Dublin-born, Byron Bay-based singer/songwriter Mick McHugh had a very good reason for moving to Australia a decade ago. His wife, Amanda, is Australian.
The couple, who met in 2002, have since had two children, one born in Ireland, the second Down Under.
McHugh has toured regularly since moving to Australia and has supported fellow countrymen Damien Dempsey, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Mick Flannery, John Spillane and many more.
Dempsey was so impressed he made a video in support of McHugh’s online pledge campaign to raise enough money to record his debut studio album later this year (he has previously released EPs and live albums).
“It’s humbling. It’s absolutely amazing,” McHugh says. “To be in a position to know these guys and have their support for what I’m doing musically is just unbelievable. To have acknowledgement from your peers is a special thing, but to get it from someone you like and admire, my gosh.”
McHugh’s fundraising site is unusual for such ventures in that the two lowest pledge figures don’t actually include the album – for $5 you will learn the secret to getting the cream to float on Irish coffee, and for $10 you get will a video call from Mick, singing happy birthday.
“It’s nice to have some fun things there, to have that option there so they can donate whatever they want,” he says.
If you have $500 to donate to the project Mick will play a private gig for you and your friends. There is a very simple reason McHugh is funding his album this way – he has paid his dues with constant touring.
“People said to me that I’d put in the work over the years and that it’s time for it to come back to me. Put it out there and see what comes back,” he says.
Recording the album without using a record company also has a major future benefit.
“As an independent artist you can retain ownership. Basically, in music, whoever pays for the recording has ownership. It’s like the worst bank loan of your life,” he says.
“With a mortgage you pay off your mortgage and you own your house, but with a record deal they put the money in front of you and you pay it off, but they still own the recordings. Being independent allows you to license it. It puts you in a better position.”
McHugh’s target is to raise $19,000. “It costs about $1,000 a song to record it at the top level. I want to do this properly,” he says. The money raised will also go towards manufacturing the CDs, artwork, distribution and more. Proving blood is thicker than water, McHugh had some instant help when his fundraising started. “All the family were in there straight away, getting behind me,” he says. There are a lot of others helping out too, and McHugh is already more than one-third of the way to his target.
See pozible.com/mickmchugh to make a pledge.