“If you really love the people who support your work, they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.”
Speaking of Kickstarter campaigns, remember that time our very own Amanda Palmer ’98 put up a plea for a modest $100,000 to finance her new album and tour? Instead, the Dresden Dolls frontwoman ended up raising—wait for it—$1,192,793. Sure, you could say there’s a unique cult of fandom surrounding Palmer. Just recall the reaction to her impromptu “ninja gig” in Eclectic last September. Or consider that two donors fronted $10,000 for the chance to have dinner with the singer while she drew a portrait of her guest. But, Palmer says, crowdfunding is a viable model not just for the beloved and few. In a fascinating video interview with TIME, the singer argues, convincingly, that “we’re really looking at crowdfunding as a new, future model for how musicians and artists can connect with their fans and audiences and put out music.”
“I think this can pretty much work for anyone, but you need to keep your goals pretty realistic,” says Palmer, whose goal turned out to be a hell of a lot more realistic than she realized. For her, the story of independence began when she left her record label after 2008’s Who Killed Amanda Palmer?. She describes her thought process as: “My fanbase is pretty big now. These guys [at the record label] aren’t understanding me. . . . I think it’s time to go and do this myself, and I think I know how to do it.” So she did. And she let her freak flag fly. As TIME points out,
she has had the freedom to do everything from an album of Radiohead covers on ukulele; a tour with her husband, the author Neil Gaiman; and the musical project called Evelyn Evelyn, for which she and the musician Jason Webley portrayed conjoined twin sisters.
She has also had the freedom to perform bastardized prostitution-themed reimaginations of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on a ukulele in Eclectic’s dining room (video evidence here), but TIME doesn’t mention that particular artistic journey. During that performance, Palmer said something about returning to Wes soon for a feature-length theatrical project that could take place in Crowell. (Am I misremembering this?) Instead, she seems to have plans to travel the world touring for a freaking year:
Touring on it for over a year, all over the world, pretty much every continent. I think in order to stay sane, I don’t want to think about what’s next. All of what I do is about collaborating and throwing parties and finding people to work with and getting everybody involved, including the fans.
That quote reminds me of Wayne Coyne and his wild collaborations and ridiculous stories of hanging out with Ke$ha and storing Bon Iver’s blood in his fridge. It’s the same spirit: “finding people to work with and getting everybody involved.” Where’s the Kickstarter for the joint Amanda Palmer/Lips EP?
“If you really love the people who support your work,” Palmer concludes, “they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.” It’s a bit of a fairy-tale ending, but in Palmer’s case, it’s also weirdly true. As one commenter suggested in our last post, “Maybe Wesleyan can recruit her to raise money for financial aid.” Touché, anon.
Here’s the TIME post. Watch the clip to the end—don’t miss Palmer discussing her relationship with writer husband Neil Gaiman and performing the brilliant “I Google You” with him. For more on Palmer, check out our coverage of last year’s “ninja gig” and subsequent interviews with the artist. Also, “Friday” sounds better when you can hear Phil Weinstein ’13 unmistakeable chuckle in the background: