To Love To Leave To Live

215 3Arts supporters
$11,370 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 10, 2017
    • 227% contributed

I’m a musician, songwriter, and singer and over the past decade+ I’ve made my way throughout the western world as an independent, grassroots troubadour. To help promote my eighth release and fourth full-length album, To Love To Leave To Live, I’m producing a series of music videos intended to expand the songs and stories beyond their sonic form. These songs wade through my recent experiences with divorce and its side-effects; the rebounding and unraveling; then weaving myself back together through meditation, melody, and the making of a home. The songs are visual and visceral and to amplify their nature, I’m working with choreographers, dancers, filmmakers, and artists from across the country to create evocative short films that show more of the story than can simply be sung into a song. Each and every record sale, Spotify stream, and live performance over the past couple years has been enough for me to hire an inimitable cast of musicians and engineers to create a stunner of an album. But my humble coffers will only go so far and I’m seeking your financial helping hand to pay the dancers, filmmakers, editors, artists, and crew, as well as cover equipment rental. Realistically, costs for the videos will exceed $5,000. If I’m lucky and we’re able to stretch beyond the target, additional funds will go towards manufacturing costs and hiring a publicist to run a national PR campaign–for which these videos will be the core asset! I’m blessed to be able to make my way through the world as a minstrel! But no matter how much I value my independence, the years have taught me that none of it would be possible without friends like you there to listen, relate, appreciate, and lend a hand.

About This Project

I feel like I’m in new territory here—and I like it! Up until this past year, my creative mind only thrived in that space where music and language collide: song. But there was a younger me once who drew obsessively, wrote short stories, and danced awkwardly in her South Dakota bedroom. Over the years that person was all but swallowed up by the single-minded musician in me, but now she’s re-emerging. Over the past couple years I have felt a drive to create handmade art pieces and tactile offerings to partner with my music, and with this new album my desire to visually articulate the songs has only increased. That brings us to this series of music videos, already in production.

Last autumn, as I was listening to mixes from the studio, I started to see things. It felt like I’d just stumbled upon a secret passageway in my maker-mind. A dreamscape plot for my song Courthouse began to unfold: a magical realism storyline kept tethered by a grounded tightrope I walked upon, moving forward out of marriage, sometimes unsteady, ever into the unknown. Enter the feature-length filmmaker, Scott Foley, who I met in my Chicago years. He’s helping me bring Courthouse and two other videos to life. And then I kept seeing dancers. Bodies lithe, supple, and unabashed, expressing my song Windswept in an elemental way I could never physically do myself. It’s a song about meditation and being swept up by the raging uncertainty of a mind. Enter Hiponymous, a dance duo I reached out to only to get a swift reply saying they’re already fans of my music so—yes—let’s make art together! There’s also a stunning abstract painter in NYC, a multi-media video artist/composer in Chicago, and other collaborations still in formation.  

While I’ve made a smattering of music videos for my last three releases, I’ve found them to be fairly challenging, and not just in terms of creative vision. While there’s a direct financial return on releasing a record (when people buy them!), there’s no concrete return on music videos, and yet they’re arguably the most powerful promotional asset these days. We gaze at our screens and watch them for free, while they cost $100s and easily many $1000s to make. The financial reality of this can be hard to stomach—and even harder to pull off—when you’re an independent, self-funded artist. But I believe now, more so than ever, it’s worth my doing, both in terms of current music industry reality and considering a surprising new twist in my story....

The release of To Love To Leave To Live comes at a curious crux in my career. This spring, after performing under my given name since my earliest high school demos, I decided to rebrand and claim the stage name Her Crooked Heart. While the change and new name feel liberating, poetic, and true, it’s unquestionably a bold and risky move! I’ve essentially shoved into the shadows six Rachel Ries releases and nearly all my hard-won name recognition. But the pros far outweigh the cons and I’ve leapt with no regret. This album—along with the music videos to elevate them—is my new beginning and it feels right and good for 3Arts to once again play a part. In 2010, 3Arts swept into my life out of nowhere and awarded me not only with a chunk of money, but with a deep sense of my own value and faith that what I made mattered. I’d pulled the plug on my music career three years prior after disillusionment and longing for ‘success’ made it too hard to see. But by 2010 it was clear I couldn’t thrive in a life without song so I began to tiptoe back to music. That’s when 3Arts appeared to stand beside me, cheering me on, and they’ve been here ever since. It meant—and still means—so much to me. Even though I’m no longer a Chicago resident, my alliance, respect, and musical lineage is entwined with the city and I’m forever grateful that 3Arts still considers me one of their own and a maker worth championing. Creating a life built on song is a wild way to go! But I’ve learned it’s the way for me. May the songs and videos for To Love To Leave To Live serve to enrich those who hear them and may they mark the start of a vibrant new volume of my career. Thanks for being here.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Hats-off-to-you on social media + download of my most recent EP "To Gentlemen" ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $15
    Above + an advance download of my forthcoming album, "To Love To Leave To Live" (TLTLTL) ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above + a signed CD of "To Love To Leave To Live" when it’s released ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + your name in the video credits + a signed vinyl LP of "To Love To Leave To Live" when it’s released ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + a linocut print thank-you card (made by me) + a jar of my homemade jam with homegrown fruit! + your name in the album credits + downloads of all my past releases + demos & outtakes from the recording sessions ($40.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above + 2 handmade letterpress VIP tickets to a show of your choosing + CDs of all my releases (great for gift giving!) + all available TLTLTL merchandise (i.e. screenprint tour poster, t-shirt, tote bag, stickers etc) ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above + handwritten lyrics for a song of your choosing + a collection of printed stills and moments captured in the filmmaking + a winter cap handknit by me ($300.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above + a private house concert for you and your friends (if outside the Midwest, must route into a North American or European tour) ($500.00 is tax deductible.)

Rachel Ries

Rachel Ries, hailing from the prairies of middle America, crafts sly and compassionate songs for the crooked-hearted. With an electric guitar and piano, a clear voice and steady hand, she deftly pulls listeners in with disarming candor and holds them …

View Rachel Ries's profile
  • Update 1: We've done it! YOU'VE done it! Milestone #1!
    Posted on July 16, 2017


    A bouquet of flowers to thank the backers

    Man oh man that happened so fast! Boisterous thanks and this bouquet to each and every one of you for taking me up on this and helping me afford my dreamy arty ambitious undertakings! Just today I've been rummaging desperately through my clothes to find the right outfit for the video we shoot in a week. (The one with dancers and me driving a pickup...)

    The reality is, I can't rest yet. I've known all along that $5000 is just a fraction of the costs that'll be hitting me before I can release To Love To Leave To Live so I'll keep pushing to hit stretch goals in the coming weeks. If you can help spread the word, it could be hugely helpful. 

    Watch this space for sneak peeks from next week's filming, album mixing and whatever else I get up to before August 10 and the close of this here campaign. Thank you, friend!

    Update 2: Filming Update & so close to Milestone #2!
    Posted on August 01, 2017


    videographers & dancers in fields of flowers

    A week ago I got to hang out in fields of flowers, watching Evy & Renée sway and contort, tumble and explode all across a stunning rolling terrain on the eastern edge of Minnesota. They've spent the past few months choreographing a series of movements for my song, Windswept. It's one of the new songs on the album and one I've never played live. So far it only lives in the studio and in Evy & Renée's bodies which is a powerful notion to me. The song is all about meditation / prayer / seeking stillness. This is a wild world we're living in. Increasingly I think it's crucial to intentionally pull over to the side of the road in your mind and let everything go quiet. We'll go mad if we don't. (Or at least I sure will).

    The wind died down, it's time to rest
    Pull o'er to the shoulder, get out
    Gaze upon the strange terrain
    Take a breath
    Let it out
    Again, again, again

    Thanks for everything! One video in this series is done, this one will be edited by the end of the month and two more are approaching their start! We're $85 away from Milestone #2 and, even though it's a tall order, I'm really going to try to push this campaign to $10,000 by the time it closes Aug 10. If we can reach 10k, I can cover ALL the artwork and manufacturing costs which would be a huge relief. We shall see, we shall see....

    Thank you thank you thank you for your support in this!

    Update 3: Milestone #3 and the end is near!
    Posted on August 10, 2017


    Musicians participating in "I've Got You Covered"

    Oh I'm so relieved! This is the last day of the campaign and the past 24 hours has seen SUCH an outpouring of generosity and support. We reached Milestone #3 and, to celebrate, a beautiful slew of friends (pictured above) are going to cover one of my tunes and I'll have the honor of reciprocating. I've got my work cut out for me! Our self-imposed deadline is the end of September. If you're unfamiliar with any of these musicians, please do yourself a favor and have a dreamy day exploring their work! They are, from the top, Birds of Chicago, Trent Wagler of The Steel Wheels, The Sea The Sea, Jonathan Byrd, jeremy messersmith, Anaïs Mitchell, Alec Spiegelman of Cuddle Magic, Devon Sproule, Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt.

    I'll reach out to all of you via email early next week with info about our private webcast concert, the band & crew playlist and, if you chose to get rewards, your downloads. I do believe I'll take a blessed week away from my computer after all this! 

    So please excuse me and I'll see you on the other side.

    with gratitude,

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

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