The Sound of the Crowdfund

In which The Author buys a very small share in a music video

Catrin Southall and I have been friends for so long that I can’t even remember where and when we first met. It was probably in the Cambrian Inn in Aberdare, and more than likely on a Wednesday night. That was quiz night, and by virtue of our all-round general knowledge, good looks and native charm, our regular team often managed to attract a decent number of attractive young women.
I do know that Cat and I were friends by the time the 2001 Census rolled around. The date has stuck in my mind for a very good reason. On the last Sunday in April everyone in the UK was expected to complete the census return, giving full details of everyone in a particular property that night. I’d filled my form in some days earlier, confident that nothing would change on the crucial night.
On that particular Sunday, we were in the Market Tavern in Aberdare. When I spotted Cat and her sister Delyth at the bar, I also saw the opportunity for some mischief. As soon as Del wandered off, I sidled up to Cat.
‘Catrin, would you like to come back to my house when this place closes?’ I asked, with a sly wink.
Cat looked quite shocked, and it was a few moments before she could answer.
‘I can’t,’ she gasped eventually, ‘I’ve got work in the morning.’
‘So have I,’ I replied. ‘I don’t want sex – I just want to fuck up the census results!’
My prank would have been even more effective because (unlike me) Cat would have been able to fill in the Welsh language form.
Like a lot of my younger friends, Catrin and Delyth had gone to a Welsh-medium school. In common with a number of other Welsh speakers I know, Cat had gravitated towards the performing arts. After winning the prestigious John Tree Award for Young Musicians, she studied Theatre, Music and Media at Trinity College, Carmarthen, during which time she spent an exchange year in the United States.
After university, Cat became a backing vocalist for the Welsh broadcaster S4C, singing alongside stars such as Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Bryn Terfel. She went on to front a rock band called SAL, who were well received by the critics before going their separate ways a few years ago. Since then, Cat’s solo career has continued to develop in several directions, building an impressive portfolio of live and studio performances. A couple of years ago, she appeared on Jools Holland’s BBC TV show, singing backing vocals for the Manic Street Preachers. Understandably, the cameraman and director gave her much more attention and screen time than the lads in the band. You can check out Cat’s own website for a full run-down of her career so far.
Cat’s most recent record, ‘One Day at a Time’, is available through iTunes and other online vendors, but now she’s embarking on something entirely different. She’s recently completed Call Of Distress, a concept LP about a superhero named Nancy Neuron.
To promote this, Cat’s currently working on a video – and this is (hopefully) where you come in. Video production doesn’t come cheap, and she’s decided on a suitably Third Millennium approach to the problem: crowdfunding.
You’ve probably come across this idea already, but if you haven’t, here’s a very brief outline. Crowdfunding is the vehicle of choice for artists who want to get their projects ‘out there’, while bypassing the increasingly staid and hidebound labels/publishers/film companies. It allows creative people to connect directly with their audience, by allowing individuals to buy a small stake in the project. Even best-selling authors have found this a good method to circumvent the traditional supply chain. It’s bringing artists and audiences together in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
Through a website called Indiegogo, Cat’s raising money to pay for her video project. I donated a small amount earlier today, but she’s still got quite a way to go before she hits her target. I know many of my regular readers are music fans, and I’m sure a lot of you would love to support a ‘ground-up’ project like this. As an added incentive, there are a range of ‘perks’ available, including a copy of the LP, a namecheck in the video credits, signed lyric sheets, or even a dinner date with Cat herself (in South Wales only, alas.) Handle this last one with care, as she’s – allegedly – a bit of a party animal!
If you’d like to learn more, why not check out Cat’s crowdfunding page and see what else she’s got on offer?
It’s a great opportunity to support a young performer on a personal basis, rather than just buying gig tickets and/or t-shirts and letting promoters and manufacturers cream off the profits. Every contribution will be an important step towards bringing Nancy Neuron to vivid life.

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On behalf of Cat, diolch yn fawr!
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