In the summer that I turned 17, going into my senior year at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus, Ohio, I never would've guessed that taking one trip to Guitar Center would be the catalyst for the rest of my life. I took the Ibanez Acoustic Guitar “Start Up Pack" down to my basement bedroom, taught myself to read online tablature, and for three to five hours a day over the next several years, I dedicated myself to learning how it worked. It didn't take long before I tried my hand at singing (if you can call it that) to go with my erratic playing.
My first year of college was much the same, only instead of annoying my parents and my sister, it was my dorm roommates turn. I purposely left the door open, because on the other side of the hallway there were 30+ freshman girls I was eager to impress. Needless to say, somehow that was my first realization that music had an impact on people, regardless of how bad I sounded.
I was a lacrosse player on scholarship at The Ohio State University, and our days were wrought with practice, speed school, and weight lifting, sometimes in the same day a few times a week. On top of the normal stresses and pressures of classes, homework, tests, and social life, it's nearly a year-round dedication that I didn't cope well with. In my first two and a half years, I tore the ACL ligament in my left knee three times. I started popping pain killers left and right, drinking and eating excessively, skipping classes, failing tests, had a break up with my first "love", stopped going to knee rehabilitation, eventually was kicked off the lacrosse team for fighting and lack of dedication, and my Grandfather was murdered all at once. I bottled my emotions so that friends and family didn't notice, and I slipped heavily into depression. That was the darkest point of my life. The only way I could express how I felt was writing and playing songs that I began to create. I eventually got the nerve to do my first open mic night, playing other people's songs, and although I was terrified (and I still sounded terrible), the release of playing those songs was the self-help I needed.
After a year or so of occasional open mics, I grew confident enough to book a series of shows at a local bar, still performing other cover songs that I had learned. One evening, midway through my set, the heavily demanded “Freebird” was yelled by a group of bikers. I said "I don't play that song" and opted for John Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland” instead. Probably not the best choice. They heckled to the point where I had to stop playing and get off stage. I was devastated. I stopped performing in public for a year after that night. I debated whether I could go through with performing again for awhile, before making a deal with myself that I would work harder than I ever have, until I was ready to perform with thick skin. I practiced relentlessly, and learned the importance of playing the songs for myself, and not just for others. My first open mic back, I played some of my own songs and walked away feeling like I left everything on stage, receiving my first sincere applause to boot. I realized, then and there, that I might have something worth striving for. That was thirteen years ago.
Two years later, I started performing under the name Whetherman, right after I flunked out of college.
Now here I am, still without a diploma, but I’ve got a masters in musical performance and recording after playing over 800 shows in 42 states, across eight countries, and releasing seven full-length albums. How have I managed to get through the roadblocks that have come my way in the 12 years since then? Other than endless persistence, I’ve been supported by people like you. This is what I’m here on earth to do. If you believe in the struggle that independent musicians go through, maybe you'll find this project worth being a part of.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for watching.
And thank you for your time.
For the last 10 years under the moniker Whetherman, I’ve remained completely independent. No booking agents, record deals, management, contracts, publicists, website developers, street teams or the like, and I’ve released seven albums. This campaign is an opportunity for you to be a part of my eighth record, This Land, and help fund its recording, mastering, distribution to CD and Vinyl, working with a PR company for the first time, as well as printing new T-shirts, creating a lyric book, re-ordering merchandise, and updating my tour gear.
What can Kickstarter do for you?
My first campaign was back in 2011, and 96 backers raised $4,071. This afforded me enough to trade in my Saturn Ion for a Honda Element, for my first nationwide tour. I eventually moved into it, and traveled for nearly four years and over 100,000 miles. Living on the road took my career to new heights with a nationwide fan base, real tour experience, and moments that gave way to three studio albums. When my wife joined me in 2015, we lasted about 6 months in the Element before making a decision to upgrade. Now, we've been touring and living in our Sprinter Van "Black Betty" for the last year and 3 months. It's simple. Without that first campaign, I could not be where I am today.
The second campaign was in 2013, and 258 backers raised $15,605. This enabled The Whetherman Trio to tour in Europe for the first time, playing 32 shows in just over a month. The songs were welcomed with open arms, and it was an experience that has permanently shaped our lives in more ways than music can. We grew as people, as friends, and we learned valuable lessons about culture, the impact of music, and about who we are. And since that 2013 trip, I’ve gone back twice, touring throughout the UK and Western Europe performing 54 shows.
So you’ve self-funded the first seven albums, why do you need help with the eighth?
I’m asking for your support because I've never been able to afford working with a PR company to properly promote an album and BE HEARD by an audience outside of my reach. The beauty of working with a company you can trust, is that they introduce you to their network of folks for reviews and interviews on major and independent blogs/magazines/websites, print media, and online and social media advertising. For 'This Land', I'm so excited to be working with Green Light Go Publicity. In their hands, this album will get the publicity that it is due while take my career to the next level. However, I cannot accomplish that on my own.
Green Light Go Publicity
$15,500 seems like a lot for an album!
Actually, most people would be shocked at the usual costs of recording an album. Studio time, mastering, and getting music to CD and Vinyl form costs quite a lot of money. Most of the costs are PR related as you will find below. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a relationship with Chromatic Studios for the last eight years, and this will be our fourth record together. We have a system of recording that minimizes the time spent, and because I do a large part of the engineering, that also cuts costs down. Anything that goes over the mark will go towards more PR work ($2000/mo), merchandise ($1500), live video sessions for promotions ($200/each) and a Concerts in Your Home subscription for booking house shows in 2017/2018 ($300).
Here’s how each piece of the $16,000 pie breaks down:
NEW Merchandise on the way!
+ *NEW ITEM* Scenic Woodblock Printed Tee/Tank Shirt
+ *NEW ITEM* Whetherman This Land Lyric Book(Image coming soon!)
+ *NEW ITEM* Handwritten Framed Lyrics (Image coming soon!)
+ *NEW ITEM* Polaroid from the studio (Image coming soon!)
+ *NEW ITEM* Postcards from the Road: Haikus and Poems (Image coming soon!)
+ CD Re-orders of Whetherman Live (2016), Seeds for Harvest (2015) & Streams and Pastures (2013)
This campaign is tailored to fit many demographics, keeping in mind the constantly changing music industry. I completely understand the desire to keep everything neatly knit in your phone, or a CD case, or if you prefer the beautiful old sound of a record, or creative merchandise, or personal experiences and all combinations in between. This is a chance for you to support the music DIRECTLY.
Thank you for taking the time to support independent music!
Risks and challenges
There aren't many challenges to this campaign, aside from raising the funds. This being my third Kickstarter, I know how to be efficient when it comes to fulfilling rewards, having a detailed promotion plan, and I've set ample time for all the items involved to arrive on time.
There is only one risk that is out of my control. That being the expectations I have for the PR company's results could be less than desired, although whatever they produce can still be highly useful. That risk is well worth it to get my music heard on a larger scale!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)