Crowd Funding Campaigns of the Week: Secret Sisters, Callie Hopper, SHEL
While the advent of music streaming has changed the music business overall more than any technological advance in recent history, it could be argued that for roots music, where the album still trumps the single, it is crowd funding that has been the most impactful. Sites like Kickstarter and Pledge Music allow roots artists to skip the labels and put the funding of their projects directly into their listeners hands, often with higher fan interaction and more personal rewards as a bonus. In this ongoing series, we’ll take a weekly look at the most interesting roots music crowd funding campaigns running right now. This week’s edition is all about the ladies, with three projects from a trio of Americana’s youngest stars.
The duo comprised of not so secret real life sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers have been impressing fans in the roots music community since their 2010 Dave Cobb-produced self-titled debut album for Universal Republic Records brought their close harmonies and throwback country style to the public eye. But after a second album, The Secret Sisters found themselves dropped from their label and facing a new page in their careers. Fortunately for them, they had a big fan in fellow Americana singer Brandi Carlile. Now The Secret Sisters are in the midst of a Pledge Music campaign to fund their new album, which Carlile will produce. Just two days in, the group reached 50% of their funding goal. In addition to various ways to obtain the new album, their campaign also offers rewards like handwritten lyric sheets, a 6 album vinyl collection of favorites selected by the band themselves, and a house concert.
At just 19 years of age, Callie Hopper is far from a household name on the Americana scene, but the Columbia, Tennessee, native has been turning heads in venues throughout Nashville and its outlying suburbs for the past two years, touring behind her debut album Notes on Love and Such. Now Hopper has taken to Kickstarter to fund her Sophmore album, titled Out of the Shadows. Hopper currently has over half of the money needed to fulfill her $10,000 funding goal and is offering in addition to the usual rewards, one of the more unusual backer rewards going, a video of her guitarist performing a song of the backers’ choice while impersonating Kermit the Frog. If someone doesn’t claim that one and ask for “Crazy Train”, there’s no justice.
Unlike this week’s other two offerings, Colorado-born and Nashville transplanted sister act SHEL isn’t seeking funding to record a new album. They already raised the money needed for that through a successful campaign of experimental offerings last year called The Laboratory Sessions. Instead, SHEL is pre-selling their new album, Just Crazy Enough, through Pledge Music, with some bonus goodies offered alongside. Co-produced by Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart and Grammy winner Brent Maher, Just Crazy Enough will represent the next step for a band that has become known for their DIY approach. In addition to pre-orders of the album, fans can also get add-on rewards like signed drumheads, one of vocalist Eva Holbrook’s signature top hats, and a Google Hangout piano lesson with the band’s keyboardist Hannah Holbrook.