Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Local singer/songwriter and busker Chelsea Lynn La Bate caught the ear of a renowned Nashville producer during his Asheville visit, and now she has the opportunity to complete a record under his direction. Still frame from the artist's campaign video

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.

Chelsea Lynn La Bate’s album Appalachian Eyes

Nasheville and Black Mountain-based Grammy Award-winning producer Neal Merrick Blackwood was buying groceries at Katuah Market with his wife last summer when he noticed Chelsea Lynn La Bate busking outside the store. “They both heard me performing,” La Bate recounts in her campaign video, “and the next day, I had a proposal from them to record in their studio.” The singer-songwriter was surprised to learn that, over decades, Blackwood’s family had provided audio services for industry icons like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Nicks and the King himself. “[Blackwood] has worked with legendary artists and has been in the business longer than I’ve been alive,” she says. For her part, La Bate picked up a banjo, penned more than a dozen of her best-yet songs and called in the help of local talents, but a devastating car wreck derailed the production of Appalachian Eyes at its height. Now, seven months later, the young artist is refocusing on the work in progress. She aims to raise $5,500 by Monday, Aug. 31, to complete the recording, mixing, mastering and album release and recoup some of her own expenses after beginning the project out-of-pocket.

Echoes of an Ancient Dream: Toning the Aramaic Words of Yeshua by Dale Allen Hoffman

Dale Allen Hoffman is a civilian scholar, according to his crowdfunding page, and after decades of studying, his main area of expertise surrounds the early history of and direct translations from the Aramaic language and Yeshua Teachings (both attributed to Jesus). He’s previously shared his findings — often clarifications of what he deems widely misunderstood interpretations purveyed in modern religious settings — through audio, televised programs and live presentations, but now Hoffman is pursuing his first book, which draws largely on ancient vocal toning practices. The alternative believer aims to raise $7,777 by Wednesday, Sept. 2. The fund will go toward completing pre-production, printing, shipping and marketing of 1,000 copies of Echoes of an Ancient Dream: Toning the Aramaic Words of Yeshua, in addition to producing audio accompaniments to the book.

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.

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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