CLICKBAIT EXPLANATION:If you like my music, you can be a part of the process by giving $1 or more per month to help me continue making music. Side effects include my abiding thankfulness and an increased quantity of my music, which you like.
Shameless Pitch: Sample the full back catalogue offered at the $5 Patron level here!
HBO 6-SEASON EXPLANATION:
You may know me as the self-proclaimed "Favorite Blue-Haired Weirdo"--a socially awkward songster-slash-Prius traveler-slash-professional couchsurfer. Chances are pretty good that if you know me, I know you. Somehow, wonderfully, over the course of three years smacking a guitar around the United States and the Baja Peninsula, the community around my music has evolved on a mutual first-name basis.
If you've been to my house concerts, cruise ship performances, or coffeehouse shows anywhere on this continent, in encountering me, you've encountered an artist without emotional skin. Songs and banter present an invitation to feel. To feel not alone. To feel angry, sad, jubilant, hopeful, heartbroken...and most importantly? To feel seen.
Five years ago, my journey into songwriting was born out of a need for catharsis. Tentative hands on piano keys, stubborn voice interrupting a quiet room. A shout from a window in a high tower: please see me.
What a gift it was to discover peeling myself apart to be seen, reciprocated immediately in those who witnessed it feeling seen themselves.
Let's talk about the Earl of Southampton. His name is Henry Wriothesley. You've probably never heard of him. But have you heard of Willy Shakespeare? Heck right you have. Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, was Shakespeare's most famous patron. There's that word--just like the word Patreon, but missing an e. Back when people like Shakespeare and Michelangelo and Tyler Durden were just walking the earth creating art unsupervised, they were sponsored (translation: kept from starvation) by people who wanted to have a hand in the arts by supporting the endeavors of artists. Which means that, by proxy, the Earl of Southampton is part of the reason we have so many sonnets and tragedies (he also got some sonnets written about him...lucky bastard).
Anyway, Patreon is bringing the Renaissance back around, allowing artists to leave their towers of mystery and isolation, to throw open the doors of artistic process and stand with hands open in imploring and invitation.
So here I am.
Here you are.
If you've been to my concerts, you know I offer my music for donation. It is my joy and my desire to be able to let people pay for my art, rather than make them. In order to make this possible, I create and package all my art myself. I do as much of the music production on my own as I can, recording on a tiny USB microphone and a little keyboard in whatever room is available to me (I've recorded in the hulls of cruise ships, in family dining rooms, coat closets, and most recently in my aunt's laundry room). I buy the raw materials for CDs off Amazon and stamp the front and back of each CD cover and CD label. I burn CDs one by one on my MacBook that's so old it still has a CD burner. When I had shirts available for purchase, I bought old T-shirts from thrift stores and spray painted them with stencils I cut myself.
While it's cool to have my literal fingerprints on every piece of merchandise I have, there are drawbacks. The shirts faded pretty fast, the stamps sometimes don't print clearly, and the CDs don't retain their data--when you put them into your car CD player, they display as "Track 1 -Untitled." I don't feel comfortable taking people's money, in any quantity, without being able to give the highest quality product I can offer. But I've been at an impasse the last year or so where product is moving faster than I can keep up with, yet the profit margin isn't enough to pay for higher quality merchandise without taking away from what I need to put toward my existing expenses.
I could fix this by setting a price on my CDs instead of offering them for donation. But I've been to enough concerts where I felt guilty and ashamed at not being able to afford $10 for my friend's CD. I never want a price wall to come between my art and someone who needs it.
A quick fix I've found for this is through Kickstarter campaigns. In the last four years, I've had three successful Kickstarters, one of which was a desperate emergency when my car was totaled in a hit-and-run, after which my community rallied together with such love and force that I was held aloft, expenses paid, and was able to leave on tour the following month with a new car.
Between purchasing the promised materials the fundraiser was purposed for, as well as fulfilling backers' rewards, Kickstarter funds evaporate quickly.
Rather than invest the energy into draining my community dry with a Kickstarter campaign every time I want to release an album or go on tour, I'm trying Patreon.
A new album is set to release in autumn. As of June, I'm back on the road, touring indefinitely! And, as much as I love trust-falling into my community to couchsurf like I have been for nearly a year now, I can't even begin to describe the level of stability that would come with being able to afford my own living space.
If you know me, you know I hustle. I take pride in putting my head down and doing the work necessary for making these dreams happen. I am incredibly fortunate to have a phenomenal community of fans, friends, and family behind me, all of whom have operated as a safety net too many times to count. I am privileged to even be in a position where I can ask for support in exchange for what I have to offer. But luck and privilege only get you so far, just like hustling on your own only gets you so far.
If you know me, you know I'll continue to make art no matter what happens. Whether I get $1 pledged per month, or $5000, I'll keep writing my songs and making my videos, asking questions, offering a safe space and platform for people to gather and feel together, and seeking deep connections wherever I go. But, as has been the case consistently through my life and career, I can't do it alone.
And hey--I know lots of people in my community are just as broke as I am. If you're strapped for cash, please don't become a Patron. Take care of yourself first! Watch my videos, stick around on my Instagram and Facebook, and download my music on NoiseTrade. You are enough. Just having you on this journey alongside me means the world to me.
If you know me, you know we have a wild ride ahead.
If you don't know me--you do now.
Thanks for being here. Thanks for being you.
Your favorite blue-haired weirdo loves you.