I'm a Chicago-based songwriter who has been touring for the past six years. Since my first Kickstarter-funded album While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet (2014), it's been an incredible ride: I've played shows from Maine to California, Toronto to New Orleans. I had the honor of being a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk songwriting contest twice (2015 and 2017), and wrote and recorded The Bittersweet Tapes. I also moved back to Chicago from Maine, and wrote a ton of songs. Too many songs.
So what to do with all these songs? Songs of travel and adaptation, songs concerning current events and our changing world... and sometimes just trying to sound like Patsy Cline. I'm so excited to hear these songs recorded live with subtle harmonies, bass, percussion, lead guitar, and other instrumentation.
"Please Be Kind" (this version recorded by Willie Stratton, lead guitar by Mike Kerr)
Together with Beehive Productions (with whom I recorded While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet, and who also record sessions for Folk Alley and NPR), I'm recording over two dozen songs. Many of these will end up on my new album, North. The Sentimentals, a backing band from Denmark who have worked with artists such as Jonathan Byrd, Sam Baker, and Anna Egge, will be coming to record with me in my family's cabin in northern Wisconsin. I've been going to the Northwoods since I was a little girl, and it's a dream come true to get to record in this profoundly inspiring space, where many of the album's songs were written. We want to take you with us -- we'll be posting updates and videos from the recording sessions at the cabin.
I'll be releasing six of the best songs that don't end up on North as a bonus track EP, exclusive to Kickstarter donors. These intimate recordings will only be available with a Kickstarter pledge -- here's a sneak peak of one:
Budget and Timeline
I recently went to Saranac Lake to record acoustic tracks and demos for the album. We'll be recording with the Sentimentals at the cabin starting August 27 and will be working on post-production through the autumn. Allowing time to handle promotion and publicity, North will be released in early 2018.
Recording, mixing, and mastering the album (and paying the musicians) will cost $9,000. Printing of physical CDs will cost an additional $3,000. Not to mention the cost of radio promotion and press campaigns. Now, I've been saving up for this album, but I'm raising $7,500 to offset some of these costs. To thank you for your support, we've got lots of fun rewards including CDs, cover songs, custom songs, and t-shirts (which I helped screen print myself!).
Every day I am grateful for the listeners who want to hear my songs, who show up at concerts across the country and listen to my albums. I whole-heartedly believe that this album is my best work yet, and I hope you enjoy listening to these songs as much as I have enjoyed writing and performing them.
Risks and challenges
Recording sessions should be finished by mid-September, mixing and mastering shortly thereafter. After that, fun decisions like finalizing the track order and creating the design... and then we implement the promotion plan. So there's a lot of work to do between now and the CD release.
This ain't my first rodeo -- it's my fifth full-length album and my second Kickstarter campaign -- and it's important to me to get things done well, and by the deadline. So while most of the work on this album will be complete by mid-October, I'm allowing extra months in the timeline to make sure everything is right and ready. You should have a new Heather Styka CD in your hands by February :-)
- (30 days)