Can you spare a dollar for a homeless musician? How about $15,000 worth?
Mashable reports that Daniel Mustard has started his own Kickstarter project to raise money to pay for the cost of producing and distributing his Fragments Of Bone EP. Less ridiculous than a band asking for funding to record an album on the moon, and less ambitious than the South African drummer forming a band over YouTube; but no less of a good cause, Mustard is asking fans to dig deep for his musical dreams.
As is a typical trait with the crowdsourcing platform, Mustard is also offering unique rewards for pledges based on a tiered system; including vinyl and signed t-shirts right up to more personalised rewards such as a Skype performance for ponying up $US 110 or more, and “a cover song of your choosing” to those who pledge $US 250 or more.
It’s the latter that brought Mustard to prominence, after his version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ went viral three years ago after Mustard performed the song on a radio station while living on the streets of New York City and the benches of Washington Park. Though he’s since found temporary housing at various shelters and gaining internet access from Apple stores.
“When you are homeless you usually have lost some sort of your will to live,” Mustard tells Mashable. “A big part of me getting my shit together has been getting that back,” adding that ‘going viral’ helped him do just that. After the ‘Creep’ performance, “all the support I’ve gotten on social media, and the making of the new record, has helped me get that back.”
The video of him performing ‘Creep’ quickly went viral after it did the rounds on social media networks and is currently at nearly 8 million views, leading to the development of his recorded debut, a self-titled, five-track EP in 2010.
Now, he’s raising funds for his latest effort. So far, Mustard has raised nearly $US 4,000 of his pledged $US 15,000 from 123 backers, with just 45 days to go. One of the top-tier pledges, at $US 450 (which has yet to be donated) is a walking tour to “experience Lower Manhattan through the eyes of The Homeless Mustard.” Where the musician takes the pledger through some of his old haunts.
“The things to be showing people are the places I used to sleep,” says Mustard. “Washington Square Park was a huge part of my life, and talking about how the park has changed over the years,” says Mustard.
“It’s more about telling the stories than the actual places,” says the singer, “places where we got hassled by the police, attacked, all that fun stuff.” Other ‘fun stuff’ included his mental health issues and a drinking addiction, which Mustard is now dealing with: “Getting sober, staying sober, is a process, not an overnight thing… I’m also going back to school and doing other things to better my situation.”
He still remains most well-known for his covers however, having performed songs from everybody to Britney Spears (‘Hit Me Baby One More Time‘) to The Cure (‘Boys Don’t Cry’). Of his version of the pop star’s hit he says, “when I think about covers, as far as what I would like to do, is covers of songs that people would never think I would actually sing… I would think: ‘I wouldn’t sing this song if you paid me.’ But apparently now I would.”