Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT: "My first album explored the idea of home through songs about mountains, loss, and love," says local musician Hannah Kaminer. "This new album focuses on the idea that when you seek out love, it requires risk, maybe even heartbreak or foolishness.” Photo by Susannah Kay Photography

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Heavy Magnolias by Hannah Kaminer

“These are things that came out of my brain. They’re the songs I’ve been writing,” Hannah Kaminer says in her crowdfunding video, gesturing to a mosaic of papers pinned to the wall behind her. Some of the lyrics muse on hope versus cynicism, she explains, while at least one song reflects on the fight for love. “And then some are just fun,” Kaminer says. In all, she calls her new work “a lot grittier, more real and raw,” and plans to record about a dozen of the tracks at Echo Mountain Recording Studio with engineer Julian Dreyer. “Let’s bring them into the studio, embrace and embody them with a full band, rile ’em up with steel and fiddle,” she writes on the campaign page. “Then we’ll iron them out onto an album, which I will be able to send to you, dear listener.” Kaminer has already received a $1,000 grant from a coalition of North Carolina Arts Councils, and she aims to raise an additional $12,400 to pay for Heavy Magnolias, including recording, mixing, mastering, art, promotion, manufacturing and distribution costs as well as paying musical collaborators.

On Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m., in conjunction with her crowdfunding campaign, Kaminer will also perform with her full band Heartbreak Highlight Reel at The Altamont Theatre, with opening acts Krista Shows and Scott Sharpe. Tickets ($10/$12) are available at thealtamonttheatre.com.

The Commentary Track podcast

Five years ago, Frank Thompson started his podcast “The Commentary Track” in order “to feature in-depth conversations with film historians and archivists as well as actors, composers and filmmakers who have a deep knowledge and love for films of the past.” But a combination of technical and financial issues struck in late 2015, bringing the project to a dead end. Now, however, Thompson has lined up five interviews and he’s aiming to raise $7,500 to revive his website and podcast, in part by purchasing better audio recording gear for interviews. Any extra money will go toward advertising.

Image from Thompson's campaign page
Image from Thompson’s campaign page

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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