WELCOME TO MY CROWDFUNDER!
My name's Jam, I'm a composer based in Brighton, UK. Let's begin with...
THE SAD STORY OF A PLAGUE SHIP
In April 2020, I was flown home to London from America on an emergency charter at 3am. The five weeks leading up to that were spent trapped on a ship I was working on at the time, just off the coast of Chile. As the world's ports shut down in the pandemic, thousands of crew members like me were left stranded at sea.
After weeks of not knowing what was going to happen, we made our way up through Panama. To avoid any media coverage, we traversed the canal in blackout and made the Florida coast by dawn, only to find ourselves on every international news channel as the trump administration decided, live on TV, whether or not we should be allowed to dock.
Onboard, people around me got sick with an unknown virus and died. I locked myself away in my cabin and wrote music. I didn't know what else to do. For composers like me, there is nothing else. During those five weeks, I didn't know when I'd get off that ship or if I'd even make it home alive. But I did know that I had tons of music in me and had to get as much of it down, there and then, because I didn't know how much time I had left.
Fast-forward a year and I am safely at home, rehearsing my concert for Brighton Fringe! It's been a crazy ride for everyone, but I'm constantly asked what it was like. I don't really know how to express it all in talking, but my music is my art and it's all in there.
After the release of my first album Secret Winter, I got signed to independent classical label Collaborative Records to create my second album, Luna Moth (Actias Luna), a music study of the emotional data we share with these massive, beautiful moths.
I then put out The Piano Library and I have two more neo-classical piano albums currently in the works. I've also put out 12 pop singles, each in a different genre. This challenge has been so much fun! You can check it out on Spotify here.
COLLABORATION IS EVERYTHING
Recently, I've set up music-making partnerships with some seriously diverse creatives and making some wonderful music:
✧ Two remotely-based choreographers in rural Canada, with whom I'm making a beautiful community dance collab piece
✧ I was music arranger for The Baby Mine Lullaby Project and hit no.5 on iTunes children's charts in 2020
✧ New music commissions for Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, Academy City Singers, Orlando Gay Chorus and RainbowChorus
✧ Producing a new folk album with one of the best contestants from X Factor
✧ And I'm currently re-imagining a classic British play as a ballet with Joseph Poulton (Cats, Porgy & Bess 2019) and Patricia Doyle (Northern Ballet)
KING JAMSHEED: LONELY PIANO
streaming 28 May to 27 June 2021
LONELY PIANO - the concert
The initial project funding is simply to put on the concert and pay for piano rental, tuning, venue hire, equipment hire, insurance and most importantly, paying people: lighting designer, camera operator, livestream tech and everything I need to perform and broadcast the show. Rewards include access to the streaming broadcast.
The concert itself will be centred around new music that I've created for it alongside the more popular tracks from my work across the last year. This includes songs from all my albums plus synth and organic sample music, in a more neo-classical style.
LONELY PIANO - the film
The long-term stretch goal of this crowdfunder will be postproduction costs to edit the final movie. What I am creating is a short music film that includes footage shot at the Brighton Fringe concert alongside dance and movement elements woven into the narrative, as well as some beautiful special effects (involving a lot of pianos!) all shot in unusual locations in my hometown of Brighton.
This will require two shoot days, editing and post production, which is where a lot of the budget goes on these kinds of projects.
The finished film will be an evocative, evolving, unusual piece of filmmaking. It will serve as a showcase for my music, leading me to future commissions. But most importantly, it will be an important and beautiful piece of evidence of what is possible through collaboration, creativity and crowd support.
Initial funds up to the first goal of £2,000 will fund the concert. Any further funds up to the stretch goal will fund the film.
In all my work, I make deliberate efforts to seek out and employ artists and creatives from under-represented and diverse communities. This is one of the biggest and most impactful things that this project will provide: FREELANCE EMPLOYMENT!
The number of people I can bring onto the project is very much defined by how much I raise here. I'm committed to fair day rates, as set out by the industry, and to providing opportunities for young people to work for fair pay in the music industry. Non-binary artists of colour like myself are under-represented in our industry too, so I also always seek to use my platform to address this.
Covid stole everything from us freelancers, but we're not that easily knocked down. Through this project, you can show your support for the creative people that the government shamefully allowed to slip through the net.
By pledging your support, you will be a part of the creation of something unique. Music and film that is lasting and beautiful is a continued artistic gift that has life way beyond the performance.
Also, check out the fun rewards: Concert tickets, a virtual tour of my studio space, right up to YOU being named Executive Producer on the project.
Putting all of this together requires a fair amount of funding but I want to make something incredible. The great thing about film is that in 10, 20 or 100 years from now, there will exist a perfect slice of our artistic contribution. We are each put on earth for a reason and mine is to create music. But I cannot fund this alone, which is where you come in.
WHAT WILL THE MONEY PAY FOR?
✧ Venue hire for my Brighton Fringe streaming show
✧ Piano hire & tuning
✧ Camera & livestream operator
✧ Sound & lighting kit hire
✧ Advertising with Fringe and local media
✧ Video post-editor
✧ Music scores printing for recording
✧ Studio hire
✧Director, choreographer & dancers
✧ Film promo & distribution
I was awarded the Irene Mensah bursary for my Brighton Fringe concert, which covers the Brighton Fringe registration fee of £150, and thanks to a couple of my incredibly loyal subscribers, I've raised a few hundred already and I have several grant applications in: Arts Council, Lottery Fund & PRS Foundation. But all funding bodies need to see other people (that's you!) already pledging support to a project before they offer help. They're also swamped right now, so arts funding is a real lottery.
As a UK freelancer previously working for a USA cruise line, I've had zero support from the UK government and no furlough available since losing everything to covid in 2020. But this has driven me to create the music that I am the most proud of in my life so far.
Crowdfunder is very sweetly waiving their fee because my Fringe show is limited to streaming only as a direct result of covid.
Streaming events sell far fewer tickets than live gigs because you only require one sale per device, rather than one per person attending a gig. This means the revenue from the Brighton Fringe show won't be a huge amount, but everything goes towards the big project. Tickets to the online stream itself, running 28 May to 27 June 2021, are included in the rewards.
LISTEN AND WATCH
Listen to me on Spotify
Watch me in concert
A great of example if the kind of film I'm planning, by one of my all-time idols Ólafur Arnalds and director Vincent Moon: When We Are Born