This article was written by James Brinsford, a GIGsoup contributor.
There are many routes that can be taken when a musician or band stand at the beginning of their journey. Most of them will lead no further than the local pub circuit and back in to regular employment but there are just one or two that are paved with gold.
Whatever the route taken, it is very unusual for success to be instant and even the sight of a record deal can be pretty rare no matter how talented you may be. So what happens when an artists turns down a deal so that they can look at a ‘do-it-yourself’ option?
Lucy Kitchen, the singer-songwriter from Southampton, did just that and as her debut album ‘Waking’ garners rave reviews and has propelled her to a slot on the Glastonbury Festival bill, the question is, ‘How did her DIY method succeed so spectacularly?’
The answer couldn’t be more straightforward. “I had a really clear vision,” explains Lucy, “of how I wanted it all to turn out as far as the music and the presentation. It just seemed to make sense to release it myself.”
This wasn’t a situation upon which the folk-inspired singer was forced in to. “I had a couple of smaller labels interested in putting my album out but as I’d funded the recording myself mainly through gigs and painting a friend’s basement. The main deciding factor though was having complete artistic control.”
With the decision made, where do you start when you’ve bypassed the music industry to release your work upon the world? It wasn’t straightforward, that’s for certain.
“It was a big learning process!” Said Lucy, “I was keen to make sure I’d set everything up properly and there is a lot of conflicting information available online, which wasn’t always helpful!”
Eventually Lucy found the right path and the process started to gather momentum. “The album was finished and mastered in the September and was released the following March so it took a few months – a lot of which was doing the artwork, which I designed myself though I probably wouldn’t do this again to be honest!”
So with the music and artwork in the can, so to speak, it was just a matter of getting the CD mass produced, or least to a quantity to make it a viable project.
“I wanted it in a digipack format with a lyric booklet for a price I was happy,” explained Lucy, “thankfully I found Alpha Duplication and they would do a number of CD’s and were hugely helpful.”
So with the production sorted it was the nitty-gritty that tied up Lucy’s time as the process of registering her album almost became a insurmountable sticking point.
“Trying to find information on how to do things, particularly around ISRC codes, was frustrating and then getting set up with all the rights bodies for registering the album tracks took weeks. These were all the not so interesting bits!”
The release of ‘Waking’ set Lucy Kitchen on the way to places where she hadn’t previously thought possible. The almost casual decision to enter the entrancing ‘Blue Skies’ in to Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent has triggered a snowballing effect of interest in Lucy as she was selected for the final and subsequently a slot on the Avalon Stage at the world’s greatest festival.
It hasn’t stopped there as the Cambridge Folk Festival came knocking and now Lucy is on the precipice of a success that she hadn’t dreamed off when recording her tracks last year, especially as sales of her album have started to gather momentum.
“I need to do a re-press in the next couple of weeks as I’ve nearly sold out so I can’t complain!” Said Lucy, “I’ve had another little flurry of sales with the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Finals and gigs I’ve had on around that which is always nice.”
Lucy Kitchen hasn’t ruled out continuing down her DIY route for further releases despite the admin side being a little tortuous but until then she will enjoy riding the wave of her new found popularity, that will only increase the deeper she goes in to the summer festival season.