I'm writing to graciously ask you for a helping hand. I fully understand and appreciate that there are many causes on here that are infinitely more worthy of financial support - however, if you have enjoyed my music for a while and would consider being a patron to an artist, here is the situation:
For the past 5+ years, I've been fortunate enough make a simple, modest living from music (with occasional temporary jobs on the side to help stay afloat during quieter periods). It's been a journey of writing, recording and releasing albums on some lovely record labels – alongside playing countless concerts across Europe. Sometimes performing headline shows and sometimes opening for artists who I've admired for many years (The Album Leaf, S. Carey, Do Make Say Think, Kurt Vile, Ólafur Arnalds...to name just a few). As is the case for all musicians I know, it has ups and downs like an intense roller-coaster ride - but in the end, it's always worth it and is something that I feel tremendously blessed and grateful for - particularly in recent weeks.
I've managed to complete each record with the help of some beautiful friends who have worked either for free or at a greatly reduced rate. These releases have then been put out into the world by some kind-hearted label owners, who do so with a passion for the music and a belief that it deserves to be heard, above all else.
But like many long-time musicians, this occupation is often a financial tight rope walk, even for the most diligent people.
Living as a musician has undoubtedly always been precarious and difficult, but the digital age does bring some new hurdles (and positives) into the mix. I currently have around 42,000 monthly Spotify listeners, for example (not a colossal amount, I know, but it does at least prove that my cat isn't the only one listening). It's incredible that so many people listen to these songs that I channelled my heart into creating and I do feel sincerely grateful and honoured that strangers across the world give this music their attention. But when each stream is roughly $0.0038 per listen (excluding the distributor and labels' percentages that are deservedly deducted for their valuable work, plus all the costs to cover from creating, producing & promoting the recordings), artists and independent labels can find themselves in slippery situations. These services appear to be free, but often come at a cost for the ones who supply the content. I'm certainly not against streaming as there are some undeniable benefits too (let me stress that point) - but I do feel the need to mention these facts, as even close friends have been surprised when the details of this topic have come up in conversation.
Many kind strangers at shows have enthusiastically said at the merch table that they will support by streaming online instead. It is a beautiful gesture and one that I'm touched by, because I clearly see the good intention behind it. However, in this case, it does not provide much financial assistance to continue with the costs of an artistic project – which is why this point feels relevant to mention at all.
I've previously been told by some close friends (and my own internal voice) to not publicly address this – for a genuine fear of coming across as ungrateful, embittered or unnecessarily negative (I'm not, truly) – but here it seems justifiable to simply be fully open & honest about the reality of surviving as an artist amongst the internet's growing ocean of content.
I believe in the inherent goodness of human beings, and when such situations are expressed honestly and directly, the response can be beautiful. It's not easy to ask for help and does not tend to feel particularly good. But I have given much deep thought about doing this campaign and finally decided to trust my intuitive feelings by publishing it.
So, this leads me onto the vital point... a new record!
Since October 2017, I have been working on my fifth full-length album. I've been working constantly, meticulously and patiently, to create what I'm sure is my strongest album to date (featuring contributions by some incredible guest musicians). It's been a long road but the end is now within touching distance. With the final overdubs being done right now, brings the next stage of mixing and mastering to fully complete this year long project – a process that I do not have the expertise, experience or equipment to do myself. Everything is almost ready. I have been given an amazing deal by a superb, well respected mixing engineer – but I do not have the personal funds to complete this alone.
I have applied for music funding multiple times, without approval, so that doesn't seem to be a feasible route to pursue.
So, with all that said: I'm now asking you for help. If you have previously thought about becoming a patron of the arts, now would be a wonderful time to begin.
The above goal of £1500 is only about 3/4 of what the final album recording, mixing & mastering costs will be. It's the bare minimum. If we reach it together, then I can focus without stress to put the finishing touches to the recordings. If we go above it and reach £2000 - 3000, then I can be absolutely overjoyed and hunt you down for a big hug.
At this point you may be thinking: "Hey Will, this sounds good, but what about the rewards?"
Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe campaigns stay open for as long as the organiser chooses. Vitally, they also allow withdrawals to be made, regardless of the amount that is raised. The campaign functions more like an open-ended page that enables anyone to be a patron. Essentially, it is for those who already feel a reward from the music itself and would like an opportunity to return something in exchange. You, as the listener, do not owe me. But here is an opening to help me continue sharing and creating sound, should you want to take it.
If you have been streaming my music for a while now (every release – with the exception of one special vinyl EP - is available to stream), attended a free concert, downloaded an album from a torrent, or would simply like to help ensure that this music project can keep going forward into the future – your contribution would really mean a lot.
My adulthood in music has been an absolute blessing. I hope that, with your help, I will be able to put the finishing touches to this ambitious album - and continue for a while longer. If you, or someone you know, is able to contribute something, you'll help to ensure that I can share more music for many years to come.