THE SHORT VERSION:
Break out the hot chocolate and candy canes! I'm making a timeless & gorgeous Christmas album called "Unto Us," and I'd love for you to be a part of it!
We passed my full album budget of $60,000!!! I would still love your support to help me promote this album. Every additional dollar you contribute will help me as with publicist fees, advertising and radio promotion. Thank you for your AMAZING support!
... AND in keeping with the tradition of giving that Old St. Nick started all those years ago ... I will donate a copy of my lullaby album, "I Dream of You," to a hospital for every $15 we raise in this campaign. To learn more about how my music is already being used in hospitals, please watch the video at the bottom of this page.
Because of your support, over 4,000 "I Dream of You" CDs are headed to hospitals!!!
THE LONG VERSION:
I'm amazed how just a few notes of a familiar tune can transport me back to wonderful scenes from my childhood, and fill me with nostalgia.
Most of my favorite Christmas music has a timeless quality. Think of Bing Crosby's crooning voice on the soundtrack to the movie "White Christmas," or The Vince Guaraldi Trio's beautiful interpretations of the classics on "A Charlie Brown Christmas." My husband, Dave, loves the beautiful boys' choir and orchestral arrangements on Amy Grant's "Home For Christmas." It was a staple in his family's CD player during the holidays. We wanted to somehow capture a bit of that magic too. So this summer I've been working on what I hope will become one of your favorite Christmas albums.
While researching other Christmas records, I noticed how I was repeatedly drawn to the familiar old classics, and how I'd frequently reach for the skip button when an artist's original song began to play. Because there's so much nostalgia surrounding Christmas, "Unto Us" is stuffed like a stocking full of songs that you already know and love!
I asked my long-time friend, the incredibly talented Ben Shive to take the reigns on this project and drive this crazy Christmas sleigh. When Ben heard our vision for the album, he suggested we invite another friend of his to help too - the one and only Brown Bannister! I'm thrilled that Brown agreed to help make this album a reality since he's produced many amazing records over the course of his Grammy-studded career, one of them being Amy Grant's "Home For Christmas!" A Christmas coincidence? I think not!
My $30,000 goal for this campaign only covers half the budget for the record. If we reach it quickly, I'd love to keep going so we can cover the full cost of the album. Elf labor doesn't come cheap these days. Hopefully we can cover the cost of radio promotion, a publicist and music video production. There are also some additional rewards for backers too!
STRETCH GOAL #1 • $40,000 (REACHED!!!) - Since we reached this goal, every SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE ($15) backer (and higher) will also receive a free digital download of my lullaby album, "I DREAM OF YOU." As long as we're donating a physical CD on your behalf, I thought you should enjoy the songs too!
NEW STRETCH GOAL #2 • $45,000 (REACHED!!!) - If we reach this new goal, every DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? ($25) backer (and higher) will also receive a custom 5x7 paper print featuring the design from our wood plaque.
STRETCH GOAL #3 • $60,000 (REACHED!!!) - If we reach the full budget of the album, all Kickstarter backers who contribute over $10 will receive alternate versions and acoustic demos of several songs from the album. This goal will also provide critical funding to help me pay for advertising, publicity and other radio promotion for the project.
NEW ADDITION TO STRETCH GOAL #3 (REACHED!!!) - All $25+ backers will have their name printed in the album credits.
STRETCH GOAL #4 • $80,000 - I'll hire a video crew to record performances of four of the songs on the album. I'll make 30-second previews of all the songs on the album, and Kickstarter backers will vote on which songs are filmed. Backers will also be the first to see the footage before it is posted to social media.
STRETCH GOAL #5 • $100,000 - I'll make an official music video for the most playful song on the album. It's called, "Oh, To See Christmas," and it's super catchy! Kickstarter backers will be the first to see the footage too!
STRETCH GOAL #6 • $120,000 - Here's a reason to be jolly! I'll hire a full band and we'll live-stream a Christmas concert to your living-room this December.
In addition to all the new music I've been cooking up, I also prepared some lovely Christmas-inspired rewards for your generous support.
Some of the rewards include ...
• GET THE NEW ALBUM, "UNTO US," BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! The album artwork hasn't been designed yet, but I promise it will look as lovely as it sounds.
• CUSTOM-DESIGNED LASER-ENGRAVED ORNAMENT WITH ORIGINAL LYRICS.
• BEAUTIFUL LASER-ENGRAVED, HAND-PAINTED (not by me) WALNUT PLAQUE.
• HAND-COLORED (by me) CHRISTMAS POSTCARDS.
• VIP CONCERT TICKETS AND HANG TIME WITH ME.
• COFFEE (OR HOT CHOCOLATE) WITH ME.
• YOUR VERY OWN CONCERT FOR YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY.
I haven't done a Kickstarter campaign for any of my music before, so you probably have a few questions for me. Let me try to anticipate a few of them with some answers.
Why are you doing a Kickstarter for this project? This campaign is your opportunity to pre-order and support this effort. With the rise of streaming services and the decrease in album sales, we're turning to fans like you to invest in projects you believe in. Also, while most albums can be sold all year long, Christmas albums are only sold for one month each year. We would love to manufacture the correct amount of CDs to meet the demand for this album - our garage is already full of several thousand copies of my other CDs!
WHY $30,000, AND WHERE WILL MY MONEY GO? The current goal is actually less than half of the final cost of the album. We'd love to exceed our goal and raise our entire budget (approximately $70,000 since Kickstarter/Payment-processing takes 9% of funds raised) so we can not just cover all the costs involved in making the record, but also let the WORLD know about it. That means paying radio promoters, publicists, and advertising on social media.
My husband is a conservative man, and since we don't get anything if we fail to meet our goal, he talked me into keeping the initial goal low. However, if we quickly (or not-so-quickly) hit the $30,000 mark, please DON'T STOP SPREADING THE WORD! A lot of the success of this campaign depends on your help.
The majority of the funds will go directly toward the production of the album. In addition to paying Brown and Ben, we used FIVE different studios, paid multiple studio engineers, a mixing engineer, a mastering engineer, session players (a drummer, two bass players, and an electric guitarist), a trumpet player, a youth choir, and an 8-piece string section. Here's the way the budget breaks down:
It's always really hard for me to ask people for things. Most of the time, I'd prefer to keep my dreams small so I don't have to experience any disappointment (like a cotton-headed ninny muggins), but I believe in this album so much that I'm willing to push through my discomfort. Christmas is worth celebrating, and this record does just that. We're doing our best to fill these songs with beauty, magic and wonder, and I can't wait for you to hear it!
It'd mean the world to me if YOU chose to support the making of this record because you believe in it too. I would love for this album to make its way into the homes of thousands of families, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to join forces with people like YOU!
I'm so thankful for you, and that you're willing to consider investing in me and my campaign. It would be a dream come true for me if these songs become a part of your Christmas traditions for years to come.
Merry Christmas (in the middle of the summer)!
P.S. Don't forget for every $15 we raise in this campaign I will donate a copy of my lullaby album, "I Dream of You," to a hospital! If we raise $100,000 together, over 6,500 families will be comforted by the album during a very stressful time in their life. The video (below) documents my recent visit to a children's hospital in Nashville to donate some CDs to patients and families:
Please read these testimonials from a music therapist and fans (like you). I love hearing how "I Dream of You" is making such a difference in hospitals and homes across the country! Feel free to share your story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One little boy who was recovering from a major surgery was needing non-stimulating soothing [music] to help keep him still so his pain wouldn’t increase. I put the CD on and it was truly the only thing that calmed him while his mother had to step out.
Caroline Love, CCLS • Certified Child Life Specialist • The Children's Hospital at Tristar Centennial
NOTES FROM LISTENERS
• My son is 2.5 years old [and has a] Sensory Processing disorder. The only thing that makes him happy when he's having a bad day is your [JJ's] voice. He loves your "I Dream of You" CD and we take it everywhere.
• My 6 month old, Samuel, struggles to fall asleep and fights it as much as possible until I put on his sound machine and press play on your album. Within seconds, he is sound asleep and sleeps peacefully while he hears your soothing voice. This album, in particular, is so sweet and brings me to tears when I allow myself to really engage with your lyrics. Every word is my mama's heart that I just can't seem to find the words to adequately express.
• Love this CD. My son has it in his CD player and it plays all night every night. My son was born with a heart defect and has had three open heart surgeries. While in the hospital after the first surgery we discovered music was the only thing that would lower his heart rate and blood pressure.
Risks and challenges
We've made several albums in the past, and have a pretty decent handle on how this thing goes. We don't anticipate any difficulty in getting these songs to you in time to share them with those you love this Christmas season.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)