Why I’m Crowdfunding My New Album

Hullo folks!

It’s been a while since I last posted here, and in the intervening time there have been quite a few changes, including a new job, a new home town, and, most relevantly, a veritable smorgasbord of new songs!

Those of you who are familiar with my music will know that I’ve brought out four six-song EPs so far, each one entirely under my own steam. This isn’t because I have anything against crowdfunding – in fact, think it’s a fantastic idea. But the first EP at least was brought out almost entirely on a whim, before most people even knew I made music, and possibly before crowdfunding was even a thing. And from then onwards, I simply reasoned that if I could finance it myself, I might as well – I’m a big fan of the DIY movement, and a few songs every couple of years, burned on my own computer and sold in handmade CD cases, certainly wouldn’t break the bank. Bandcamp is also fantastic for selling digital albums, which of course have no printing costs at all.

However, this time, it’s different – and these are the main reasons why:

1. There are twice as many songs

Since last summer, I’ve written 13 new songs – more than I’ve ever written before in such a short space of time. There are even a couple of other ideas in the pipeline, which may or may not appear on the final album. I think one of the reasons for this influx is that I’ve become more confident (or reckless!) in my songwriting. I used to dismiss a lot of ideas out of hand before I’d even developed them, but recently I’ve been finishing the songs anyway, and then seeing whether they’re any good – and often, these songs have turned out to be some of the best. Last December, I also gained a piano, which has expanded my musical range further. This album is going to be more varied, and take more risks, than any of the previous ones, and I think it’ll be better for it.

Not only that, but despite the dramatically changing music industry, there’s still something nice about having a “proper” full-length LP to flog. It feels professional and real person-y, and more suited to the point I’m at now with my music.

All of this means is that I basically need to pay my excellent producer, Nick, twice his usual rate to arrange, record, mix and work his usual prog-folk magic with the songs. And I just don’t have that kind of money knocking around. Especially not since:

2. My circumstances have changed

A couple of months ago, I relocated to the promised land of Bristol to seek my fortune. And I’ve realised that the only way I’m going to escape the curse of public-facing jobs is if I bite the bullet and do some unpaid work experience behind the scenes. Bristol has some fantastic opportunities for Biologists, and matters of principal aside, I want the best career I can get for myself. So I’ve reduced my current job to two days a week, am spending the rest of the time as a Digital Marketing Volunteer at the Soil Association.

I’ve got a few royalties from the recent success of A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, and some money saved from my previous job in Wolverhampton, since I wasn’t paying rent while living at home. But none of this will last forever, and I need to prioritise using it to support myself. I’ve never been in a position where I’ve been able to do an unpaid internship before, and I need to take advantage of it.

3. I can’t keep making everything by hand!

I’m sorry! I know a lot of people really like my handmade CD cases, but they’re incredibly time consuming! This wasn’t so much of a problem at the start, but as my audience has increased, so has the time spent making the darn things, and I might not always have time for it – who knows where my life might take me in the future? Not only that, but it’s an undeniable fact that professionally printed albums are – well, more professional! And it’s hard to credit everyone who’s contributed their hard work to the album when trying to hand-write the liner notes onto 15 square centimetres of card!

Luckily, my mom, Jacqueline Law, is an incredible artist, and she’ll be doing the album art – so you’ve go that to look forward to!

4. I trust you folks!

Every other time I’ve considered crowdfunding, there’s always been that nagging little voice saying: “but what if nobody contributes?” This is especially relevant with Kickstarter, where if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get any money at all. However, I’ve come to realise that this is foolish. The support and encouragement I’ve received over the years from friends, organizers, audiences and fellow artists alike has given me confidence in the fact that this is something people would genuinely like to help bring into existence. So thanks, folks – you’re great!

If you’d like to make a pledge, my Kickstarter campaign is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1541711332/record-jessica-laws-new-full-length-album-the-sum