On a humid summer evening in mid-July in New York City, singer, songwriter, musician and dreamer, Erin Lindsay Dragan, chats with me about the city from which she came, (a city legendary for its steel and its indomitable football team), the city she presently calls home and her current project; funding a full length album via Rockethub.
Crowdfunding, is undergoing a Renaissance, with artists of all sorts seeking ‘arts patronage’ online. The concept is a simple one; an artist comes up with an idea, to make a film, design a clothing line, create a graphic novel, or, as in Erin’s case, record an album. They take it to their fans, who give monetary support for the artist to reach their goal and in return receive special awards. Crowdfunding isn’t for everyone, but Erin definitely thought it was for her. “I thought it was right for the project because it gave me the opportunity to communicate with people who listen. And specifically, Rockethub was the right platform for it. Being based in NYC, Rockethub is homegrown. I know the guys who run the company. They’re good, down-to-earth people, so there was that human element that I have with Rockethub that I simply don’t have with the others,” she explains.
With a sound and style reminiscent of Gillian Welch or Patty Griffin; hers is an anthem of self-determination, a folk songstress with an irrepressible energy, for life and all the things that make it up. “I love brewing beer and road cycling and dogs. I love the Southwest and miss it deeply,” she reminisces of her time living in Flagstaff, Arizona. “I have six tattoos and counting and I’ve been to Disneyworld 16 times, and Disneyland, once.” The project she is seeking to fund, is called Be Good To Yourself; an album that invites us not only to support her, but reminds each of us, to go easier on ourselves.
“I write the ‘analog’ way,” she explains, “with an acoustic guitar, pen, and paper. I never type.” Since moving to Brooklyn, she has built her dream rig, (equipment-wise), with the true gem acquired this year: a 1972 Martin D-18 that’ll be used on the record and at her gigs.
With over two months left to reach her goal, she has learned some valuable lessons about crowdfunding. “Promote, promote, promote. I can’t say this enough. And go deep. Tell everyone you know – family, friends, and people you haven’t talked to in ten years. It’s actually a pretty cool opportunity to reconnect with people. There were funders that gave a lot of money that I haven’t seen since high school, and that I may not have even been that close with, but who still followed my musical adventures.
Crowdfunding is really humbling. I’m someone who likes to be as self-sufficient as possible, but in a large, very expensive market like NYC, it’s really hard to be a musician and be self-sufficient. You learn to live off the goodness of others, because you must. In some ways, busking prepared me for crowdfunding, and helped me get over the internal embarrassment and reservations I have when it comes to asking for help. The experience has been positive and really emotional for me, in the best of ways.”
Her youth and contagious enthusiasm are perfectly evidenced, when I asked what her fist concert experience was. “You’re gonna laugh,” she says, “but it made a pretty cool impression on me: I went to see Hanson with a friend when I was 10, at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. As cheesy as their songs at that point were in retrospect, I remember seeing the interaction between Isaac, Taylor, and Zac not as brothers, but as musicians. They played really, really well. I had just started playing guitar a couple months beforehand, and I was so thoroughly inspired to keep practicing and getting better. It was really amazing to see people around my age playing that well. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re solid musicians!”
Get your own house concert, or a cover song dedicated to a special someone; get a shout out in the liner notes or be the first to have the music delivered directly to you upon completion. No matter what award you choose, just be sure to choose some and help out the indie musicians you want to continue hearing from and be a part of something bigger than all of us.
And for visitors to New York City, Lindsay recommends, “Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center and Central Park,” as ‘must sees’. “I like The Natural History Museum better than the Met,” she says, “although the Met is awesome, too. If people are willing go deep, The Museum of the Moving Picture in Astoria, and of course the Lower East Side, one of the true cradles of rock and roll, are must see places.” Lindsay was featured in our Limited Edition Art Style book, The Noise Beneath the Apple®. She chose the Lower East Side for her photo shoot; one of the most tragically, beautiful landscapes in the city.