Be Inspired: How A 22 Year Old Small Town Girl Kickstarted Over Five Times Her Goal
By: JoAnna Klein
Please, hold the blonde jokes!Â It was no joking matter when Julia Nunes, a 22 year old blond from Rochester, New York raised $77,888 to fund her fourth album using Kickstarter.com.
How did she do it?Â Well, I donâ€™t think there is a magic formula for success.Â Besides being talented, Julia Nunes is quirky, interesting, genuine and truly puts herself out there.Â Sheâ€™s like your weird little sister, and never stops cracking you up, at least thatâ€™s how I see her. Beyond that sheâ€™s appreciative and responsive to fans.
Julia Nunes has had an online presence since she started posting youtube videos in 2007.Â Since then, just being herself, she has opened for Ben Folds and Ben Kweller, jammed out with Weezer at Bonaroo, self-produced three albums on her record label, Rude Butler Records (named after the part she played in a fourth grade musical) and sold out shows in the UK.Â And sheâ€™s done all this while going to college.
You can find out almost everything you could possibly want to know about Julia online, except maybe her school, because her mom told her not to tell you.Â Sheâ€™s on Kickstarter, Facebook, Youtube, as Jaaaaaaa (thatâ€™s 7 as because thatâ€™s what came out when she kept pressing the a key), Myspace, Last FM and her website julianunes.com.
Why would Julia go to Kickstarter when she already had success without it?Â In a nut shell, it allows her to maintain total control over her production while keeping her out of debt.Â Besides that, sheâ€™s devoted to her fans.Â Kickstarter allows her to offer rewards to fans that she would never sell on her website.Â Sheâ€™s putting ever person that donated over $30 into the liner notes of her Album.Â She also will perform a private concert for backers that pledged over $2500.
Despite her busy schedule with touring, producing an album and organizing all of the rewards she promised on Kickstarter, Julia found some time to tell GlamourNerd a little bit about her experience with music and kickstarter.Â The transcript is below, unedited (some minor things were corrected), because in one of her videos, she expressed that â€śIâ€™m not looking to get famous because…fame kind of sucks.â€ťÂ She was worried that she has no control of how others might edit what she says.
Q: When and how did you get started in music?
A: Whole life kind of deal, I was raised with a piano in the house and plenty of guitars around and my parents always singing and playing so I’ve never not been into music.
Q: How did you get to the point where you were opening up for bands like Ben Folds and playing with Weezer?
A: No idea how! Both were totally out of the blue.Â I played with them [Weezer] on a song during their set. Kind of an impromptu jam session.
Q: If you’re opening up for some pretty well known bands, then you obviously already have nice publicity.Â Have you been offered record deals from any record labels?
A: I wouldn’t say publicity has anything to do with opening for the bands I’ve opened for, nor does publicity mean you’ll get offered record deals. I credit all of the opportunities I’ve had to the awesome people who have shared my music with their friends. Word of mouth is way better than a publicist some times.
Q: If you were offered a record deal, why did you decide to self-produce it via Kickstarter instead of joining a label?
A: I’ve talked to record labels, but doing it via kickstarter has allowed me to make exactly the kind of album I want to make without input from a label
Q: How did you hear about Kickstarter?
A: Other friends having done the same thing to fund their albums.
Q: What do you like most about kickstarter?
A: I think it’s a genius idea that takes pre-selling an album to way greater extremes and really makes people feel the effects they can have on an artist and the music they’ll be hearing in a few months time.
Q: Did you find kickstarter easy to use?Â How much of your time did it take up?Â What were you doing while waiting for the pledges?
A: I took a lot of time organizing the rewards and making sure I didn’t just offer a million different things that would all jumble together and look sloppy. You can put as much effort as you want into it, so it can be easy but I toiled over it for a while. I was biting my nails the whole time.
Q: What determines the closing date of the goal?
A: You do, whatever you want
Q: Does Kickstarter require a video?Â How did you go about making yours?
A: Kickstarter encourages it. For me it was obviously a no brainer because my whole career is based on video
Q: You seem ambitious and positive enough and have done this without Kickstarter.Â How much do you think it helped you?Â What would you have done if Kickstarter did not exist?
A: I’ve done it without Kickstarter.Â I’ve release 3 albums so I know exactly what I would’ve done, but kickstarter isn’t just about raising funds. It’s about creating a community, and extending yourself to your fans in a way that wasn’t possible before. I was able to offer personalized, doodled ukuleles to backers in addition to the album that they were helping make. It’s definitely a huge help for me, but I also think it’s a whole new vein of cool stuff that fans can acquire that they get just as pumped about.
Q: You asked for $15,000 and raised over 5 times that goal.Â How did you come up with that goal in the first place, and in your opinion, what do you think catapulted you to where you are now?Â Did you use other social media? Ad campaigns, positive thinking?Â The great magnet or the secret?Â God?Â Satan?Â Whatever….
A: The budget came from my producer: (price of studio per day x days in studio) + (price per song for engineer/producer x number of songs) + ((price per song for musician x number of songs) number of musicians)+(price per song for mixing/mastering x number of songs) + (cost of printing per CD x number of CDs printed) = budget.
HAH do you remember the order of operations!? Math skilllllzzzzz
But yeah I have no idea how it went so far above and beyond. I’d like to think it’s just that so many people wanted the rewards I was offering. I was publicized on CNN 2 days before the end of the campaign but even before that I’d hit $65,000
Q: How does kickstarter tell you when you’ve hit your goal, and what were you thinking in your head when you found out, and then…when you realized pledges were still coming?
A: I think they expect you to be watching your own project, which I was. I hit my goal within 24 hours and I was completely blown away.
Q: What did you do to celebrate reaching your goal?Â Did you start working on your album right then?
A: I was already working on my album, which was how I was able to play snippets of songs in the kickstarter video
Q: How do they actually give you the money? Did you get a giant check for $77,888?
A: It’s all processed through amazon and you make an account with them
Q: What happens with the extra $60,000?Â What will you do with it?
A: I’m able to spend more time in the studio, bring in more musicians, I’m making music videos, printing better t-shirts, and trying to put it all into this project. Anything left over goes to help touring costs
Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?
A: Playing music.
Q: Do you see yourself using kickstarter again?Â If so, do you have any new ideas?
A: Not for a long while.
Q: What would you recommend to increase success rate for others with kickstarter projects?Â Do you know other people who have been successful?
A: Have awesome fans.
Juliaâ€™s next show is Monday, August 22 at Webster Hall in New York City.