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John's Solo EP Release : Magic Box
30 backers pledged $2,200 to help bring this project to life.

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John Culbreth defies Logic with MAGIC BOX

Though this is his debut solo release, John is no stranger to the creative process and the art of crafting music. As co-founder of instrumental sextet Naughty Professor, and having filled the role of sideman to a collection of other acts (The Revivalists, Vance Joy, Griz, Galactic, and more), John has played the role of touring musician for the last 8 years and counting. 


That lifestyle, however, comes with its set of limitations. Initially, touring meant putting the creative on pause and just playing shows. While performing on the road for a living is full of exhilarating moments, it entails a ton of time away from home and countless hours spent traveling and waiting to perform.

His perspective changed over time after seeing examples of other artists successfully creating impactful music in spite of their rigorous schedules and distracting environments. When he heard that Donald Glover wrote the Childish Gambino record “Awaken, My Love” in his trailer while on set for the TV show Community, Culbreth knew he had no excuse not to keep creating outside his comfort zone. Inspired, John began spending time writing in the van and in the greenrooms of venues along the extensive route tour life was taking him.


At a certain point, though, he hit a wall.
 

“The process began simply as a cathartic exercise to keep myself sane. When it came to finishing arrangements, though, I struggled with choosing a stylistic direction to go in with this pile of unfocused musical sketches I had assembled. I felt boxed in by the constraints of using software (Logic), and I eventually realized a lot was getting lost in translation between my ear and the tiny midi keyboard I had been somewhat unceremoniously hammering my ideas into. It eventually occurred to me: ‘music is bigger than this!’ The ideas (aside from what I had already recorded on trumpet) needed soul breathed into them.”
 

John reached out to Steveland Swatkins (artist name: Swatkins), vocoder extraordinaire and keyboardist for Allen Stone. Having met Steve at an impromptu recording session at Neutral Sound Studios in New Orleans during Jazz Fest earlier that year, Culbreth hoped that Steve would be open to collaboration. He was. 



“When I first dropped the tracks Steve recorded into the song (GoKarting) and hit play, my heart leapt…the song was alive! My next thought was ‘How great would these ideas sound if I keep doing this?’ Not long after that, I reached out to more of my peers in an invitation to co-create, including hip hop producer Es-K (who contributed to the overall sound of GoKarting and Top Secret) and Nashville based music collective Dynamo (who performed the band parts to my arrangement of John Lennon’s song, Imagine). The more musicians I involved, the more I was sure this was the direction I wanted to go in. I discovered that by featuring my friends’ musical voices and positioning their sounds alongside my own, the outcome magically becomes greater than the sum of its parts.”
 

The result is Magic Box, the first 4 songs to reach fruition. John hopes to perpetuate the global collaborative spirit and continue combining forces with today’s musical pioneers.

“The main lesson music has always taught me is this: you are not alone.”

Risks and challenges

The risk with producing an album as an independent artist is that there is no label bankrolling the process, and no machine to create awareness after the project is completed. So we find ourselves throwing hundreds of hours of effort and thousands of dollars into something that is worth a lot to ourselves as creative expression, but that doesn't have a definite financial worth outside of that unless we make it. I'm hoping to recuperate some of the costs of making this album by offering memberships and t-shirts!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Magic is an Illusion

    This comes with a free download of the single.

    Some of you may be thinking “I haven’t heard this music yet, maybe I’ll think it sucks??” This tier lets you hedge your bet a little bit.

    Includes:
    • Single Download
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    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    Magic Could Be Real

    “I think I might actually like it”

    Download of Full 3 song EP

    Some of you may have a little more faith and actually expect to like the music. If you’re in the gambling spirit, get a download of the full EP.

    Includes:
    • EP Download
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Magic is Definitely Real

    Download of Full 3 song EP + Official Patron of Sorcery

    You may have heard of a good wizard named John Culbreth, and perhaps want to ensure he will use his magical abilities for good. He will acknowledge your contribution by listing you on his website and social media platforms.

    Includes:
    • EP Download
    • Sorcery Membership
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Spread the Magic

    “I want to help John spread his music”

    John wants to share his magic with the world, but ravens are in short supply this season. John must resort to radio play and social media, which deal only in non-magical dollars.

    Includes:
    • EP Download
    • Official T-Shirt
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    6 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Learn Magic (Music)

    “I want to learn from John”

    You also dabble in magic (music) and want to learn the secrets of the trade. John will teach you. Or if you really want to learn magic, John knows 2 solid magic tricks that he can also teach you.

    1 hr Lesson / Career Guidance / Music Industry Consulting / Hang

    Includes:
    • 1 hour w/John
    • EP Download
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    3 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Enlist a Mage

    “Sponsor one musician’s studio time”

    The Magic Box requires more power than John can provide alone. He must enlist the assistance of a cult of Mages to properly recite the incantation. Receive exclusive content John creates in his lab from here on out, and be listed as a Mage on Social Media and Website.

    Includes:
    • Mage Membership
    • 1 hour w/John
    • Official T-Shirt
    • EP Download
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    11 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Conjure Tapestry

    “Sponsor Album Artwork”

    Receive Limited Edition Autographed and Framed Album Artwork + Mage Membership

    Includes:
    • Limited Edition Framed Autographed Artwork
    • Mage Membership
    • EP Download
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Wizard’s Alliance

    “Trumpet Studio Recording from John”


    You are crafting your own magic (music) and want a trumpet part, or just some sort of trumpet recording. This is flexible.

    Includes:
    • Custom Trumpet Recording
    • EP Download
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Warlock's Bane

    Executive Producer Status + All previous tiers

    You want to ensure the success of John’s Magic Box and his cult of Mages. You will be listed as an Executive Producer in Magic Box’s Liner Notes.

    Includes:
    • Executive Producer Status
    • Custom Trumpet Recording
    • Limited Edition Framed Autographed Artwork
    • Mage Membership
    • 1 hour w/John
    • Official T-Shirt
    • EP Download
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (46 days)