Sean Brown, a 2004 graduate of is venturing out to pursue his music career and is making progress on his first full-length album with the help of a "Kickstarter", a fundraising tool that is growing in popularity with independent artists.
Brown grew up in Coventry and started writing music when he was 12 years old. Throughout his teenage years, he wrote for and was part of two bands with friends, "Out-Grown" and "Go Gondola".
"They were both great creative outlets for my teenage angst and I loved every minute of it," he said.
Despite wanting to continue being part of a band after high school, Brown realized that as he and his friends grew older and responsibilities grew larger, keeping a band together became difficult. He decided to branch out on his own and at the age of 21, took his first paid gig performing Bob Dylan covers at the former Half Moon restaurant in Coventry.
"I went from playing there once every two weeks to sometimes playing as much as five nights a week," he said. "It really improved my playing and strengthened my voice and now as I move forward, I want to get back into writing. Song writing has always been a passion in my life and for me there is nothing better than writing a new song. That's what this album is all about."
In an effort to complete the album that he started in December, Brown has turned to Kickstarter in order to fund the recording process through the support of his friends, family and fans. Kickstarter, an "all-or-nothing" platform allows artists to raise money towards their cause, but if the goal is not met, they receive no money. (The pledgers are not charged.)
In return for pledges, he is offering copies of the CD, guitar and harmonica lessons, t-shirts, live acoustic living room shows, artwork and graphic/web design (another hobby that he has turned into a semi-professional career).
Brown recently returned from a trip to Nashville, TN, where he visited the recording studio where he plans to breathe new life into his album. He begins promoting the Kickstarter this week in Brooklyn, New York with fellow singer-songwriter Erik Meirer by "busking" (street performing) in the subways.
"I figure it is the best way to spread the word as you play for huge groups of people every fifteen minutes as they wait for their train," he said.
He will perform his original music, including the three songs that he has already recorded in Nashville late last year.
"The songs I recorded already didn't take very long at all," Brown explained. "Things go very fast in Nashville and before I could even think about how anything sounded, the session was over. It comes at you really fast."
The three songs have earned him some notoriety and have caught the ears of some well-known producers including Sam Kassirer, producer of artist Josh Ritter as well as The David Wax Museum (a recent artist at the Newport Folk Festival.)
In regards to the genre of the album, he explains that it has an overall country feel.
"It's (country) there in the music and in some of the songs, but it has been an undertone in my writing recently," he said.
In order to complete the album, Brown needs to raise money by April 22 for studio time, producers, engineers, musicians, mastering the record, artwork and duplication and he has set a goal of $4,500. If he can raise the full amount, he will return to Nashville to record more tracks and create the finished product.
To pledge using Kickstarter, and to check out Brown's previously recorded tracks, click here or visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanedwardbrown/sean-browns-first-full-length-album.
Pledges can be made until April 22.