About this project
It might seem crazy, but this Kickstarter thing is making me even MORE psyched to make this new album, Transistor Corazon! Thanks for taking the time to discover my project. I appreciate you more than I can say!
Who am I and why am I making a record?
You might already know that I’m a full-time touring singer-songwriter with no record label, manager, booking agent, publicist or promoter other than myself. You might know that there is currently no sustainable model for the music business. I believe that Kickstarter IS the new model.
Despite all the buzz about the death of the cd as a form of music, I still sell cds on the road. In fact, selling cds at shows while I'm on tour often generates as much revenue as ticket sales. People still want a physical thing that they can take home with them after making a connection with an artist that inspires them.
This record is a long time coming. I've got all of these song that need a home. They started bubbling around my insides until the pressure got so great I had to perform them at shows even though I didn't have a recording of them. Only YOU can relieve the pressure of the song-ic gas! It will be messy and dangerous if I don't get to make this record soon.
Why should you care?
Music is one of the most important things in life. It makes you feel good. It gets you through the rough times. It makes you want to drive fast, cry, have sex (not necessarily in that order). It is the sound track to your life. This model of funding is THE new way artists are able to continue to make art. Historically it's always been that way, with exception of a few decades in the middle of the 20th century when record labels dumped huge sums of money into making albums. The difference is that NOW you modern day patrons get cool, personal stuff in return! I'm not claiming to be a Rembrandt or anything of the sort, but the future of art is in your hands. No pressure.
What is Transistor Corazon?
Short answer: Two words that sound really cool together.
Long answer: Transistor is the Spanish word for transistor - which is a device that amplifies, alters or changes the direction of an electrical signal. Corazon is the Spanish word for heart. These songs are wired with themes of LOVE and the complexity & short-circuitry of romantic intimacy. That, in conjunction with a notable Latin sounding influence (think Mariachi trumpets) is the solder that welds this project to it's title.
In addition to my two amazing, custom Greenfield Guitars, I'm also playing electric guitar on these new sounding songs that will give this project an added jolt of energy!
Writing The Songs
I started writing the first songs for Transistor Corazon over two years ago. I'm thrilled to say that the title track of this record is a piece that I co-wrote with one of my song-writing hero's, the great David Rodriguez. I had never co-written a song with anyone before the tunes for this record. I've learned that co-writers are like lovers, as the songwriting process is a deep and intimate one. On this record I have five songs that I co-wrote each with a different partner. David Rodriguez (the Netherlands), Parisch Browne (Galway, Ireland), BettySoo (Austin, Texas), Kyra Shaughnessey (Montreal, Quebec) and Jacob Svendsen (Copenhagen, Denmark) were all collaborators on a song for this project. The other tunes I wrote myself and I'm also covering two of my favorites: Jesse Winchester's "That's What Makes You Strong" and the Beatles "If I Fell".
"So Melissa, $15,000 is a lot of money. Does it really cost that much?"
Yes it does. Actually, it will cost around $35,000 to make the record that I want to make and properly release to all the press outlets. Even that is a low figure. $15,000 is the bare minimum that will get this project physically realized. The producer, the studio time, the musicians, the mixing, mastering and manufacturing add up to that amount. However, that does not include photography or artwork for the CD packaging, so in fact I'm low-balling myself a bit. Only if this campaign raises well over it's targeted amount will I be able to pay for radio promotion and publicity to printed media (US and Europe).
"But my cousin just made a 17 song cd in his room last week for free!"
It's true that pretty much anyone anywhere can make a record these days. I guarantee you that my record will sound very different than your cousins. I've carefully selected the most adept people to work with on this project. In my search for someone to produce this project, I discovered Brad Jones who's work I have admired for years. Brad has produced records for Jill Sobule, Richard Julian, Caitlin Cary, Josh Rouse, Steve Forbert, John Prine, Garrison Starr, Maia Sharp, Hayes Carll and Jennifer Jackson, just to name a few. He's also engineered or performed on albums by Steve Earl, Dolly Parton, Ron Sexsmith, George Jones, Sheryl Crow, Randi Travis, Ricky Scaggs, Matthew Sweet, Robert Earl Keen, Marshall Crenshaw and the list goes on! In brief, he's a bad-ass, world-class producer and recordist, the real deal, with big, big ears. All due respect to your cousin.
"My friend's kid takes pictures. She'd do your photo shoot for nothing!"
That's very sweet. However, I've enlisted legendary Nashville music-photographer Jim McGuire to capture and contain my soul in images for this albums artwork! I grew up with the iconic images of McGuire's album covers of artists like Guy Clark, Dolly Parton, Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and so many more. I'm honored that McGuire will be shooting me for this project.
"What goes into making a professional cd?"
A LOT! There are many elements, steps and stages to making a record album, not to mention blood, sweat and tears. Writing the songs is the first step. I started writing the songs for Transistor Corazon over two years ago and I've been planning, strategizing and visualizing this project for that long.
After the recording studio is rented, the musicians hired, the producer paid, it's time to get in there and make some music. And that's not the half of it!
After all the recording is done it's time to mix the tracks which can be a tedious endeavor even for a consummate pro like Brad. When I approve the final mixes they all get sent off to a mastering engineer who tweaks all the sonic sweet spots and makes the songs sparkle through some voodoo magic that no one (other than mastering engineers) really wants to know about.
Simultaneously, as all of the above is going on, photography and artwork will be underway. The photographs will be sent to a graphic design and layout artist who will design and format the images and text that will become the visual part of the cd packaging. After approval of the artwork, and upon completion of the audio mastering process, the highest quality music and art files will then be sent to a cd replicating factory. Four weeks later I'll have a new record in my hot little hands (and then so will you)!
Oh, but wait! I have to get the album out into the world. Shipping fees will amass in order to send out the cds to radio djs, and to you, my gracious pledgers. Radio promoter and publicist for press will come into play only if I raise well beyond my goal. Am I missing something? Probably.
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