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Tenzin Chopak Studio Album Recording

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UPDATE 6/29/24
Dear awesome friends,
Since we began this Gofundme we've had many very generous contributions come in through other channels outside this platform. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated in any way, here and elsewhere. Our original goal was 20,000, and we've adjusted the goal here on Gofundme to 12,000 to reflect what we still need to complete our project. We're well over half way funded, and about to enter the home stretch, needing around 7500 more to take us all the way home to the physical product.
We had an amazing time at Parlor Production Studios recording the core band tracks with Ethan Jodziewicz on bass, Mark Raudabaugh on drums, and Emmett Scott on grand piano and other keys. Some of the main vocals happened at that time as well, with the rest of the lead vocals recorded in February at Secret Woods Studio in Nashville.

Here's Mark, Ethan, Tenzin, Emmett at Parlor Studio

Since then, we've had the incredible good fortune to have Ruth Moody (of The Wailin' Jennys) on harmony vocals, Courtney Hartman on harmony vocals and guitar, and Maya De Vitry on harmony vocals all recorded. These three women are singer songwriters of such power, and each of them have created so much music over the years that has profound personal meaning to me.

Here's Ruth Moody laying down her vocals at Secret Woods Studio in June!

We'll have one more special guest recording with us in July, then it's on to mixing and mastering in August, and then producing the physical album and releasing it. Thank you so much to everyone for your continued support, below you'll find the original introduction to the Gofundme. Now that we're nearing the finish line, I'll be making more updates as we get closer.
Welcome, I appreciate each and every one of you from my heart.

This is a fundraiser for a beautiful opportunity I have to record a studio album in Nashville, TN at Parlor Productions, with a truly amazing producer/musician Ethan Jodziewicz (Aoife O'Donovan, Sierra Hull, Milk Carton Kids) and an incredible band including Ethan on bass, my dear friend Emmett Scott (Big Mean Sound Machine, New Planets, Max Childs, Felix Free) on grand piano, Mark Raudabaugh (Sierra Hull, Donna the Buffalo) on drums and percussion, and some very special guests.
I feel that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm reaching out for your support.
A little further below is a bit of the story of how this project came together and some words about what it means to me.
Photo: Tenzin and producer/bassist Ethan Jodziewicz

If you choose to support this project, I'll be regularly sharing updates and give you a window into the process. A contribution of $10 is a pre-order of the digital download of this album, $20 or more also includes a digital download of the Tenzin Chopak Live at Red Newt album released in 2023 that I’ll send shortly after you contribute.

Where does the money go?
This fundraiser is meant to cover the cost of paying the musicians for studio and rehearsal time, the producer, the engineers, the rental of the studio, the mixing and mastering of the tracks, and some of the creation of the physical product. If we can put some of this money toward promotion that would be great, but we might go for a stretch goal if we hit this target.

Something of the story...
If you're here, it's likely because you've been encouraging and supporting me as a musician and artist over the years by coming to live performances, purchasing recordings and art, and nurturing me in all of the ways that have led me to this moment.
You may also know that even though I have poured my heart into music through the years, I have also been working as a full time in-home dementia caregiver. Recently, some opportunities in music have begun to arise, and at the urging of family and friends I've stepped back from full time care work to step onto the path of full time music and art. Even though I am prepared with the music and the spirit to give my whole heart, it requires a lot of courage for me. Why not continue to do care work and fit music in around the edges of my life? There are many causes, not to mention artists and musicians, that deserve support. Why do I think I deserve help? The spouse of an elder I recently attended to set me straight, and I now understand I've been asking the wrong questions. Music is the sound of my heart, it's the sound of my life being lived, and care work has brought me to feel deeply that our lives pass in the blink of an eye. This elder helped me to understand that I must follow my heart with music while I have the chance. The time is now.

In August of 2022 I had just come to the end of a journey (my person passed) with an Alzheimer's in-home care case and about to take up another. I was in a particularly raw and tender place. On a beautiful summer afternoon my wife and I went to see the amazing Aoife O'Donovan play in the Finger Lakes region of NY at the invitation of her bassist (and my friend) Ethan Jodziewicz. I feel that Ethan is one of the most gifted musicians I've ever known, an inspiring and brilliant soul. We were visiting with Ethan backstage when he said something to me that was like a silent earthquake in my world. He said that he had long thought of producing a Tenzin Chopak album. If this sounds ordinary and you don't understand what the big deal is, then you'll just have to trust me that this was a profound thing for me. I took him seriously, but had no idea how such a thing could happen.

I decided to take a first step by recording a live album including recent songs I had written but not released, to give myself a target to hit, as a kind of preparation. So in November of 2022, my beloved friend Emmett Scott and I recorded the Tenzin Chopak Live at Red Newt album in front of an audience. I knew then that there was a path beneath my feet and that maybe I could follow it, but I didn't know how that might unfold.

I want to tell you that Emmett Scott has been instrumental in my evolution as a musician and human, and he has been my dearest friend these last several years. My love and gratitude for his friendship feels boundless. If you've seen us perform together or listened to the live album we made, you might understand what I mean. I can't believe my good fortune to look over and see him there when we play together, and I am deeply happy he'll be on this studio recording.

Photo: Tenzin and Emmett Scott (by Aaron Winters)

As the seed that Ethan planted grew, the caregiving work journeyed through yet another cycle. Emmett and I quietly released the live album, played several concerts, and new songs emerged. In the Autumn of 2023, as my main caregiving case passed, I was at a crossroads. Family and friends began to urge me to think seriously about allowing myself to commit to music. Ethan, Emmett, Mark Raudabaugh and I booked the Nashville studio for a week in January, and I stepped away from full time care work. In early December I travelled the twelve and a half hours in one shot to Ethan's door. We spent the next few days going through all the music, picked twelve songs, arranged them, and here we are with me writing this and reaching out for help.

As I said in my social media post announcing all this recently, I can't do this if I don't trust my heart and step boldly forward.

I also can't make this album and take this step without the emotional and material support of my community. If it weren't for you, in all of the ways, I wouldn't be here. I really mean it. Anything helps, and it is all so deeply appreciated.

I promise to give my all to make truly beautiful and meaningful music in a hard world, music that is a doorway to a heart awareness without center or edge. Supporting this step for me is also supporting all my steps ever after. I am grateful for all you have offered me up to this moment and this place in my life, and I am grateful for you now.

Photo: Ethan Jodziewicz and Tenzin Chopak (with the old dog Zoe) house concert, Ithaca 2013, by Jay Rogan



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Tenzin Chopak
Ithaca, NY

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