In August of 2014, after living in Downtown Los Angeles for nearly a year, I decided to leave the city to begin to rebuild myself from the ground up. I spent my time outdoors, living with a small group of very close extended family, reconnecting my life to the things that mattered most to me. In the time since then I married my beautiful wife, Karen, and we still spend nearly every weekend in a different part of the natural world around us to stay grounded to everything we know to be real.
Stephen Henderson is an independent producer, singer/songwriter, looper pedal artist and multi-instrumentalist whose roots stem from the small town of Hana, Maui, Hawaii. Raised in a musical family, Stephen had his first taste of the music industry touring with The Jets at a young age, while his father managed them in the 90's. His passion for music was fueled when his family moved from Los Angeles to the small town of Hana, Maui where Stephen was inspired by country legend Kris Kristofferson to begin writing his own music at the age of 12. Since then he has written over 300 songs and holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music, Science & Technology, emphasizing in Music Cognition and Audio Engineering from Stanford University. After a short stint in Downtown Los Angeles, Stephen retreated to the California mountains in Redlands to live simple, write music and perform locally. He currently resides there with his wife. He hopes that his music inspires others to live honestly, with real intent and true purpose.
Stephen derives his acoustic soulful style from influences such as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, James Vincent McMurough, Active Child, James Blake, KWABS, Jack Johnson, Allen Stone, Earth Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder. His fusion of genres give him a unique voice and sound.
Stephen was awarded the Carolyn Applebaum Prize for Music for outstanding contributions and excellence in service to the music community at Stanford University Department of Music. While in Stanford he produced the Stanford Soundtrack and was integral in creating a community of artists that remains strong and intact today. Stephen co-founded The Red Couch Project, a non-profit that showcases and produces up and coming collegiate artists in the west coast using social media as the primary launching platform. He curated opening acts for multi-grammy award winning artists while working as a intern for Stanford Live. As an artist he has performed with notable hawaiian acts such as Willie K., Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole and multi-grammy award winner George Kahumoku Jr.; recorded with multi grammy award winner Dave Thomas of Take 6, and performed with Reggae Rising Star Leilani Wolfgramm. He is also featured in the song 'Dreams' which he co-wrote with producer Robot Koch on his most recent album 'Hypermoment'. He released his first EP called 'We The Free’ in 2015 preceding this project.
Every once in a while music comes along that showcases the soul of an artist. I hope that this album embodies that for me. Outside Looking In is a collection of messages and melodies that I most wish to leave behind. The album theme comes from the idea of being outside of the world, of its time constraints and temporal flow, of its systems and limitations, while looking in on the moments and memories that make it meaningful.
This album is my story of stepping outside of myself, and peering into parts of my life that taught me lessons I needed to know. Each song has an anecdote from the past few years, that chronicles moments with a hope to create a narrative that allows the listener to understand the temporal nature of life, the short-sightedness of the world and its worries and the fallacy of fear.
I pray that each person when listening will think of the things beyond. I believe there will be a moment and time set aside for us to view each of the memories that make up our existence in open display, so that we can perfectly know ourselves, forgive ourselves and truly come to an understanding that every part of our experience here is woven into a fabric with which we will one-day fully realize the true potential. I hope we take the time to take deep and ponderous looks inside and to ask ourselves what is really there. And once we find something truly worth living for… to love it and live for it.
This is a 10 song album that draws heavily on the soulful acoustic influences of my past, mixed with some of the electronic influences of my more recent works. Etherial vocals, acoustic guitar, spacey synths and driving percussion have acted as my primary creative pallet. Each song is done in a unique neo-folk and soul style with heavy harmony and alliterative story telling. The melodies are simple and the lyrics deep. These are the products of many years of songwriting and studying the influences of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, James Blake, Kwabs, The XX, Arcade Fire, Active Child, Novo Amor, Kevin Garret, Jack Johnson, Kris Kristofferson and many others. I began songwriting in October of 2015, production in December of 2015 and completed the album in February 2016. I am naturally eclectic and fusion oriented in my creative behaviors and I hope that is reflected in the music. The theme of this album is really about the experiences and feelings one encounters when finding their way home again after a long journey abroad, it is a piece centered in reflective renewal.
I am so stoked to say that each song on the album is complete! 100% written and produced :) I have been recording in our tiny one bedroom apartment using Logic Pro, an Audio Technica AT-2020 Condenser Microphone and my Takamine Acoustic Guitar piped through my Boss RC-300 looper pedal that doubled as my audio interface. I personally completed the instrumentation and composition for each track. I have layered every vocal, laid down every guitar and bass track, and played every synth pattern in the album. The recording process was done in a very personal and intimate space on purpose: I wanted to really have the soul of our first home together to permeate into the recording itself. I am a big believer that the space, regardless of its acoustics, has a profound affect on the sound of the album and I hope that rings true for the listener.
I also personally designed every graphic associated with the album including the album cover, booklet and poster. The design theme pulled directly from captured moments spent in the great outdoors. The poster backdrop is a mosaic of memories I have had with people I love in places like Big Bear, Joshua Tree, Snow Canyon, Zion’s National Park, Lucerne Valley, Encintas and many more breathtaking sites along the California coast, Hawaiian islands and the Utah mountains. Most of the photos were taken by my wife, Karen, who is an amazing landscape photographer and a beautiful one at that. I purposefully mixed these images with a minimalist design element, to bring home the feeling of sweet simplicity and true connection that these spots inspire. I wish for the design to truly allow the transcendent experiences and emotions felt while in the great outdoors to envelop the experience of the viewer.
With the songs finished, all that remains is Mixing, Mastering and Manufacturing the CD! I have decided to use an incredible company called Diskmakers for the CD duplication and am lined up to work with Audio Engineer, Aaron Watene, to complete its mixing and mastering by the final week of march. CD production must begin on the first day of April to receive the 500 copies by the release date of April 29th. Posters and other supporting merchandise will also be printed during the first two weeks of April. The purpose of this Kickstarter is to fund the final finishing push.
Digital Album Download
An instant download of the full album and pdfs of the album booklet will be emailed directly to you on the release date!
Personally Signed CD
I will sign and ship a copy of the album directly to you!
Personally Signed Poster
I will sign a ship a copy of the album release poster directly to you!
Outside Looking In Limited Edition T-Shirt
A limited edition Outside Looking In T-Shirt will be shipped directly to you!
VIP Pass to The Album Release Show
A VIP pass to the album release show on April 29th, 2016 at the District in Redlands, CA, will be emailed directly to you! You will be brought up on the stage at the concert and it will be my honor to introduce and thank you for your contribution. Travel fare is not included.
Music Video Cover
Send me a request of any cover or mashup and I will make a music video personalized and sent only to you!
Original Art Piece
I have incredible artist friends. Paula Gasparini-Santos, Alli Rath, Roger W Tran, and many amazing friends at The Lemonade Stand Artist Collective were given the album ahead of time and asked to make original pieces of art inspired by the album. You will receive a piece from one of these artists shipped directly to you.
Solo House Concert
If you live in CA, AZ, NM, OR, WA, HI, ID, or UT we will plan a date where I will come and do a solo house concert for you and your friends in your living room! I will sing songs from the album and any other music requests that you may have! Travel fares are not included in the package and will be worked out with you when planning the concert.
Special Thanks Section of the Album Print
In the album booklet there is a page dedicated to specifically thank you for your support. Your name will be on that page. My gratitude for you will be etched in every copy of this CD that will ever be distributed from now and forever more.
Album Printing and Duplication - $2000.00
T-Shirt Printing - $800.00
Mixing and Mastering - $500.00
Poster Printing - $350.00
Shipping - $200.00
This Kickstarter will run from March 9th to March 24th, 2016 with the concerted goal of raising $4000.00
Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and Mastering sessions will be from on March 25th to March 30th 2016 with Audio Engineer, Aaron Watene
Album, Poster and T-Shirt Print Orders
We will be using some incredible companies to do our Album manufacturing as well as out poster and t-shirt printing. Diskmakers will be manufacturing 500 copies of the Outside Looking In Album complete with booklets and covers. Next Day Flyer will be printing our limited edition posters and Custom Ink will be printing out limited edition T-Shirts. We start this process on April 1st, 2016, to have all of the prints finished and shipped in time for the Album Release on April 29th, 2016.
Online Distribution of Album
Distrokid will be distributing the album to every online store imaginable. We will begin this process on April 1st, 2016, as it takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks to end up on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon. We will also be distributing our VIP passes to our $500 and $1000 Backers in time for the Album Release Party on April 29th.
Arrival of CD’s and Merchandise
The CD's and merchandise should arrive within 2 weeks of ordering. We will be checking the mail faithfully on a daily basis to make sure they are in on time for shipment.
Release of Album Online
Outside Looking In will be officially released online on April 29th, 2016. We will be sending Digital Downloads to all of our backers on this date.
Album Release Show
On the evening of April 29th, 2016 (from 8:30pm - 11:30pm) we will be having the Album Release Party at The District Redlands! It is going to be an amazing show with a full band and some amazing musical friends who will also play during the night. Those backers with VIP passes will be invited on stage, introduced and thanked for their contributions.
Shipping of CD’s and Merchandise and Rewards to Backers
By May 6th, 2015 we will have shipped out all the rewards to our $25, $50 and $100 backers. $500 and $1000 backers will also receive this part of their reward. It will be an awesome week of signing posters, cd's and packaging them all up with T-Shirts to send out to all of you.
Original Art Shipping
By May 30th, all original art will be shipped to our $500 and $1000 Backers.. ever.. so.. carefully.
Music Video Cover Month
In June, 2016, I will be personally making music videos for every $500 backer. It will be a month long of camera time!
Solo House Concerts
We will begin to contact each of our $1000 backers by June 15th, 2016, to schedule a house concert and to begin planning the details! The goal is to have all six of them done before January, 2017! I will do my absolute best to completely accommodate the desired timing for each concert and we want to get them scheduled as quickly as possible to lessen the probability of scheduling conflicts.
We have reached our goal of $4000 and are so grateful and stoked!! If we can get to $6000 we will have enough to produce a SUPER high quality music video for one of the songs on the album to launch the album in Style! Filming will take place in April 2016 in Southern California and the Music Video will be ready to Debut by May 2016.
Risks and challenges
The major challenge I will have to overcoming is the execution of the house concert and music video rewards by the deadlines set. My wife and I will be moving to Colorado in June, and so it will be a busy and transitional time for us. If there is any problem whatsoever in not getting to the execution of these items on time, I will be personally reaching out to each of the backers at those levels and informing them of any new timelines set for them to receive the rewards that will complete their packages.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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