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30.05.2021

You’ve Got Mail! An Interview with Michael Publig

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The pianist and composer Michael Publig has made it: He’s succeeded in reaching the first target amount for his crowdfunding project. This means that the foundation stone for the financing of his CD has been laid. He tells you here how he motivated people to believe in him and his music.

The sound is Latin-American, rhythms that can be danced to and urge us to get straight into the swing. But it still isn’t classic salsa. The arrangement is too refined and the sound too jazzy for that. And from time to time there’s a powerful burst from the drums. “I always say: We play contemporary chamber music”, is how the pianist and composer describes his highly individual style: “I’m sure that one doesn’t hear music like this very often and that certainly gives us a head start.”

Stefan Oser and Michael Publig Photo: Nancy Horowitz

Crowdfunding – a "hot" thing!

Publig names Paco de Lucia and Chick Corea as models. But his CD also includes wonderful ballads. The work is called “Caliente” – which means “hot”. In order to be able to record this CD, the musician applied to the Bank Austria crowdfunding project on “wemakeit”. And he was very successful from the start. After just three days he had reached the first partial target of 2,500 euros. On the basis of which Bank Austria contributed a further 833 euros. Now he just needs a good finish in order to achieve his target of 3,500 euros.

How did that all happen so fast? “It even surprised me”, explains Publig: “But I have to say that there was also loads of preparatory work. In the week before the campaign I wrote so many mails that my fingers were sore.” He sent 450 e-mails to friends and acquaintances. Rather than being just a standard text, each was written individually. “I have to admit that I’m not someone who’s particularly active on social media”, he says: “I don’t post much and only do so when there’s a project that I hope might interest people.”

Photo: Georg Brenner

Photo: Georg Brenner

Making live music

He’s been able to convince his audience. And he was surely helped by a video that shows him and his ensemble in action. Not that this was so easy during a pandemic because one couldn’t get together to make live music. “Fortunately, my brother is a professional in the field and was able to help me”, explains the musician: “We simply cut together old recordings of concerts in Porgy & Bess.”

Asked for his advice to budding musicians in the area of crowdfunding, he answers like a shot: “I only do things that are truly close to my heart. This is pretty important to me. We’re so completely swamped by music anyway that one’s own work must stand out and be convincing.” This is probably why his reward to his supporters is so cool and original. Almost everyone offers the finished CD. Publig accompanies the songs with a signed copy of the notes.

Photo: Georg Brenner

Your own private catchy tune – rewards for supporters

And, the absolute hit: You can have a personal song composed for you. Tailor-made, just for you! How does this work? “If you want a song for you or your loved one, then tell me what it should be about and I’ll write it for you.” 300 euros for your own private catchy tune is certainly not a bad investment. And it helps Publig to make his dream of recording an album come true.

But the musician also has an idea for those who would rather be creative themselves: a songwriting lesson. 90 minutes live or via Zoom dedicated to the question: How does one get from an empty piece of paper to a song?

Indeed, maybe that’s the first step that you should take so that you’re also soon in a position to start your own crowdfunding campaign.