graphic design, and duplication in the early fall. If all goes as planned, the album will be released no later than this November. If there is any money left in the budget at this point, it will fund a website upgrade and help with marketing the album.
It is a surprisingly complex endeavor to capture and share the honesty and simplicity of music. With your help, I can treat these songs with the care I think they deserve and finally send these little sparks out into the world.
Why Does This Matter?
Life is hard and music is one of the great lights in the darkness. These songs speak to the shared experiences of the human heart, emerging from my own struggles in this world as a tenderhearted, queer woman with anxiety. I want to sing you through the depths of your sadness and give a melody to the brightness of your hope. As I have been lifted by music, so I want to lift you. As I have been held in song, so I hope these songs might hold you.
Our hearts are kind enough, we will lift each other up
We will find a way through this dark
And when hope falls away, we will light the way
There is a fire and we are the spark
--Enough by Ellie Grace
How Can You Help?
My life and my music both work best with a community surrounding me. That is you! If you do not have the financial means to back the project, other modes of support are just as important to me: a share on social media, a note of encouragement, a listen, a connection. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being on this journey with me!
STRETCH GOAL: $10,000
I am deeply grateful that I have already met my initial goal to get this project off the ground! Here is what would be possible if I meet my second goal:
- Higher quality mastering! This would take the overall sound of the recording up a level and is beyond the scope of my current budget.
- A full band at the CD release concerts! This would make it possible to hire the incredible musicians who played on the album to perform at several release events. In this alluring scenario, I would even be able to fly the banjo goddess herself (Leela Grace) all the way from Oregon to join the Midwestern dream team.
- A limited website upgrade! This would allow me to make some basic improvements in my online presence, providing a better foundation for sharing my work and distributing the new recording.
Risks and challenges
I am already a long way down the musical road of this project, which inherently offers a certainty in my ability to deliver a finished product to you! There is no turning back now. There is always the possibility for delays to occur, but I have attempted to build in plenty of extra time for the inevitable bumps in the proverbial road. I am committed to keeping you updated along the way and to offering plenty of advance notice if the release date has to be pushed later at any point in the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)