Audrey Assad has become one of the more successful contemporary Christian artists of the past few years. Drawing from the same stream as Brooke Fraser, Matt Maher and Sara Groves, Assad's music has range—honesty and worship, praise and suffering. Her first album won the iTunes Christian Breakthrough Album of the Year in 2010.
Now Assad's career is set for a big shift. Having left Sparrow Records, Assad has turned to Kickstarter to fund a new record and a new vision along with it—to move from Christian pop solos towards worship music meant for the whole church to sing. Judging by the Kickstarter response, which exceeded her goal in the first few days of the project, there's an audience, or better yet congregation, ready and waiting.
Patrick Stafford spoke to Assad about the project and what it means for her career.
What prompted the shift from your seemingly successful, label-based career to going independent?
My record label contract came to an end recently, for various reasons. It caused me to take a look and take stock at why I've had the success I've had, both commercially and artistically.
I wanted to engage with the fans in a more measurable way. They are the ones who make the art possible and sustainable, and Kickstarter provides a really great way to connect with them.
Could you go into why the relationship with the label ended?
[Sparrow] were really good to me while I was there. They gave me a lot of creative freedom for a label, and were supporting me artistically, but ultimately I think we had different ideas about what it meant to make records and market them. We parted on good terms.
A lot of people don't know how the economics work for artists. On this record label I've sold over 100,000 records, which for ...1