Statement of Purpose: Jer
As Eric and I have taken the plunge in launching this new venture, Future Fields, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on my history and on what has driven us to pursue this concept. I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by an unbelievable group of co-conspirators so far in my life. These people have shaped who I am as a person and as a musician. I wanted to share some of those influences.
I grew up in a musical family. My Dad played guitar whenever he could find the rare block of free time. My Mom plays piano and sings in the church. I was lucky to be raised with supportive parents that allowed me to take a leap and put academia on the back burner in order to dive headfirst into music. That was 8 years ago. Every day I am appreciative of their encouragement as I’ve somehow been able to make music my career. From my Dad especially, I learned to give everyone the time of day, and value every opinion even if it is contrary to your own.
From playing Punk songs to no one in VFW halls and teen centers, I learned that in order to succeed in music, you have to have your heart in it. Just keep trying. From having my heart broken and playing sad solo acoustic songs in coffee shops, I learned how to engage with a crowd, even if they originally just showed up to read the paper. I learned that music was therapy.
From meeting my first musical mentors (turned brethren) in The Grift, I learned how to be humbled by being in the presence of master musicians. I learned how to lead a band. From recording with Mike Poorman, I learned the value of professionalism mixed with levity in the studio. From Zac Clark I learned how to follow your gut and never stop chasing inspiration.
From working with a variety of people in many different facets of the business side of the industry, I learned what to do, and often what not to do, while working with others. From Caroline Rose I learned that I’m not nearly as good of a songwriter as I used to think I was, but more importantly I think I learned how to live. How to have a insatiable thirst for everything around you. How to work and work and work until you get it right.
From collaborating with Eric Maier I learned how important it is to surround yourself with alternate perspectives. Checks and balances are key. I realized that 80% of the time I could probably stand to do 20% less. And 80% of the time I could do 80% more. Also, I realized I can’t play jazz to save my life. From Mark Daly, I realized that sometimes, you just need to let your freak flag fly. Also, I learned that Mark Daly is a freak of a musician.
There are far too many people to name who have defined who I am today, so I’ll stop here. The point is, all of these incredible human beings have had a profound effect on my personal values, musical sensibilities and view of the world. Our Future Fields concept grows out of all of these relationships, and aims to honor the values we’ve learned from them.
Conversely, I’m saddened by seeing my friends struggle to pay the bills while putting their musical aspirations on hold. I’m tired of them feeling like their art isn’t valuable. We can do better than the antiquated big business model. Its pursuit of profit has forced and “focus-grouped” unique musical talents into making art meant to please everyone, and in the process, pleases no one. I don’t believe this dying dinosaur is a meaningful or appropriate way to proceed with a sustainable artistic life.
I believe Future Fields could be a viable alternative. We seek to lift the curtain and bringing supporters and artists together. Small monthly payments from fans and friends are met with access to exclusive music and content - even guest list spots to shows - in order for the artists to keep making art. What they were born to do. The conventional wisdom suggests that in 2015, if you’re making music professionally, you’re either independently wealthy or out of your mind. We’d like to change that.
Our first artist is Madaila. If you’ve made it this far, please take the time to check out their patron page! There are a ton of ways to become involved and help create a future that sustains independent music.