Crowdfunding Radar: New Projects by Delta Rae, Anne Heaton, and Sammy Kay
Delta Rae press photo
In my last column, I explored three established artists who chose to crowdfund their new albums to retain creative control. Little did I know that, soon after I turned my draft in for that column, what is shaping up to be the biggest roots music crowdfunding campaign in history was just launching. Delta Rae is shattering records, helped by an unlikely source, all in an attempt to own their music and their musical direction. On top of that project, I’ll feature a pair of more grassroots projects from some rising stars.
Delta Rae – The Light & The Dark (click here to view project)
Delta Rae was always an odd fit for the label country world. They’re a band that, musically, was closer to Fleetwood Mac than Jason Aldean, with a penchant for political statements that ventured outside the “safe” confines of the country music machine. This is, after all, the band that would have played the 2012 Democratic Convention had they not been canceled by weather. So it’s no surprise that Delta Rae chafed at label restrictions and chose to go independent once again to, quoting their current Kickstarter campaign, “ … fully control and own the music we release. We can make and share live albums, singles, and protest songs whenever we want.” The result is The Light & The Dark, which is actually two albums being released a year apart. The Light will focus on Delta Rae’s more hopeful and uptempo songs, while The Dark will explore the band’s more mysterious, witchy, and raw side. As of this writing, Delta Rae has shattered their $30,000 goal to the tune of more than $268,000, helped in no small part by fans of Taylor Swift, who have rallied around the band’s independent effort after Swift’s public feud with their former shared label, Big Machine. Delta Rae has also helped themselves by offering some sweet backer rewards for such a well-known act, including a digital single from the album for a $1 pledge, a SWIFT (Standing With Independent Female Trailblazers) tier that sees Delta Rae paying it forward by featuring other independent female acts, an iPhone video message from a band member of your choice, and a video of Delta Rae performing a cover or deep cut of your choice.
Anne Heaton – Untitled New Album and Storybook (click here to view project)
It’s been seven years since Anne Heaton last released an album. In that time, she has had two daughters and continued to build a fanbase with her understated piano skills and haunting vocals. The album’s first single, “Joy,” has been released as a music video and walks the line between jazzy pop and spoken word. To help her out, Heaton has gathered an impressive group of musical friends, including Alex Wong (Delta Rae, Amber Rubarth), Mona Tavakoli (Jason Mraz), and Natalia Zukerman. In addition to the album, Heaton is also creating a book of stories inspired by each song on the album. Backer rewards include a signed copy of the album and storybook; a digital copy of Heaton’s full musical output, including some never-before-released demos and radio performances; and a six months of handwritten letters from Heaton.
Since releasing his last album in 2015, Sammy Kay has struggled with mental health issues that threatened to derail his promising music career. Thinking life on the road was the cause of his issues, Kay left the touring life, only to discover that the problems he thought were brought on by the road carried over into the rest of his life. Kay’s road to recovery began when he started working to teach life skills to a young man with special needs and reconnected with the empathy he had lost. The result is Civil/WAR, an album that focuses on people who represent five aspects of mental health: depression, anxiety, addiction, empathy, and understanding. Working with producer Peter Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls, Kay is preparing to release Civil/WAR on Oct. 4 and has a preorder campaign now on Kickstarter. Backer rewards include the album on CD or black and white spatter vinyl, a Civil/WAR enamel pin, a campaign exclusive T-shirt, and the chance to choose Kay’s next tattoo (Kay’s opinion on this option? “#yolo.” What could possibly go wrong?)