Help Fund Princess Superstar's Album, Get a Strip Tease
Concetta Kirschner, better known as alt-rapper, DJ and producer Princess Superstar, has been a model of fierce independence since founding her own Corrupt Conglomerate label in 1997. Known for her sharp wordplay, cutting humor, provocative themes and original beats, Princess Superstar has remained somewhat under the mainstream radar in the States--but her loyal following has boosted several hits overseas, including the hilarious "Bad Babysitter" from 2001 LP "Princess Superstar Is," which hit No. 11 on the UK charts.
Now, Princess Superstar is getting even more creative in her entrepreneurship. Like a growing number of artists, she's turning to her fans to help fund her next album, "The New Evolution," through a campaign with Pledge Music. Prizes for donating include basic items like a signed CD or album credit, but then move up to luxuries like a rap lesson, yoga session, a custom birthday song, a homecooked meal, and, for big spenders, a private burlesque strip tease. In keeping with Princess Superstar's animal activism, 10% of the proceeds will go to PETA.
Billboard.com talked to Princess Superstar about the album, the campaign, and how she'll deal with stripping for strangers.
How did you first got the idea to have fans pledge for your new album? Were you inspired by other artists who did it?
I had heard about other artists doing it, basically the system where the fans could buy the record in advance. What got me excited about Pledge was that you could be as creative as you wanted with all the things you could actually do as a person, like what you're into.
For example I've been meditating for 17 years and I don't think people would actually know that. So you can pledge to learn how to meditate with me. There's also fun stuff, like a really silly one that is a burlesque strip show for $10,000. It's a new way of making a record, and even some major labels are getting on the act and having artists do this.
Right, because it's a great way to market.
Exactly because again, it gives the fans a real insight into your character. They get to know you in a certain way.
Did you talk to labels first? Why was this a better way to go than the traditional way?
I've always been a sort of renegade when it comes to this stuff. I started my label in the '90s to put out my music. I've always been more interested in ownership and pioneering a creative way so I thought that this was a better way. Also, labels now are just so scared and I didn't want to have too much controlling activity around my creativity.
What is your goal amount? And how did you set that?
I set my goal low because I'm in a good position, with publishing money and gig money. I just wanted to make it happen, so we set it to be something like around $20,000. My record is halfway done anyway, so I said I can partially fund it because I'm successful with shows.
How did you come up with the prizes? Did you do a massive brainstorming session?
Yeah, I thought "what are some of the things the fans like about me?" and I thought let me come up with a silly birthday rap for you or your boyfriend, or signed/autographed clothing items that were worn in the "Bad Babysitter" video. And then I thought about Concetta, the person behind this persona, and I came up with some of the more obscure things like meditation lessons. I'm a vegan, and I also really like to cook, so I thought how about dinner at my house. Someone actually bid on that and it's like almost a thousand dollars. I had a friend over for dinner recently and I was like "you know, somebody just paid a thousand dollars for the same thing, you better appreciate this."
Are you worried at all about stalkers?
I know, it's like "Wait a minute I actually have to do this." I'll always have somebody with me. But I've always been super interactive with my fans on a personal level. I've been doing this for a really long time and I've never had somebody super crazy or anything, so I kind of trust that there are more good people than bad people out there.
The last record, 2005's "My Machine," was a concept album. Is there a concept "The New Evolution"?
It definitely won't be story but it'll be songs that are fitting under a theme. Basically like the name suggests, "The New Evolution" is kind of like pushing consciousness forward. It's still a fun crazy party record but with deep spiritual themes about evolving as human beings. I don't want to get too literal. I like to say it's kind of like if the Beatles were in the movie "Wild Style" or like if Missy Elliott went to India.
What is your goal release date?
I'm shooting for February 2011, that's also my birthday month.