The idea of turning to the online community to back a musical project is popular in places like the United States, where former Dresden Dolls singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer raised a whopping $1.2 million through the process.

But for South Africans, the concept is still relatively new. As an independent artist, Tori says she needed to find a way to make her songs available to the public without using traditional methods of financing an album. The response she received surprised and impressed her, and at the same time left her slightly disappointed.

“I guess I was expecting more but I was surprised that anybody even donated in the first place,” Tori told Perdeby before her set at the Ray Ban stage at Oppikoppi.

She believes part of the problem is that South Africans are still cautious about purchasing things online.

“I’m going to tell myself that is why more people didn’t donate and not because they didn’t want to hear my music,” says Tori laughing.

Either way, she managed to raise enough money to release her album, Be Brave, in June this year. Tori uses her exquisite songcraft to puzzle over a number of her worries. 

On “Neon Lights”, she talks about overcoming rejection (“I’m scrubbing and I’m scrubbing but I can’t get you out), while on title track “Be Brave”, she talks about having enough courage to pursue what you want to do (“Throw caution to the wind, be brave”).

But she doesn’t stop there. On songs like “Grand Delusions”, Tori channels the storyteller in her to talk about life as musician constantly on the road (“They’d come with stars in their eyes to the bright lights of the stage/ where it was rumoured giants sung and they had yearnings to assuage”), and on “Dear John” she vents about guys who have treated her badly (“I wasn’t born only for your pleasure and I’m not your porn magazine. It’s how you treat a woman that measures the kind of man you’ve been”).

Tori enlisted the help of producer Jay Bones ?of Fuzigish and Rambling Bones fame? to bring her project to life in the studio, something she finds more difficult than writing or performing.

“I was so afraid of coming across as pretentious,” says Tori of the recording process.

She also had to learn how to relinquish creative control to Bones, who would challenge her creatively. 

“It was about learning to trust someone else and understanding that I chose him because I trust him enough to do it,” she says.

So would the singer-songwriter go the crowd-funding route again?

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to about it said that they loved the process of being involved,” says Tori.

“But I want to do something with it differently, like a different album. It will be for something else, it’s exciting.” 

Image: museonline.co.za

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