Monthly Archives: August 2014

£0 to £2k in 2 months – No day-job: just music. But how?

On June 18th 2014 my bank balance read £0 and I had no work booked. On August 18th, exactly 2 months later, I had £2000 to put towards my mobile recording studio (GoldflowerStudios.com). I’m still in shock! How did I get from £0 to £2k in 2months? Well, it turns out that whether they know it or not, people are hungry for an alternative to the mainstream music industry.

Truly starting from £0 - a picture of my last £100 in coins, before I totally ran out of money 2 months ago.

Truly starting from £0 – a picture of my last £100 in coins, before I totally ran out of money 2 months ago.

To put it another way, the answer is ‘crowdfunding’. Through Kickstarter, I made a website explaining why I plan to run a mobile recording studio on a pay-what-you-want basis ( Kimwei’s Kickstarter Page ). The idea stemmed from these simple truths:

  • I have been producing records for clients since 2009.
  • When I was working as a part time teacher I couldn’t have afforded to record my albums in a recording studio on my income.
  • There are many talented musicians in that same boat.
  • Offering my recording services on a pay-what-you-want basis would make it possible for these musicians to make high quality records.

As rewards for pledging money to this Kickstarter page/website, people could claim my latest record, t-shirts, a living room gig, or make a request. The campaign also acts as a way to independently release my latest album, Refraction & Redemption.

The response surprised me. My last post showed me panicking about the huge task of raising £2k in only a few weeks, but in the end the campaign hit its £2k target with 1 week still to go! With 1 day to go now, it stands at £2114. What can I say? The money will be put to good use. There’s one thing I’m confident about having done The £0 Challenge descent and ascent – I’m now incapable of wasting money.

I’ve found myself amazed and humbled by the generosity of the 28 pledges (made by over 60 people). I was expecting the Kickstarter page to be used mainly like a ‘shop’ – where people pledged small amounts in return for copies of my albums.

However, most pledges have been over £10 and many people declined a reward beyond a digital download of the album. A few have pledged over £100 and some over £500! I guess this means that the Goldflower Studios idea has inspired a good many people – they aren’t just buying the album, they really believe in the project too. Knowing this makes me want to up my game: to make it bigger, better and have a greater impact than I had originally conceived. Watch this space to see how that pans out.

The only conclusion I can come to is that whether they know it or not, many people are hungry for an experience of music that sits outside the values of the music industry. Independent musicians and unplugged gigs are all part of this alternative. When people come to a Secret Gig of mine and describe it as “magical” or say they “Love it! Never been to anything like it”, what they are really saying is that they want an alternative to the mainstream music industry. My work as a singer-songwriter and through Goldflower Studios brings people this alternative, which must be why so many people have backed it. 

One backer, who generously pledged £100 asking for nothing more than a digital album in return, wrote to me saying:

“The music industry is basically owned by major labels and if your 
face doesn’t fit, then goodbye. Bob Dylan wouldn’t stand a chance today. I 
love what you’re doing and wish you every success bringing new and 
different music to an audience who, as you say, may not even know they want 
it.”

Right on!

So with 1 day to go, this is one last call to pledge to my Kickstarter page (ending Saturday 23rd August 6.58pm BST). Not only is it your last chance to get my new album for as little as £1, but you’ll be helping me to make real music and help others who are doing the same! 

Kimwei

Click here for Kimwei’s Kickstarter page

Take part in Kimwei’s Music Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XNDwS7wUwE

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

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A Day In The Life Of A Dirty Hippy Musician

A view of the “garden” – which is the name I give to wherever I’ve parked the Vansion.

People are always asking me what it’s like living the way I do, so I thought it best to write about a typical day. I usually write about the ideas and ethos behind what I do, but I’m often asked about practical matters so I’ll try and address those.

The trouble is, there is no routine, so it’s hard to give a clear picture of what my life is like. There is no 5 day week, no weekend. The “garden” is different every day. I like variety. In the last few days I have written to people to ask for Kickstarter backing, done some test recording at a new “living room” I’ve been offered, started promoting my next “Secret Gig” (Aug 9th, Exeter), booked a Goldflower Studio client, been to the beach, sat by the estuary, gone busking and much more! Where can I start?

Morning meditation

Morning meditation

Well, yesterday morning, I woke up in the van, parked in a coastal village near Exeter. Knowing that I’d be coming back later to do some enabling work for a disabled friend, I decided to cycle into Exeter to put up posters for the next Secret Gig on August 9th. Secret Gigs are fast turning into a hip new Exeter happening, which is great news!

My bike is kept van when I’m driving it and is locked outside when parked to give me more living space inside the vehicle.

IMG_2568After a beautiful bike ride into town, following the water’s edge in the morning sunshine, I ride around town, distributing posters to shops and talking to whoever I meet about the Secret Gig. Having woken up late I’ve missed breakfast but meet a friend who’s sitting outside a café with a half eaten plate of food he can’t finish. Problem solved! 18 posters later, I drop in on my Secret Gig host to tell him that the publicity is up. He gives me 2 donuts to “help him with his diet”, which I gratefully accept and start to make my way back out of town. On the way, I spot 4 transparent bin bags of waste groceries dumped in the street and totally fill my pannier bag with food.

Actually, this is the first ever waste food I collected. I forgot to photograph yesterday's find.

Actually, this is the first ever waste food I collected. I forgot to photograph yesterday’s find.

Back in the coastal village, I re-join the Vansion and take a little time to sit by the water. Now it’s time for work. I arrive at my disabled friend’s house and help her by doing a variety of things, from typing, to heavy lifting, to driving her around. Soon I get a text from some friends in the next town, inviting me to look after their 10 year old for the evening whilst they go on a date. They promise food and a night indoors as my reward. It sounds like an ideal evening, but I explain that I don’t need food, simply to use their kitchen as I have that whole bag of veg and potatoes I picked up earlier and it would be great to be able to cook them before they goes bad, especially since the van has no fridge. Actually I can cook on the gas stove in the van, but it’s a lot easier in a real kitchen with more space and running water.

IMG_2569So here I’m sat typing after a treacherous evening of eating delicious food, watching cartoons and reading bedtime stories, 10 year old safely in bed. Today has been a good day. Some days there is more music. Sometimes I spend all day on my laptop. Sometimes little things go wrong, like I get rained on and have nowhere to dry my clothes, or I drop a raw egg on the floor when I’ve just run out of tissues. Other times big things go wrong, like van breakdown, or more entertainingly, the side door fell off last week. But all in all, I prefer this lifestyle. There are some downsides; everyday things such as eating, laundry, going to the toilet, are more complicated than they were when I lived in, or attached to, a house. But the upsides are that my life has more variety, I spend more time outside and constantly see new things. I meet more people, have no routine work to feel tied to and more importantly, I make music more hours per week than I ever did when I was employed.

IMG_2571

What I cooked with my “found” food.

Reading about minimalism has made me wonder if I am a minimalist. Minimalism seems to be about living with no more than you need (which of course is different for each person). It’s funny to call that “minimalism”, when surely living with what you need and no more should be called either “common sense” or “abundance” and everything else should be called “excess”. After all, to be rich, you only really need to have £1 more than you need.

Although the parents were out, they left ferocious predators to guard the house from intruders

Although the parents were out, they left ferocious predators to guard the house from intruders

I hope that writing about this way of living in a pragmatic way has helped shed some light on what it’s really like. Perhaps I shall write about a day of my life once a month or so to give a more rounded picture. Some people who are thinking of living an alternative lifestyle have emailed me asking for input, or requested to meet up to chat about it. I’m more than willing. Please contact do contact me through kimwei.com . I’m also giving a short talk at The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter on Tuesday August 12th 2014, which hopefully will be recorded, so watch this space.

Love & Light

Kimwei

 

Get Kimwei’s new album by pledging to her Kickstarter page:

 

Take part in Kimwei’s Music Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XNDwS7wUwE

 

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

 

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How to raise £1250 in 22 days

Yesterday it started to truly dawn on me that the mammoth task ahead was to raise £1750 in the next 22 days to set up my new recording studio, Goldflower Studios. It’s a project I totally believe in – to enable free range, organic (unsigned) musicians to make top quality recordings, whatever their budget. The Kickstarter video looks great, the rewards start from as little as £1 for a digital copy of my latest album (the price will rise after the Kickstarter project finishes on August 23rd). I couldn’t be more proud of this album, recorded through Goldflower Studios, so £1 is fantastic value for this hour of music.

Yes, it’s true that many people had pledged money so far, to the tune of £250, and that’s fantastic! But, that still left £1750 to go, and the hugeness of that figure has really struck me in the last week. How on earth is this going to actually happen?

Never fear – I have no idea!

I rarely complain, especially in print, however a friend of mine persuaded me that my struggles should be a part of this weblog. “You’re trying to do what everyone wants to be doing – living without feeling trapped. If it was easy everyone would be doing it, so you ARE going to struggle. So write about your problems and because how you solve them is going to be an important part of the story.”

She’s right.

I mean, let’s get things in perspective; I’m not living in a developing country, starving or being forced to work 16hr days in a Nike factory. But that’s part of the point – we live in a privileged country, yet so many people are fighting to make ends meet. This seems wrong somehow.

There must be an alternative to the wage-slave way of life. I am not willing to accept it and as a result have turned away from my well-paid job. Instead, I aim to find a way of living abundantly on a low income to allow myself the time to be creative and generally have a better quality of life. However, this month, even that is proving difficult.

Busking has taken a down turn, probably because it’s so hot that people are rushing to get out of the sun rather than stopping to listen to buskers. I am struggling to earn the amount that I need to pay for the essentials I can’t trade for (food, fuel, cooking gas, mobile phone bill, repairs to van or computer). I thought that if I found creative ways to live on less money through my £0 Challenge, then I could easily make my way by busking and ad-hock work, but currently things are looking grim. Friends have offered financial help or to buy me dinner, but I’m looking for a new and innovative way of living, not a new and innovative way of sponging off my mates.

“Oh well,” I said to another friend. If it doesn’t work out, I can just go back into the system – get a job, etc…”

How do you raise £1250 in 22 days...? Use your superhero powers of course!

How do you raise £1250 in 22 days…? Use your superhero powers of course!

“DON’T DO THAT!” she exclaimed “You’re a little ray of light that helps me believe that the world isn’t as bad as I think it is.”

Yesterday evening I didn’t feel like a “ray of light” at all. But just then, just when I was in the middle of complaining and feeling stuck, something amazing happened: someone pledged £500 to my Kickstarter project.

Let’s just hear that again.

SOMEONE PLEDGED £500 TO MY KICKSTARTER PROJECT!

I can’t quite believe it! It’s incredible that someone believes in what I’m doing enough to put forward that amount of money. Suddenly there is only £1250 left to go and my faith has been restored. INCREDIBLE! THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU!

This is not to say that any pledge, no matter how small is to be scoffed at. I’m so grateful to each an every person who has pledged so far and I sincerely hope that they enjoy the rewards that I’ll send.

Yet, if you hoped this post would tell you how to raise £1250 in 22 days, I’m sorry – I don’t know how to do that…yet. But I now have faith that it IS possible. You’ll just have to watch me whilst I figure out how.

In the mean time, there’s a great record just waiting for you at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kimwei/refraction-and-redemption-a-new-album .

  • Pledge to get the album cheaper than it’ll be sold for once the Kickstarter finishes.
  • Pledge because you believe in an alternative to the music industry
  • Pledge to get me to perform in your living room, or any of the other rewards that are on offer.

Any pledge is valuable to me, and you can help even more by telling your friends about it too.

Love and light

Kimwei

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