Interview with Kelly Moneymaker, December 2014
Kelly Moneymaker recently has started a Pledge drive for her new upcoming album. I decided to do a quick interview with her specifically about this pledge..
JRT: What inspired you to make a new album at this time?
Kelly: Ya know, I just can't stop writing right now! I'm addicted to the creative process and I find myself writing in the middle of the night, while I'm driving, and even on breaks while I'm recording other songs! I try to honor that creative flow because you never know when it'll stop. I'm deeply diggin' life right now, which may be why I feel so inspired.
JRT: What do you plan to do differently with this album, compared to your others?
Kelly: I released American Roots, Rock/Blues LP "Race Against The Sky" last year, which was 9 years in the making. The band and I fretted and fussed over every detail, which worked out beautifully in the end but we did suffer for our art! LOL! This time around, I wanted it to be a more relaxed process. We had a great time recording at a friend's LA studio (it was like a live performance & party) so hopefully the vibe will be contagious & get yaz moving! I'm also releasing the singles "as they are ready" to folks who PreOrder the album! We've pre-released 4 tracks already and will release at least one to two tracks per week til we reach #15. Those who've preordered will then have the opportunity to vote on their faves for the final CD! I wanted this to be a collaborative effort between the band and our supporters! This LP leans more to the funk/soul side of American Roots as well, paying tribute to some of my heroes--James Brown, Sam Cook, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Cold Blood, Curtis Mayfield, Parliament, Tina Turner & Mother's Finest.
JRT: What made you decide to try crowdfunding this time?
Kelly: As much as I love creating music, it is a difficult way to make a living. On average, an album of 10-13 songs can cost $20-35k depending on the production quality (musicians, studio time, tracking & mixing engineers, mastering, manufacturing). People are not buying hard copies of CDs or vinyl anymore (unless it's a memento from a live concert experience) and not many are downloading. It's all about streaming music on Pandora & Spotify now. Those companies are getting rich off of streaming and not paying musicians for using their music. I just read that the CEO of Spotify is one of the richest people in the country now, yet I got paid for .001 for Race Against The Sky. To make a long story short--we are back to an era of patronage. If people like the kind of music I make, then hopefully they will PreOrder the CD so I can afford to complete an album.
JRT: How did you decide on what pledge rewards to offer?
Kelly: I tried to come up with ideas which reflect who I am as a person, artist, where I'm from, etc. I have gold foil nuggets packed with goodies from Alaska, my home state. I've posted the hat I wore on the Tonight Show with Exposé when we performed "Never Get Over You Getting Over Me", handmade jewelry, Herman's crazy song count-offs (which crack me up!) and photo albums filled with pictures rarely if ever seen of me, friends, band-mates and my family. I also had a few long-time fans suggest great ideas like being able to help choose the songs & artwork for the album, listing names in liner notes and offering Executive Producer credit.
JRT: Tell us a little about your band and guest musicians, your relationship with them, and what contributions we can expect from them.
Kelly: My band has been with me for many years now. I met Herman Matthews, the drummer, while I was with Exposé. After we disbanded in 1996, he and I created a band called Big Pygmies and we've been together ever since! He lays a groove that makes me feel like I'm surfing a wave while I'm singing. It feels damn good! Herman introduced me to Gabriel Moses who is the guitar player, one of my long-time co-writers and "little brother" (who's bigger than me). Gabriel is my other set of ears and is one of the most gifted musicians I've ever met. I laugh at him because he has huge hands yet he plays such intricate parts! Michael Mennell is the newest member - he's been with me about 5-6 years now. He's the consummate professional and a bad-ass bass player. He rarely makes a mistake and when he does, it's musical! This is my main crew, my band-family.
On this album, we've been joined by long time friend & inspiration, Sean Holt (Arsenio Hall), on saxophone & vocals as well as trumpet playin' legend, Bill Churchville (Tower of Power) who arranged the coolest horn parts ever for this album! Michael Webb (LeAnn Rimes) is playing B3 this time around and I have a whole gang of close & talented friends on vocals: Bernadette Barlow (Melissa Etheridge), Gia Cambiotti (Joe Walsh), Adam Ajaeye Jackson (Anita Whitaker), Connie Jackson, René Lamontagne (LA2Paris), KW Miller (my soul twin, who also arranged Stronger Than Stone), Michael Mishaw (Don Henley), Janelle Sadler (Natalie Cole), Marina V, & Will Wheaton (Luther Vandross). We're not finished recording yet & I have other guest musicians joining us! So exciting! Maybe I'll even get my sisters of Exposé out here to sing! They always say I crack the whip & put them to work when they come visit! Haha!
JRT: Is there anything else you'd like to let the fans know regarding this album?
Kelly: I want to thank everyone for the love and support you've given me over these many years! I am fortunate to be able to make music and I'm only able to do it because of you! I'm excited about collaborating with you--hearing which songs you like best, which artwork speaks to you, etc.! To hear the songs already Pre-Released as well as new ones through updates & to have voting rights on which songs make this album, please join us at: www.PledgeMusic.com/projects/KellyMoneymaker-Stone