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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Dove and Grammy Award winner John Schlitt partners again with his fans for his newest musical project, an as-yet untitled Christmas CD. The vocalist is teaming with supporters in an approach to fund the new album through Kickstarter, a popular "crowd-funding" platform for creative projects.
"For the past few years, my fans have heard me talk about making a Christmas album," Schlitt says. "The time for talking is over—THIS is the year!"
Schlitt, who has never recorded any Christmas music, neither during his 20-year stint as the lead singer with Petra nor as a solo artist, says he has been feeling "a very strong tug" to make this seasonal record.
"This past Christmas, I felt regretful about my minimal participation with holiday music, and at the same time, I felt a very strong tug on my heart to 'get in the Christmas spirit,' musically," Schlitt says. "To me, Christmas music is really seasonal praise music; it zeroes in on the event that heralded Christ's physical presence on earth. We glorify God all year long with our praises and with our worship, but Christmas is the time we focus specifically on the birth of Jesus Christ and what His coming to this world means for us. We celebrate His birth; the whole world acknowledges Christmas as a special time."
Schlitt says the majority of the CD will consist of traditional Christmas songs done "John Schlitt style." He also plans to include several praise and worship songs.
"My desire is that it will be a double-whammy type of Christmas album that will be very different—and very special," he says.
Schlitt is no stranger to Kickstarter, having successfully raised the capital for his fourth solo CD, The Greater Cause, through the crowd-funding platform.
Schlitt joins a growing number of musicians and other creative people who are utilizing Kickstarter for new projects. Dove Award winner Cheri Keaggy financed her latest CD, So I Can Tell, through Kickstarter, as did Five Iron Frenzy, which exceeded its goal by more than 500 percent to record the band's new CD. Top-selling Christian artist Shaun Groves and popular Christian band Thousand Foot Krutch funded their most recent CDs through Kickstarter as well.
Pledges are taken on Schlitt's personal Kickstarter site (kickstarter.com/projects/johnwschlitt/john-schlitt-the-christmas-project) and powered by Amazon, enabling backers' credit cards to be charged via a secure website—but only after the goal is met. If the goal is not met by the Kickstarter deadline, no money is collected from supporters and the project is not funded. Supporters can choose from a variety of incentives, depending on the pledge level, including a cookbook filled with the Schlitt family's favorite holiday recipes, advance downloads of the CD, vintage Petra tour T-shirts, autographed wooden Christmas ornaments hand crafted by Schlitt, and the chance to join Schlitt in a Nashville studio for a recording session.
Within the first week, more than 100 backers had pledged toward Schlitt's $35,000 goal. The deadline for pledges is June 8.
For more information about Schlitt and the new Christmas project, visit johnwschlitt.com.