I am so excited to invite you to become part of our journey to support us in completing the “RISING” debut album professional recording project, so we may successfully bring this music to you and the world. Please help us with the financial cost to finish this important work, that we can share it in a world that really needs THIS music at THIS time. Please become part of our creative support community who LOVES music and art, who values and support our work, who is excited to receive the gift of this music, who understands its necessity to feed the most essential parts of our beings, our world.
Funds will cover the remaining recording and production cost of the album: recording studio fees and sound engineering cost (100 hours of estimated remaining hours of recording at $6,000), paying musicians (100 hours of rehearsal, music and instrumentation preparation, arrangement cost, recording session work at $5,000), post-production editing (about 5 hours per song) and mixing & mastering of 16 songs (about 6-8 hours per song depending on the number of tracks/instruments/vocals at $4,000). Please know, that careful conservative budgeting and a detailed efficient project roadmap guides our high-quality work. ANY donations and contributions of any kind are gratefully appreciated. We are happy to give ALL donors our digital CD release as a sent out thank you, once completed.
As independent creatives, who dedicate our lives to our calling as artists and musicians, we make the conscious choice to stay independent artists in a complex music industry to protect and maintain our own uncompromised creative rights, the ownership of our work, and creative control. We do this to live and continue to do our work without compromising or sacrificing our integrity, dignity or humanity, so we can continue to create in a safe, healthy way, with balance, sanity, and a sustainable human lifestyle and music career, free of unethical business practices. But—this does not give us the financial backing, sponsorship, marketing and promotion of a music industry corporate label. And so, we wholeheartedly depend on you, our soul family of listeners and supporters, who understand the critical role of art and music, who value the deep gifts this music brings, who believes in us and understands the necessity and worth of this material, to help us make this album a reality. Although the music industry landscape has dramatically changed over the past 20 years, having moved away from the market monopoly of major corporate labels, opening online market access to small independent artists, songwriters and musicians receiving sustainable compensation for their recorded work remains lacking. And with the rise of most audio listening happening on streaming platforms now, it’s almost impossible to make the upfront production cost back. For example, it can take up to 1000 streams for an independent artist to actually make a $1…. So, now more than ever, theatre, music and the arts depend on the generosity of benefactors, donor subsidies, commissions and crowdsource funding.
As musicians, we all work 40-60 +hour weeks, often juggling other additional jobs to make the music possible. As a single mom, dedicated to emotionally be available and present for my daughter first, there isn’t extra resources, support, money or THE TIME desperately needed to create. I believe that each person is born with and brings their own unique qualities, gifts and abilities to be of service and meaning to the world. As creatives and musicians, these invisible “creative services” we bring are not necessarily quantifiable tangible $ commodities. Yet—the service music give is essential in every way.
I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone that has been involved in this AMAZING project—this far, who has made it possible and has stood by me and has collaborated and worked with me to bring into being this deep work over the past few years. My gratitude is a blossoming state of grace—that awe that falls upon us unexpectedly and reveal the hidden beauty and wonder of life. In giving thanks—I consciously seek moments of wholeness that help bring this sense of grace back to the world. A presence that brings compassion, mercy and forgiveness, re-connecting us to each other, and to the underlying wholeness of life, especially in a troubled broken time, where everything seems to be falling apart. It is my quiet prayer that we may all re-connect—to ourselves, each other; to make things feel holy again (making us feel our wholeness again) even if just for a fleeting brief moment. Aren’t we most human when we allow ourselves to be touched by the beauty and wonder of the world, when we FEEL the deep gratitude for the life we have been given, for the chance to make a difference, for those whose love surround us? I am so very grateful to have the opportunity and great honor to do this work with the people I respect, admire and love—and to be able to walk this sacred journey with each of you, my soul family of musicians, community and friends.
About: The professional studio recording of this 16-song debut concept album started in September last year at Medicine Whistle Recording Studio engineered by Dan Rhiger and continues at Map Room Recording Studio engineered by Josh Powell and Adam Sweeney here in Portland, Oregon. It is a large concept collection of original songs and compositions written over the past four years. I was fortunate enough to receive full project funding from the unexpected gift of my mother’s life policy $ after she passed away from breast cancer 2 years ago, which enabled the completion of the album’s writing, musical preparation, some arrangement and the beginning production and studio album recording process thus far. We have recorded the beginning foundations of first layers (scratch vocal and leading instrument) of 10 out of the total 16 songs on the album—so about 3/4 of the whole is started. We have some ways to go with the next set of 6 songs in this very complex medium of sound, as we prepare, layer and record each vocal and instrument, each separate track for track. 5 songs are not yet recorded. We have 3 fully completed mixed and mastered songs ready for single release, while currently working on the post-production completion of 2 more.
Please know that your contributions directly help to support the living wages of everyone working together so hard on this project. As singer, songwriter, pianist and producer, I’ve been so blessed and honored to find my soul family of 9+ other master musicians, who has become part of our core crew working on, helping and collaborating with me to bring this music to life and into the world. The core crew includes my co-producer and co-arranger Nevada Jones on piano (when I’m not on the keys myself); my two soul sisters Anna Fritz on cello and Amanda Lawrence on violin and viola (that contributes string arrangements that bring me to tears every time); Bryan Daste on electric base, upright base, peddle steel and sound engineering post-production final mixing/mastering; Rob Smith is on African drums and all percussion; Adam Sweeney, ongoing sound engineer for recording, final edits and mixing; Kate Petak on harp; Simon Schlager guest backup vocal for “Afraid to Show” song, also mixing and mastering; Alexandra Geffel on drums on recording of “Between a Rock and a Heart Place” Katie Sawicki studio engineer for some recording sessions, and my daughter Maya on backup vocals.
Each crew member, including working with my beautiful 12-year-old daughter as singer/songwriter/backup vocals, continue to enrich my life. One of the songs on the album my daughter wrote and we duet it together. Sweetest precious experience in the world! It is a dream to work with each of these multi-talented musicians who are also producers, sound engineers, songwriters and extraordinary artists in their own right. I am so inspired by each. When we come together our individual talents and strengths align and what is born between us is an extraordinary collective magnitude of magic. It has raised the caliber of this work to grow beyond expectation and surprise.
I cannot wait to share all this music with you! Our instrumentation include piano, the Hammond B3, upright and electric base, pedal steel and acoustic guitars, cello, viola, violin, harp, synthesizers, drums and African percussion, sax, bagpipes, and who knows what might still present itself! Oh yeah, and the holy cow bell of course! We are also greatly honored to work with a 20+person South African youth choir called Ndlovu, from Lesotho, South Africa (my homeland—where I was born and raised)—whose guest performances on backup vocals will be featured on a few of the album songs.
The album is a heart and soul bearing. A transparent, vulnerable, deeply revealing, honest, existential embodied life work. The sound is poetic, emotional, raw, gritty, and deep. It is cinematic with an ancient feel, with operatic, classical roots and overtones of musical theatre. It is an innovative integration of several different genres creating an eclectic authentic soul sound all of its own; and bringing a unique blend of African world culture flavor and rhythms with contemporary indie pop vibes and old-school diva soul/gospel.
The album’s concept was born from facing, navigating though, and in time, RISING from the ashes of every aspect of my former life—transmuting and transforming a very difficult and devastating traumatic time and confluence of life events and circumstances. This work was my own deep embodied life/death grappling with these annihilating events, the loss, the grief, the enduring becoming by fire, the being cracked open & stripped to core, facing and embracing every broken dark part of myself and those events, finding the courage to move through and beyond my fears and wounds, to put my life back together piece by piece, to recover, to truly find healing and liberation, to stand back up by transmuting the pain to become my inspiration to RISE, fly, and thrive again.
Nevada Jones received me as my first voice coach four years ago (literally sitting on the demise of my life) when I returned to music—after not writing or playing for 20 years and had given up singing for more than 30 years. I was boo’ed off a national singing competition stage as a 10 year old, told by a judge that “I will never be a professional singer!” And I didn’t sing again, until 4 years ago, when I started to excavate my lost voice and began to reveal and embrace the never seen/acknowledged songwriter/composer and the classically trained pianist I left behind at 15. As an extraordinary composer himself, Nevada has believed in me and stood by me every single day, every step of the way—holding space for me—through every light, dark, wild, intimate, scary and painful part of reclaiming my voice and a music ability/gift I never before even recognized. Nevada has been devotedly by my side with an unequaled supportive kindness—for even the “drowning” parts as I threw myself with wholehearted faith into answering this soul call to write every song and self-produce the album in a swim or drown crash-course learning by doing kinda way.
My intention behind this music is therefore inevitably for it to be an anchor (as music has always been for me) for those who are suffering or in pain, for those who are in dark night of the soul places, or in difficult life circumstances, that this work offers understanding, solidarity, support, comfort, healing, deep soul medicine sustenance to those in need, that it uplifts and inspire, give meaning, depth, beauty, joy, light, passion, creativity, fulfillment, that it breaks down the walls of the heart, the walls of social or cultural divisions, that it opens and moves the heart, restores and bring people in touch with their emotions, to feel, to feed the soul, transform the spirit, inspire healing towards wellness and thriving. I make music to serve humanity, as a healer; to make a difference to everyone I touch.
In time, as we journey together, I promise to tell you MORE of the intimate “inside and back stories” behind every song, and more of the concept/project as a whole, with transparency. I believe (as an African) that this act of transparent storytelling is as important as the songs themselves, that sharing (the inside and back story) to this journey in detail is in fact what re-connects us to one another and in the great web, what sustain us, in a time of great disconnection, where everything seems to be in despair and disparity. Every story of courage helps uplift and strengthen others to find their own strength and resilience. This type of story-ing reconnects us to a living vibrant way of being in the world, with ourselves, with one another, and everything around us, with what is sacred between and around us, in life, in nature, in culture. At the deepest soul level, it is my sacred joy and honor and duty as poet, artist and musician to GIVE this love which inspires, beautifies, connect and unite across all divides.
We are beginning to finish the post-production of the first few songs; excited to share the fruits of our hard labor with you. We look forward to start performing in public post-covid (coming out of this deep creative chrysalis of the past few years) to start playing the very first of our completed songs very soon! Please stay tuned for the official online releases of our first 3 singles in the next couple weeks. I will update when we release. I am working on it!
PS: And please visit Lizelle Marais as Creator on Patreon to become an ongoing member/patron to support this project as well as all the artistic mediums that I work in (music, art & poetry) and gain access to any future private pre-releases of the songs, and become part of this behind-the-scenes intimate support community, while we walk with you towards completion of this project.
Our goal is for the album to release online in April, Spring of 2023. And we dream of and intend to bring this music to audiences internationally for a beginning release tour in Summer 2023.
Why I wrote this music and why Music is so vital at this time? Music sustains and gets us through our darkest most difficult moments. It carries us through the rough places and times. It reminds us that we are not so alone, so misunderstood, so invisible, so unheard and unseen. It allows us to feel and communicate what we feel, that which is unspoken and often silenced. It allows us to find our own voice. It gives us a voice for feeling our feelings, the feelings we’re often unable to express. It makes the world a bearable and better place. We sing and dance and create music when we’re happy, when we’re alone, when we come together, when things are good and when things are hard. It’s the one magical thing that unites and goes across every division and divide.
We do not do this work for our own mere egoic pleasure or self-entertainment. It is a devoted calling, a selfless act of love and service to our community and world. Although it starts with a creative impulse coming through a songwriter, I am humbled every time the sacred power of the music or the muse runs through me, witnessing its ability to instantly transport, transform, uplift, sooth, transmute the listener, becoming the healing balm of everyone it energetically touches, transcending time and space. Before we know it, the songs (our song children) no longer belong to us, and they are always so much bigger than us. We are merely vessels and instruments for that love coming through us, for the magic we create as musicians. The songs become the listener’s, who reads, translate and transmute their own story through that sacred symbolic medium, that song.
When I ask people what they turn to in their darkest moments to sustain them, as well as when they are happy, they always say: “a song, a piece of music, a poem.” These art forms are the most essential “food” that provides sustenance to the human heart and soul. It sustains cultures, holds people and communities together, comforts, unites, give happiness and joy, in a way no other thing or medium does. It gives people the ability to feel, be moved, to reconnect with their hearts, souls, their humanity, with each other, with what is important. Music gives voice to what they can’t, to feel what their unable to voice, access or process, to break down the walls of our defenses, giving us the moral courage to face our fears, our brokenness, to navigate through challenges, and heal and change our lives, to embrace and endure our difficulties, hardships, our struggles and insecurities, our doubts and tribulations. It’s the only real way to feel better, to create a better world, to truly love unconditionally and perhaps arrive at some real fulfillment, joy, peace.
PS: For now, this is a private fundraiser—going out to only my inner circle of kind, trusted supportive friends, family and community—because it includes a sneak peak and taste of our 3 completed, unreleased song. So, please email and share the fundraiser if you want with other trusted friends and community—but please do not share it on any public social media sites or platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) at this time. Once we officially release the first 3 songs as singles ahead of the album—in the next couple weeks—I will update you to open the fundraiser to a larger community.
❤️ Thank you SO much for being part of our journey!
1) Here is a sneak peek link to listen to our first album song “Afraid to Show”
I’m on main vocal and backup vocals. Simon Schlager is guest featured on backup vocals also. Nevada Jones on piano. Anna Fritz is on cello. Amanda Lawrence is on violin and viola. Bryan Daste is on upright base.
This was the very first song I wrote on the album expressing my internal struggle to break through the doubts and fear of showing the music “trapped and consuming me from within” for most of my life. An extremely vulnerable transparent song. Music and lyrics by me, except for one line of music in the chorus by Nevada Jones. Strings and base arrangements done by each musician.
2) Here is the 2nd finished song “Where the Way Up is Down” This is a grief song.
I’m on vocals. Anna Fritz on cello. Kate Petak on harp.
3) Our 3rd completed song is “Between a Rock and a Heart Place”
I’m on main vocals while my daughter Maya and Nevada Jones are on 3-pt harmony backup vocals. Nevada is on piano. Bryan Daste is on electric base and peddle steel guitar. Alexandra Geffel is on drums. Anna Fritz on cello, with Amanda Lawrence on violin and viola.