I had an incredible album release party for Room 325 and I could not have wished for a more wonderful celebration of music, art, and good vibes all around. If you weren't there, here's a breakdown of what happened and who was there:
The party was held at The Loft in Costa Mesa with food and drinks from OC Wine School, Avalon Tours and Gina's Pizza. I had incredible art displayed all over the loft, including art by the album artist Moore Damm Art and my portrait artist K.Lilly, as well as Gigi Valdes, George Loyo, Ty Rose, and Alexander Peuchot. Even the album photographer Bleu Cotton was there taking paparazzi photos. ;) Finally, I had wonderful music, starting with Jordan Buckelew, Rick Sherman, Tina Wilson, Mark Wood and Lacey Marie, Zach Sorgen from Wake the Wild, drummer Anthony Riedelsheimer of The Music Factory, saxist Dannie Hofmann and his friend Richard (trumpet) of Private Property, bassist Bart Broadnax, guitarist Andre Rossignol, and pianist Lex Leigh. Even Dr. Barry from KOCI Radio was there to support! All links and descriptions below.
I started the night with a few originals, and then handed it over to my friends and musicians to play while I signed albums, photos, and talked to everyone there, although I played more songs from the album between sets throughout the night. The food was wonderful, the drinks stayed full, and I had the time of my life. A special thank you to my parents, their friends (you know who you are), and my sister for helping out and making the party run smoothly!
So many of these people have had an influence in my performance, songwriting, or development as a person and it was such an amazing feeling to look around and see the love, passion, and happiness pulsing through the room. People came from over an hour away to play at no cost and to just be there to support me. Here are all the shout-outs and links if you want to contact them:
The Loft- an incredible space for creative people run by the very generous Keith Page. They also do events like mine and are very reasonable and so helpful.
OC Wine School - my parents' wine classes, held at local wineries or at your home!
Avalon Wine Tours - my parents' wine tour business, all custom tours anywhere in the world.
Gina's Pizza - my uncle's pizzeria - hands-down the best pizza (and beer) in Irvine! (near UCI)
Moore Damm Art by Dede Dammann and Amy Moore - they did the artwork for everything on the album and I wrote my thank you letters are on their cards. They create anything from wall hangings to sock monkeys and are the nicest two people in the world.
Bleu Cotton - his photo is on the back of the album. The most creative, fast, and jovial guy to take photos at your event or in his studio.
K.Lilly - my cousin who moved to Idaho a few years ago. She did the portraits for the GoGetFunding packages. Her art is quick, affordable and genius.
Gigi Valdes - my lovely aunt who makes art but won't sell, and her good friend George Loyo.
Ty Rose - an artist from The Loft. Beautiful work!
Alexander Peuchot and his gallery The Art Box - a visual artist and makeup artist from The Loft.
Jordan Buckelew- a singer/songwriter with a pretty face, gravely voice, and killer blues guitar.
Rick Sherman - the first man I ever sang jazz with 10 years ago! Incredible performer, knows every song in the book, and plays frequently at Baci Italian Restaurant and the Newport Harbor Elks Lodge.
Tina Wilson- wonderful jazz singer and voice-over artist. Sweetest woman in the world. Plays with Rick often.
Mark Wood - also knows every song in the book. I first met him when he played "Just Read" for all the children at Newport Elementary fifteen years ago. He was the one who got me playing at the Blue Beet! He also has a very talented daughter Lacey Marie who sings jazz.
Anthony Riedelsheimer - fantastic drummer and runs The Music Factory, a marvelous music school in Santa Ana with private lessons for all instruments.
Dannie Hofmann - fabulous sax player, and a part of jazz group Private Property, which recently brought in Richard who was playing trumpet at the party!
Bart Broadnax- the only bassist I have ever played with in California - always there, always spot-on, always generous and patient. (Pretty sure he gives private lessons.)
Lex Leigh - Fabulous jazz pianist and violinist. Nowadays he musically directs and plays broadway music. Perfect for your next classy party. ;)
101.5 KOCI - Barry was at the release and has always been there to bring me into the studio during his show on Sunday afternoons. KOCI is always looking for donations and sponsors - don't let my generation's music take over the radio, please...
Once again, thank you! If you need more information on anyone mentioned above feel free to email me. The album Room 325 will be publicly released on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 and directly available at cdbaby.com (search Sam Avalon). It should be released on iTunes and Amazon shortly thereafter, however, keep in mind that you can always buy a digital download or a hard copy directly through me at my GoGetFunding Page... I only make about $6 per album on those other sites! I should also appear on sites like Pandora once the album is processed, so keep a lookout for Sam Avalon!
I have decided to keep the GoGetFunding page open indefinitely, and here's why: once I raise enough money to cover my costs and pay all my musicians a fair wage (I'm halfway there), any additional funds will go towards some very needed recording equipment for both my community-service based children's choir, YSOC (www.YoungSingersOC.org) and the Vassar Devils a cappella group at Vassar College (who sang on the final track of the album - http://vsa.vassar.edu/orgs/vassardevils/).
I am packing now to leave for a job with a Japanese non-profit called The Ashinaga Foundation, which will be sending me to and from Japan and Senegal for the next year. I will keep an updated music blog on the GoGetFunding Page and my websitewww.SamAvalon.com. Keep spreading the word and sharing the love! Thank you!
The CDs should be arriving tomorrow - can't wait! Most importantly, I am hosting an album release party this upcoming Tuesday, June 17th from 7-10pm at The Loft in Costa Mesa. RSVP on the facebook page (or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to waive the $10 entrance! Bring friends and family - all ages are welcome. Here is the event: Sam Avalon's Album Release
Join Sam Avalon this Tuesday night to celebrate the release of her album "Room 325". Food, wine, beer, art, music, and friends. What more do you need?
I am leaving for my job in Japan in 2 weeks, so this is the perfect opportunity to have a good time and see me before I'm gone!
This is a public event. All ages welcome. If you RSVP via Facebook (or email email@example.com) you don't have to pay the $10 cover charge. ;) If you are not in the area, please watch the live stream at Concert Window at the same time.
The LOFT is located at Suite 108, 1954 Placentia Ave. between 19th and 20th St. There will be signs and lots of parking (but if we overflow turn left directly after entering the gate for underground parking).
Just got off the phone with disc makers (www.discmakers.com). Dede and Amy from Moore Damm Art (www.MooreDammArt.com) have been working SO HARD and losing so much sleep over this album cover and I could not have been more picky, difficult, and grateful. These are the two kindest hearts I could ever work with and I am SO EXCITED to hold the art in my hands!
I had a little trouble yesterday and was worried about making the deadline in order to get the CDs in time. I was desperate need of a more recent professional headshot... At 2pm yesterday, I called my dad's friend Bleu Cotton (www.bleucotton.com) if there was any way he could squeeze me in. By 3pm I was at his studio. After the first click of his camera, Bleu stepped back and said, "Okay that's great, we're done!" We took a lot more photos, but the photograph on the back cover of the album is actually the first picture he took - he has mad skills. So I grabbed that photo and sent it to Amy and Dede again and let them stay up really late (again) to get it all done!
If I proof all the album art right now and approve, 1,000 CDs will be at my doorstep by Friday, June 13th! This is just in time for the annual Relay for Life event that weekend, where I will be playing music and selling CDs to donate all the money to the American Cancer Society.
Then it's the album release party on Tuesday, June 17th. (More info soon!) I reached out to all my musician friends in Orange County and they have all been enthusiastic about playing with me at the party so it is going to be a great night! Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far - I am writing the thank you letters already!
We are past $5,000! This means that the money from here can start to go towards paying these musicians for their fine work on the album... so keep spreading the word and sharing me around. :)
I just got off the phone with Mark, who is mixing and mastering the album. He is sending me the final tracks within the next hour! I sat with him for two days (and he worked a little bit on his own obviously) to edit the tracks... It was incredible to watch him work. There are a few clips I took of "before-and-afters" of the tracks he was fixing up that I am including in the "behind-the-scenes" video that you might have bought! I brought a few Vassar Devils in too (from my a cappella group) and they were amazed/so inspired. If anyone is reading this and wants their stuff mixed and/or mastered, go to www.markdannrecording.com. He is super fast and very aware of your budget.
I also have been talking to Dede and Karen, who are doing the artwork for the album and the portraits that are included in the benefits on the main page. They are looking really factastic. Theme colors are my favorite: tourquoise and red. :)
I also just flew in to CA last night... happy to be here, but already missing Vassar. Never again will I be 5 minutes away from a free recording studio, amazing musicians, best friends, endless amounts of alcohol, endless amounts of books, and infinite fun and love. I'm hoping to find that wherever I go, but right now, I am feeling for Vassar like I've never been homesick before. The album is going to be an incredible piece of nostalgia for me, forever. :)
Well, I guess you can say my album is done, at least as far as everything I can do myself. We finished the final marathon "pre-mastering" session with Mark Dann (over 10 hours!) around midnight last Friday, and now it's up to him to work his mastering magic for me. Terry, my guitar teacher who is SOOOO much more than that, was of course by my side all the time. I owe him so much! Going to post a couple of clips of his comments on the process up here soon (excerpts from the "behind the scenes" video).
And, I graduated on Sunday. So you're no longer supporting a college kids I guess!
It's time to adjust to being a grown-up, so this project will really help to keep my mind off the sadness of leaving the incredible home I had the past 4 years at Vassar College.
Yes, I made it to 50% of my $10,000 goal by the time I graduated! THANK YOU everyone who has backed my project so far. Please tell your friends, and also send them to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaSmithMusic . All that networking is what I need!!
1. I just did a presentation at my Media Studies Thesis Symposium on this project, in which I explained the collective and collaborative work that went (and is still going) into the production process of this album. I shared some of the unmixed, unmastered tracks with the group of students and professors and the reactions I received makes me even more impatient to show it to you all!
2. I have ONE MORE recording session left, and then I'm heading on over to get it mixed and mastered by the one and only Mark Dann in the Hudson Valley of New York. Here is his link if you are a musician yourself and looking for someone who works quick and clean: www.markdannrecording.com
3. I am graduating in TWELVE DAYS. I can't believe four years have gone so Currently freaking out, so if you could send this link along to all your friends there would be one less thing for me to worry about!