Crowdfunding Your Dreams by Tracy Vignati

Creativity comes in many different forms especially in music.  There is the sideman, the highly schooled and/or skilled player who can read anything put in front of him or her, knows every scale, every mode and every key of every song that has ever been written and can delivery on a dime paid by someone else for their services.  Then there is the creator, the inventor of songs and compositions, forever searching for a means to bring such creations to fruition, the constant search for a way to record in order for their music to be shared with the world.  In the current times where record labels are are bleeding internally and not signing new talent, what does one do?  Where does the indie artist turn in the quest for finding the means to record?  Family?  Friends?  Business associates?  New friends they haven't met yet?  Fans?  YES!  

I have recorded and self-funded 3 albums from a solo, jazz vocal album to my current creation of a new genre we call Gypsybilly, all funded by blood, sweat and tears and indeed, a lot of tears.  For anyone who is the creator musician, you know when it is time to create and put your songs or compositions into some kind of tangible form.  For me, that time has come again.  I first heard of crowd funding a few years ago on Ken Rutkowski's "Business Rockstars" and was astonished by the fact that people were actually "cyber panhandling" for money!  Being an Air Force brat to a career man father, I had a glaze of pride that could not be removed by the finest of cleansers.  My ego was far too fragile to entertain that kind of activity.  I spoke with my best friend about this who told me I was crazy for not exploring this and launching a campaign.  I assumed this type of thing was only for entrepreneurs anyway and that an artist would be considered a joke for trying to raise funds to record a new album!  After she "ripped me a new one" and being the nerd that I am, I decided to do some of research, drop the ego and see what this whole crowd-funding thing was really about.  

A fellow artist friend in the children's music business launched a campain to record their 7th album with the most popular of crowd funding websites, Indiegogo.  They set a fund raising goal of $15,000 in 45 days.  I followed their campaign progress via Facebook and their profile on Indiegogo and could not believe the success.  They raised $17,010 in just 45 days.  There are many success stories like theirs.  After seeing the success of my friend's campaign and of others, I saw the light and decided it was time to come up with a plan.  Last month, we wrote a script and shot our campaign video.  I found a free script writing program online, borrowed a friend's video camera and shot a 4 minute video.  Believe me, it is so much more work than I thought.  Imagine two musicians serving as screenwriters, actors, DP, set designer and craft services all with our own little production crew of 2.  It was like Ralph Kramden and Eddie Norton trying to make a movie.  It was hilarious but well worth it.  We will launch our campaign mid January 2016, just before the NAMM Show.  

Indiegogo is about expanding your network, engaging your fans, reaching out to your community  and including people in your journey of the creative process.  Social media is such an amazing tool.  People will share your posts and those people will share and so on.  There are people right now sitting on their sofas in their living rooms with money they would like to spend on something of value.  Maybe it would be the most exciting thing in the world for someone to have their name in the liner notes of an album.  Maybe someone always wanted to be a musician but was pressured to go into another field and wants to support musicians and artists.  People love to help.  It is the way we are wired as human beings.

As quoted by Daisaku Ikeda:

"Art is the cry of the soul from the core of one's being.  Creating and appreciating art set free the joyous soul trapped deep within us.  That is why art causes such joy.  Art, quite aside from any question of skill or its lack, is the emotion, the pleasure of expressing one's life exactly as it is.  Those who see such art are moved by its passion, its strength, its intensity and its beauty.  That is why it is impossible to separate fully human life from art."  ~Daisaku Ikeda

We are musicians.  We are artists and we matter.  Our occupations are equally important to those who save lives by means of a scalpel, an acquittal or an investment.  Music saves lives.  Music creates peace.  We are all interconnected in this vast Universe governed by the law of cause and effect.  To make the cause to create will certainly have a positive manifest effect.  I am confident that I will reach my Indiegogo campaign goal and continue to make music to share with the world.  You can too.