So, all the music is recorded, mixed and mastered! Throughout the whole process I have been taking many photographs and sketching as a visual record of the journey. I also spent a day at Eleanor White’s Bridgehouse art studio in Ullapool developing some of these ideas. As this has been such a personal project I was keen to include my artwork on the album cover. Lillias Kinsman-Blake is one of my favourite designers and I was really delighted that she used my artwork on the cover design. You can check out Lillias’s work here.
From the very initial stages of this album project I have been in discussions with the owners of Tanera Mor about launching a new stamp issue alongside my album. Tanera have been producing their own stamps since 1970, attracting stamp collectors all over the World. I am so delighted that we have been able to make this happen and I now have my face on a stamp! You can read more about the collection here and all album orders will be posted using these stamps.
Behind the scenes!
Now for the business side of an album release – I got the albums manufactured by a company called Sound Performance and when the albums arrived back in October it was time to start promoting it for a February release. I was hoping to release this album with a record company to have some financial backing behind it but unfortunately in the age of digital downloads, many record labels do not have the same budgets as they previously did for promoting new artists. It seemed like my own faithful record company, Buie Records was looking like my best option. Although this is initially quite a costly thing to do, this is probably the best approach for independent artists these days especially if you are able to perform live and sell albums at gigs.
I did a lot of research on PR companies to help promote Summer Isles and I ended up using a company called A Badge of Friendship for online and press and Will McCarthy is doing the radio side of things and a company called Cadiz are in charge of the digital and online distribution for Summer Isles.. In the past I have tried to do the PR myself but these days without an official plugger with all the right contacts it is difficult to get anywhere. Again, another cost! Most companies ask for at least a 3 month lead time for getting reviews/publications etc and a lot of the popular ones tend to book up at least a year in advance so I may have to book the PR for my next album now!
I was very fortunate to receive some funding from Creative Scotland to release this album and I could never have afforded to embark on such a costly project without this funding. As always with these things, I have spent over and above the funding received in order to finish what I started! Unfortunately for many artists these days it makes no sense to spend money on making an album as the reality is that even the most wonderful music will not sell enough to recoup costs 🙁 Sorry if this sounds quite negative but please do bare this in mind when streaming good music for free and if you like it, please do support it!
At this stage I feel I have done as much as possible within my budget to get as many folk hearing my album as possible and hopefully this will lead to some sales!
As well as a stamp issue, later this year I will be releasing a Summer Isles Tune Book and also a limited edition vinyl of the album.
Thanks for reading my blog – next blog includes details on Summer Isles live performances and a conclusion on the recording process.