More than seven years after parting ways with her major label bosses at Universal, Gwyneth Herbert has proved she has plenty of entrepreneurial spirit.
The hugely talented singer, who grew up in Surrey, has turned to the emerging trend of “crowd funding” to finance her latest album, The Sea Cabinet.
As she revealed, generous fans have shown that this business concept really can work- providing you go about it in an imaginative and engaging fashion.
In her case, she has raised more than £11,000 for studio recording time in Suffolk, which has enabled her album to see the light of day this month.
Gwyneth offered people the chance to join her “sea crew” with levels of donation ranging from “sirens” who are sent a signed album, through to offering singing lessons up to “Quartermasters” members, who received a unique recording of a track of their choice.
“I had no idea how much people would want to invest in our music, but we gained more than £13,000 which was incredible,” enthuses the 31 year-old in her engaging tones.
The past decade has certainly been something of a rollercoaster adventure for Gwyn, whose debut album drew praise from fans and celebrity admirers alike.
But frustrated by the demands of being bound by corporate convention, she appears far happier making music far more on her own terms. While it may have been a heck of a lot harder going it alone, she at least has the services of an impressive backing band including guitarist Al Cherry to call upon.
There’s also the not so insignificant matter of continued critical acclaim heading her way that has also served to spur her on along with an especially loyal fanbase.
She adds: “When you are up there singing on stage you can sometimes forget that you are part of an audience’s story- I hear things like how one of my songs was played as a wedding dance and another woman who listened to my last album during childbirth, so they claim ownership of the things you have written.
“So doing crowd funding has given people to be even more a part of the recordings that I’ve done,” reveals Gwyn, who says it has taken plenty of hard graft to make her way in an industry severely affected by the recession.
But it seems there’s nothing else she would rather be doing and her latest album finds her in richly-creative form, drawing on the inspirational Suffolk seaside to forge her latest material, which she is releasing under her own steam.
“When I left Universal, I did not want anything to do with major contracts, so I set up my own label and all we needed to do was get in touch with a distribution company who can get records out in the shops and on ITunes.
“I gained part funding from Aldeburgh Music for the new album, which costs a huge amount of money to do. It feels amazing to be able to go in there and properly pay all the people who have played on the record, who are all great.
“This album has been three years in the making and it feels amazing to have done it and played with some great people including the Rubber Wellies duo. I’m really proud of it and it’s so exciting to share it with people now and hope they enjoy it.”