Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Local singer/songwriter Stephen Evans says his family's music inspired him to create his own. Perhaps that's why his brother and mother will contribute bass and vocals, respectively, to his debut solo record. Photo courtesy of the artist

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup 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.


“My father was in a band called the Four Saints… Watching him, I grew to love music and entertaining,” says singer/songwriter Stephen Evans, recalling times that he forced friends to watch him perform his dad’s records from a childhood bedroom. Evans says he’s had a tumultuous relationship with music over the years though, vacillating between desires to ‘make it’ or simply pursue the art around Asheville. Now, however, he’s decided to release his solo debut album Something to Bleed with the help of friends and family members. His brother Scott Evans (of The Floating Men) plays bass on one track, while his mother sings background vocals on another. “Your support will help me realize a dream I’ve had ever since I was a kid,” Evans says. He aims to raise $2,000 by Wednesday, May 6 to cover the record’s mastering, artwork, manufacturing and promotion.


“If you live in Asheville, you may have noticed that it feels like every server, barista and grocer in this city moonlights as an artist or writer of some kind,” reads the campaign page for a new UNCA student-run magazine. “This town hides a wealth of untapped talent, and a reservoir of amazing untold stories. The Asheville Current aims to package the extraordinary drama and struggle of everyday life in Asheville utilizing Asheville’s best kept cultural secret — the talents and imaginations of people waiting your tables and cleaning your houses.” Although the publication team, comprised of UNC Asheville student writers, is selling ads to cover initial printing costs (read the first edition online here), they aim to raise an additional $2,300 by Saturday, May 2, to fund the magazine racks needed for distribution, a website, social media advertising, promotional stickers and, eventually, a paid staff of employees and contributors.

Photo from Asheville Current campaign page
Photo from Asheville Current campaign page


Hank West and the Smokin’ Hots, who recently represented Asheville while playing the South By Southwest festival, present their brass-heavy jazz rock at local venues on a regular basis, with upcoming shows at 5 Walnut Wine Bar (Thursdays, April 23 and 30), Rose’s Flower Shop (Saturday, May 9) and Altamont Brewing Co. (Friday, May 29). But they’re also trekking to Water Valley, Miss., to record more stylish tunes at the Dial Back Sound studio. On their Kickstarter page, the quirky quintet say they’re time-travelers who seek album support “that their future sponsors cannot provide.” Accordingly, the band aims to exceed their initial $2,000 goal (more than $2,000 has already been pledged) by Sunday, May 3, to press CDs, pay for album artwork and print download cards.

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.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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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