Producing a Benefit CD

About two years ago at one of our One Heart Bulgaria board meetings I volunteered to find a producer to compile a benefit CD as a fundraiser. I had a few friends that I thought would take it on, however, in the end…it was me. No, I’m not a producer and didn’t have any prior experience putting together a compilation CD before, but I knew a handful of talented recording artists and have a music/performing background. With the help of wonderful musicians, friends, and a very supportive board, we’ve nearly accomplished our goal!

A photo of my dear sweet orphan friend, couragecd31.gifAnnabelle from Nadejda orphanage in Sofia (she is one of my reasons I was so dedicated to this project). Thanks to Deborah Dushku Gardner for taking this photo on our trip in 2003 with some photo shop work by Justin King on her shirt. This photo will be included in the CD insert.

Tomorrow after much sweat and effort, it is going to be mastered and then duplicated! Hurray. We have a great album called, “Courage to Shine” and it will soon be a major fundraiser for our organization. Mindy Gledhill, April Meservy, Sam Payne, InsideOut, Stephanie Smith, and several others have donated wonderful songs that will inspire, uplift, and make you want to dance! The CD is available for $14.95 and will be ready Dec. 1. If you would like to support Bulgarian orphans and enjoy a great CD, please email Deborah <at> to pre-order. We are also looking for websites to sell the CD.

This is how we produced “Courage to Shine”:

1. NETWORKING. I asked my #1 contact to donate a song and then I asked her who else she knew who would donate a song. She gave me a list

of 3-4 names and phone numbers. It was vital that I had their phone numbers so I could speak directly to them and get them excited about the project. Then I contacted those people and asked for referrals…

2. Beggers Can’t Be Choosers. Recognizing that it is very difficult to get any musician to donate songs, we were overjoyed by the donations. We asked for songs that would work for an inspirational, non-denominational album. We didn’t specify more than that, but we hoped that we would get a good selection. When appropriate we did make recommendations of which songs we liked and would be interested in.

3. We Only Used Donated Songs. This was a difficult choice for me because one artist said yes but his label said no, so we weren’t able to use him even though I know it would have sold more copies, but $700 for one song was too much with $0 budget.

4. We Splurged on Recording One Song. $200; This was “Child of Light’ by Mindy Gledhill. I knew I wanted this song to be first on the album and so I asked Mindy if she would re-record it for us specifically so we could use it. However, we settled for guitar only accompaniment, so it was very low cost. Mindy donated her time so we only paid for guitarist and studio time. I donated this song to the project because it was important to me and I wanted the album to have this song on it. And as a result we were able to get other artists who knew Mindy’s reputation because of it.

3. Sorting Through the Chaos: I listened to a lot of songs and found the themes of light, sun, children, lullaby, peace, grace…and put them together. We didn’t have a title for it until Deborah Dushku Gardner helped me with that idea.

4. We Pre-sold 77 copies! Deborah Dushku Gardner, one of the Co-Founders of One Heart Bulgaria pre-sold 77 copies at a recent board meeting and these funds will pay for the replication of 1000 copies, so we’ve nearly paid for the initial expense. Great Job, Deborah!!

5. Strategy for Release: It will be done in time for Christmas! This was key for us to have it for gift giving and for our 2007 Sponsor gifts.

6. Ask for Discounts and Volunteers! We used $5 stock art from, recruited a volunteer graphic designer and musician, Justin King, (my brother) and asked for the Brunson Brothers studio to master it at a discount only $50!

7. It’s never over until it’s over (never stop asking people to donate songs until the very end). Even though we thought we knew which songs were going to be on the album last week, there were some last minute changes and additions because of a couple of conversations and follow ups with a couple artists.

8. Never make promises that someone’s song will be on the album. I never told anyone that they would be definitely on the album until this weekend.

9. Patience!! Lots of follow up calls and emailing.

10. We’re planning a benefit Concert in the Spring and will do a lot of press for it. Stay tuned!



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