Carla Morrison is proving that indie knows no bounds. The two-time Latin Grammy Award winner, known for releasing swooning alt-rock love anthems on her own Cosmic Records, often finds herself mobbed by overzealous fans insisting on an autograph. The new attention has prompted the 27-year-old singer/songwriter to launch Pan Dulce Productions, which gives other artists the chance to fulfill their dreams. There aren’t any applications, deadlines, contests or other hoops to jump through: Morrison simply hand-picks aspiring acts and, depending on their project, they are afforded funds to complete their musical visions.
“Pan Dulce is not a charity, because we can’t help everyone, but it has a mind-set like one,” Morrison says. “We guide artists, but the main goal is to help the indie scene so we can have more musicians to inspire people and make this world a better place.”
There are two catches. First, Pan Dulce takes what Morrison calls “small percentages” from shows and albums. “That goes straight into a savings account so we can use that money for new artists we want to help in the future.” Second, artists are asked to sign a contract that says they’ll “pay it forward” to other artists.
“Pan Dulce is not a label, and there is no motivation to work toward [that],” Morrison says. “We want to help independent projects and we want artists to be their own entrepreneurs, but that’s it.”
“The fact that she’s an indie artist getting major attention and wanting to help artists like me speaks to her character,” says singer/songwriter Jandro, who with Morrison’s support will self-release an album of ’60s-inspired pop music later this year. The first wave of Pan Dulce artists also includes Sol Pereyra and Vanessa Zamora. Morrison says Pan Dulce can only afford “two to four projects every two years.”
Pan Dulce acts often get to perform with Morrison, who’s currently playing to packed houses while touring the United States and Latin America. Jandro says that one major lesson he’s learned from her on the road is to take charge. “She doesn’t just play the role of an artist. She shows up to a show knowing every detail in a way that’s refreshing. She wins the respect of her peers.”
Pan Dulce also has a weekly blog showcasing independent bands. “We recommend them to my fans and contacts so people get to know them and the indie scene in Latin America,” Morrison says. “There is nothing like helping people reach their goal-just like I was helped.”