Towards the end, things got a little crazy…
Days and nights blurred into one endless stream. I was either: working on the record, or sleeping. I did nothing else. Towards the end I slept less, then less, and then less. Over the last 72 hours of mixing and mastering I logged about 6 hours total shuteye. When I finished I was fully broken, totally exhausted, and victorious.
The record had to be right, and it had to be on time. Those were my personal rules for it being a success. For me, there is a very definite sense of whether something is right or not. There aren’t really grades of good and bad. It’s not a spectrum for me. It’s a binary affair.
But now that the record is out there in the world the measures of success have become: how well does the music connect with the listener? And how much value does it give?
And in these regards, my little album is already doing very, very well. In the short week since release, I have received a staggering amount of correspondence from people sharing: how they have connected with it, how much they have enjoyed it, and what it has given them.
One listener told me that since she bought it, she has listened to nothing else; another, that she listens to it on repeat in her car on her way to work every morning. Another has written to me multiple times, sharing how the record deepens and evolves for him each time he hears it. Some of the quotes I’ve gotten from people have moved me almost to the point of tears. These messages are all beyond price. I could not have hoped for more.
Over the year leading up to release I pretty much worked everyday. I hadn’t taken the process all the way thru to completion before, so I was laying the tracks in front of a moving train, not really knowing how far I had to go in the time I had given myself. Some of it was painful. There was a definite sense of being pulled thru barriers that would have otherwise held me back. In this regard, the deadline was one of the best things that I did when I set up this project. It forced me to find solutions, it forced realizations. It forced evolution.
The way technology is progressing, we are quickly moving towards the emergence of truly independent artists. What I mean by that is: artists that own the entirety of the means of their creation and production. Instead of being employees of corporations, artists now have the power, (thru leveraging technology) to be able to stand on their own and select their own partnerships with other organizations for distribution, promotion etc.
A big part of why I wanted to make my record and release it in this way – doing absolutely everything myself – was to see if it could be done. I had heard of other artists completing parts of the process before, but never someone taking it all the way; from conception, to writing and development, to engineering and recording, to mixing, and mastering, and finally thru to release. I wanted to see if it was possible to release truly independent music.
And it was very hard. And the workload was gargantuan. But, in the final reckoning, the record is now a reality.
The barriers between artist and audience are crumbling fast. The gatekeepers are dying, and the means of all aspects of creation are becoming democratized, widespread and easily attainable. Back in the day, the company was King. To make art and get it to people the artist had to be an employee. Now, the artist stands on equal terms. The fact that this record exists is my proof of concept.
The King is dead, long live the King.
Welcome, to the Revolution.
My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist. If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music. Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.
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