So what’s the big deal about making a CD? My debt at this point is huge: the $5000 loan from a friend, $9000 of mostly legal fees on a credit card at huge interest, a monthly bill of $300-500 due to my lawyers. Not to mention all my retirement savings spent on this, no money saved for any sort of emergency, nothing. I’m looking at YET AGAIN another summer of living hand-to-mouth. No savings at all and a huge monthly debt (heck, I’m still paying student loans from my schooling in Canada years ago!). Money, money, money. With the money I’ve already paid out, the green card so far has cost me over $50,000 – I stopped adding after a while. I guess it bothers me so much because (and this will sound egotistical as all get out, but, here it goes…) I’m talented. I’m a good person. I hold FOUR degrees (2 Bachelor degrees, a Masters degree and a Doctorate) and I’m struggling…struggling like a kid just out of college! So I need money.., ideally about 3,000 CDs worth… So, yeah, I’m praying for a miracle…ENOUGH ABOUT MONEY.
Now…about music. Here’s my solution:
The idea of doing a CD has actually always been a dream of mine. To record a Jazz CD. Certainly not under these circumstances. Oh well.
I have never recorded an official album in my life, so this would be my first one. Many of you know me as a Classical Mezzo Soprano and know I have a Doctorate in Jazz Studies from USC, but many of you might not know I also compose jazz, and I like to arrange jazz. I’ve done a few jazz choir charts/pieces, but I also love arranging for a jazz trio to play with me.
And for those of you who do not know me at all as a musician, my voice has been best described as being suitable for Bach/Handel and other Baroque composers. I have a booming voice studio that focuses on Classical Vocal Technique as well as coaching in all styles. I’m a Jazz Vocalist and studied with Carmen Bradford – a jazz legend. I’m an educator that literally teaches almost every age group: from Children’s Choir, to High School Voice Students, to the Jazz Choir at California State University, Fullerton, to members of the community and the Pacific Chorale. My oldest student is in his 70s, my youngest is 3 1/2 years old. I love to teach beginning and college level classical theory and aural skills/ear training, jazz improvisation, and vocal jazz.
So as you can see, I’m a bit of an oddball. I am at my happiest when I am able to teach at all levels and sing in all styles. One day I would love to record a classical CD. I’d also love to have a teaching studio out of my home some day (right now I rent an apartment, and I just don’t think my neighbours downstairs would appreciate that). One day I would love to have the time to perform jazz since I really don’t anymore…because I don’t have the time. Instead, I’m taking extra gigs that may not be exactly what I want to do but help pay the green card debt. The CD, I figure, could perhaps do both.
Here is the idea I’ve sketched out for a CD:
It would contain 8-10+ songs divided into 3 “sets.” I couldn’t find an actual definition for a set online, so I linked the word set to the classical term for “movement;” stretching the idea to be this…If you consider the CD for just a moment as a musical form, then this CD is divided into 3 parts.
Part 1: (containing 3 or 4songs) – arrangements of jazz/pop standards I have done over the years that I think work well
Part 2: (containing 3 or 4 songs) – compositions of mine…completely my own writing
Part 3: (1 song) – a classical aria that I have rearranged as a jazz standard. This is just the beginning…I love the idea of one day being able to devote a LOT more time to composition and arranging and have a CD solely on this…maybe in the future…(sigh).
ALSO: I have a major jazz gig coming up…it would be great to be able to announce the CD on that gig (in case you were wondering how I could get more sold)…I am singing for the second half of the California State University, Fullerton jazz choir concert on Friday, April 9th.If you want more info about that concert…CLICK HERE. It’s listed under “Jazz Singers.” The description of that concert should be up now. Contact me for more info on that if you’d like.
Anyway, here’s where you come in:
The CD would cost $15 to buy with 100% of the proceeds going to pay off my tremendous debt. Sadly, I’d keep none of it. But, I would be so much more at peace knowing the bill was being paid. I would ask three things of you.
I would need to presell 160 CDs (or the equivalent)…before I even record the product. That’s because I don’t have any money, and that would be money to pay the band to record and rent studio time – of course I wouldn’t be paying myself anything since I’m trying to dig out of a green card hole. If they agreed to the project (the three musicians I’d like to hire), they would be WORLD CLASS musicians. First I need to see if I can presell 160 CDs before I bother them OR THE EQUIVALENT…here’s hoping. I’ll talk about “The equivalent” at the end.
With 160 CDs pre-sold, I would be able to pay the band and record the album. After CD #161, I would be making money to pay the green card bill directly. So I thought this next idea would be cool,
Part 6: “Who has bought the CD…the list of love.” That page will contain a list of you loving people who have purchased the CD. You will be able to visit this page any time you’d like, and you would see how many people have bought it and how long it will be until I get things going. Just so you know, as of this moment, absolutely all of my arranging and composing is complete. I’m ready to record it today. If you do not want your name on the list on Part 6 or in the CD insert (I will put everyone’s name in the insert who contributes to this project) simply attach a note to your cheque saying “Anonymous” – I’ll know what that means. And you will be Anonymous on the list. If you feel so compelled to give me more than $15, I’ll be happy to give you more CDs. They are $15 each. Of course you can buy as many as you’d like! If you want to give them to people, tell me the name you’d like me to put in the insert to say hi to them if you’d like. 😀
And now, to define “the equivalent”: The actual cost of the CD is: $300 a song ($100 a man per song) + $750 for the studio…and engineering time to mix the CD. There’s also money needed to buy a UPC code, to get them pressed, etc,etc. My math isn’t bad…I know that’s more than 160 pre-sold CDs, but I’d come up with the balance myself if I got 160 pre-sold. Anyway, if you felt so inclined, you could offer to “Sponsor a Song” or “Sponsor the Studio Time.” I’d put that down on the next page if you decided to do that too if you’d like – and then since the actual printing of the CDs is almost negligible, I’d print and give you the equivalent in CDs.
If I know you personally, you would write a cheque in my name and give it to me at a rehearsal or we could make arrangements for me to meet you. The cheque would be made out to Laura Harrison. I’ve also made a paypal account if you’d like to pay me that way – go to my home page and click on CD to get the PayPal button. For those of you not familiar with Paypal, it will also let me accept credit card payments. But, if you know me personally, a cheque or money order is fine. If you do not know me personally, please use paypal. I will hold and NOT CASH any cheques until I have enough money to record the project. I’ll email you or tell you in person once I reach that goal, and then I’ll tell you when it’s ready…then there will be the fun part (for you local people!)…CD release party!! I’ll give them to you then (all signed).
I know that 2500-3000 CDs seems hysterical. I smile writing it. However, I looked in my address book and there are about 150 people I know well here in California and a few more in Canada and even a couple in Mexico. I think some of you may buy a CD…some of you may even buy a couple…a couple of you may even sponsor a song…but here is my third favour/task for you. If you could pass on this blog to someone you think would actually want a Jazz CD or someone who you think would like to help someone who has literally gone bankrupt and works 70 hours per week to try and pay for a green card problem that is not her fault…well, I would be most grateful. Here’s something else I think would be fun! If you are someone whom I don’t know but was recommended to come visit this site and consequently bought a CD – tell me! It would be cool if you would tell me who your friend is that recommended you to come to the site. So I can thank them personally AND so I could put their name with yours on Part 6. That would be neat to see, wouldn’t it? Anyway, if you told your kind friends and family about this project of mine, either via Facebook, or email or snail mail, or twitter, etc., I would be truly grateful. I’d be surprised to make it to 200 CDs sold (and it would be great to pay that small part of the debt off) but would be thrilled if I was even more successful. What a relief it would be.
First: Please be one of the people to pre-order a CD (I need 160)
Second: Paypal the $$ or hand it to me at a rehearsal. PayPal is now set up – click here.
Third: Tell people. Lots of people.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you!
Do you like the idea? Feel free to write me an email. I’d love to hear from you. Click on the link for my website to do that.