Crowdfunding Spotlight: With ‘Tarantula,’ Misty Dawn is Weaving an Empowering Story

The artist featured within our first-ever UMC Crowdfunding Spotlight is weaving a thoughtful and intricate web…

Misty Dawn is a singer-songwriter and entrepreneur with an extensive background in musical theatre and television. After spending a decade in New York City, The Texas native came to Nashville and developed a sound and style she calls “Show Country.” Misty draws influence from her vast and varied performing arts experience, while finding musical inspiration from jazz, showtunes, oldies, church hymns and — of course — classic country artists like Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Kitty Wells, and Patsy Cline.

Misty has launched a crowdfunding campaign through February 14 (that’s Valentine’s Day!) for her upcoming project, Tarantula, an 8-song concept album tentatively set for release this fall. Tarantula will honor all of Misty’s influences — with a dash of soul and swing — as it walks the thematic tightrope between societal expectations and a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.

Learn more about Tarantula below the jump, and check out these links to support Misty and learn more.

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First, tell us about the project: What’s the style/overall theme?
Misty Dawn: Do you like spiders?

I don’t. Or at least, I used to have a complex relationship with them.

After finding out that, in many cultures, spiders symbolize creativity and feminine power, I decided to befriend spider and lean into her presence in an artistic way! So, I’m doing that by creating my first ever solo, full-length album called Tarantula.

This album is gonna be fun! Think desert country vibes, laden with soul and swing! A little Quentin Tarantino-meets-Lana Del Ray-meets-Elle King.

Told through an eight-song arch, Lady Arachnid must sing and weave her way through and around societal expectations. She must choose each thread carefully, so as to not upset the delicate balance of her personal dreams and what others wish for her.

How far along is the creative process?
MD: We’ve just started recording on the first few songs, and have a final mix for one of them. Because this is a cohesive story, I wanted to give myself time to really make sure all of the songs and pieces fit together. That’s also part of why the release date is later in the year. I have eight songs fully fleshed out, but I’m working on a few others. Depending on how the process goes, they may be moved around or traded out. That’s the beauty of weaving something like this together! There are core songs that are making it for sure, though.

What has fan response been to the crowdfunding campaign so far?
MD: It’s been amazing! We hit $5,000 in the first week, which is nearly 30 percent! I’m really hopeful about it and feel super supported. Still have a ways to go, but it’s exciting to see who’s coming out to back the project. It all means so much to me.

How will fan contributions help ensure the project’s completion?
MD: It takes a village to make music! I think people outside of the industry don’t always have a concept of what it takes to make the music that the enjoy and love (often for free). And, while artists get paid from live shows and streaming, unless you are at a certain level, it’s not enough to sustain or funnel back into the art. The good news is that the direct-to-fan model helps indie artists raise debt-free capital, while maintaining creative and financial control over the work, which is really helpful.

Photo provided by Misty Dawn

I’ve broken down the budget for how the resources will be allocated on the campaign landing page, but first and foremost, they are going toward recording, producing, and paying studio musicians. But, I also added in a marketing budget, plus funds for pressing, merchandise, and a music video.

What will fans get in return for supporting your project?
MD: Oh gosh, so much! I added in some practical, more traditional perks like the actual album, some wearable merch, a vinyl, and other things, but I also am going to be creating an NFT!

I wanted to create a little bit of something for everyone. Some of the bigger perks are me writing a custom song for you or doing a private show.

There are a lot of creative projects out there in need of funding. Why is *this* the one fans should get behind?
MD: I’m a woman who is on the “older side” of what the industry likes to showcase, and I’m not afraid to talk about it. According to an Annenberg study on women in country, “Not one of the top-performing women was over the age of 40… while all but one of country’s top-performing men had reached or exceeded that age.” They found that the average age of top female artists is 29 years old — while for men, the average age is 42.

Why do we have such a fear of aging, and especially for women? We don’t expire! *laughs* That’s part of what I want to capture in Tarantula. There’s a song in there called “Bouffant Barbie” about chasing the fountain of youth, and how unrealistic and unfair that is. I’m approaching 40. Does that mean my story and talent isn’t worth hearing?

I feel like, at this point in my life, I’ve got waaaay better stories to tell, and it’s time to be inclusive around that. I also feel sexier than I ever have in my life, so there’s that. *laughs*

This project is worth supporting if you want to be shining a light on ageism and unrealistic beauty standards for women, but also hear songs that are empowering and more rooted in a life that’s seen some shit. 🙂

What is your fundraising goal?
MD: 18,000 big bones!

What is your fundraising deadline?
MD: The campaign is set to end on Valentine’s Day. So, show me some love, will ya?

Where can fans go to support the project and learn more?
MD: They can read about and support the campaign here: https://ifundwomen.com/projects/tarantula-full-length-lp

Anything else we should know?
MD: Just that this whole project means the world to me, and it’s super exciting to see people supporting it!

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