“I don’t feel like I should be asking for money for my music,” is perhaps not the most common stance for musicians to take regarding their work. To be fair, Alexz Johnson is not exactly a common musician–after a lauded run as the lead of the television show Instant Star, she was signed and subsequently dropped from Epic Records when they restructured, and set about pursuing music in her own way. Unlike many people who may have slipped through the cracks or given up at that point, Alexz took to the internet. For the past few years she’s been steadily releasing thoughtful, original music, and has garnered a fan base who helped her to raise
$50,000 on Kickstarter towards a summer tour. We talked to the queen of musical DIY about tunes, the web, and what it actually means to be indie.
How did it feel to get funded by your fans to go tour through Kickstarter?
Amazing. You know, people aren’t buying new records anymore, it doesn’t really happen that way. I think it’s a nice trade-off to give music for support, because this industry’s really falling apart when it comes to the old way of doing things. I think it’s such a cool new platform for artists–you know, “If you want me there, let’s make it happen!” It’s really cool that we can even do it. First of all, I had no idea I was even going to reach thirty (thousand). I didn’t want to look like a fool. It’s a hard thing to know; you’re with your close friends asking, “How much do I ask for?” “Ask for 100,000!” “Are you crazy?” “Ask for 15,000…” So I was like okay, I’ll just go for 30,000 and see what happens.
And you made it and you went way over that. If you didn’t have Kickstarter what do you think you would have done to get out there and get on tour again?
I’d probably just be playing shows in New York for the next five months, just staying local and playing all the venues there…just trying to play live and taking it from there. Maybe trying to meet with producers and get some new material together for an album. But I feel like it’s time to get across the states and play for the people who have been supporting my music. It’s time to stop talking about it and do it. I was really thinking to myself “If I get this money I’m going to rent a van, get the guys together, figure out the costs and expenses, I’ll be the tour manager, I can do this, I can make it happen.” And now with the amount of fans who’ve come forward I really want this tour to be great. I want it to be super-pro. It’s super overwhelming….