This is your invitation to directly support the creation of new music.
To join a genuinely supportive online community, to receive thoughtful, lovingly made limited edition art and music bundles, to be part of shaping the future of my Penfriend project, and to be treated like the VIP music fan you already are.
As I embark upon the writing and recording of my second album as Penfriend, I’ve just opened up some new tiers in my Correspondent’s Club membership – and I’d love for you to join us.
Visit this page to browse all the options, and keep reading to find out how this incredibly supportive group of people have completely changed my life as an independent artist.
In 2009 I started tentatively sharing my music on the internet – and I was immediately blown away by the generosity of music fans around the world, people who were excited to sidestep the corporate music industry and directly support this independent artist.
Are you familiar with the term “patron of the arts”? It’s nothing new; artists have been funded by patrons for centuries, and it makes sense – we all have something unique to bring to our communities, offline and online, and it was a real turning point in my life when I realised that being an artist, making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever else – that could be my worthwhile contribution to the community.
I funded the recording, mixing, mastering and manufacturing of my first four albums through pre-orders and crowdfunding campaigns – and then, at the end of 2018, a company called Pledge Music folded, taking £6000 of my money with them.
I was furious. Not just because I needed that money to make my next album, but because the whole thing was so disrespectful to my supporters.
(I fulfilled all the pledges anyway, obviously.)
I grew up really resisting the concept of rockstars, those people we’re meant to put on a pedestal and treat as the super special ones. That never resonated with me. So, realising there was another path, a path I could make for myself where I could be a normal person – well, sort of normal – realising that I could flip all that on its head and find more ways to contribute to my community? That was huge for me.
Instead of saying “look at me, aren’t I great, shiny shiny ads, buy my music!”, I could say “here, I made this with love, I hope it helps in some way”. That’s what music does for me, whether I’m processing my thoughts and experiences through making it, or when I find music by other artists that tips my world upside down.
Music = magic.
So, at the start of 2019 I launched my Supersub Club, and in 2020 I renamed it The Correspondent’s Club. It changed my life. From juggling freelance video and social media jobs with comment moderation shifts at a national newspaper (hi trolls!), I was suddenly free to spend all my time making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever else. Over and above making music, I could finally spend my time encouraging others in their own creative dreams.
I went into overdrive, producing 50 episodes of my creativity podcast Attention Engineer, completing my debut Penfriend album “Exotic Monsters”, delivering quarterly art and music bundles to my dear subscribers and starting my YouTube channel in earnest.
I’ve always been a grafter, and I’ve never thought that producing 12 songs every 18 months was enough of a job for me.
There was a time around 2015-2017 when I flirted with the idea of teaming up in some way with “the music industry”, bringing my music and my community and my knowhow onto a bigger stage. All that resulted in was money wasted on PR companies who didn’t stand a chance of getting coverage for an indie upstart like me, radio pluggers who get paid whether or not they get your songs played, and time and energy wasted on a manager who didn’t seem to want to do any actual work.
Giving up on that industry mirage was empowering. No more waiting around. No more crossing fingers. No more hoping someone would come along and make everything bigger, better, easier.
I already told you, I’m not afraid of hard work.
In 2021, my first Penfriend album “Exotic Monsters” went to number 24 in the UK Official Albums chart – without the help of any of the things musicians are told are essential.
I didn’t even post on TikTok.
This momentous thing, this lifetime dream come true only happened because people who like real music about real things chose to buy my album on vinyl, CD, tape and download. And the album only exists the way it does because my Correspondent’s Club members funded it right from the start of its creation in early 2019.
It’s normal to feel disconnected from things these days, but just like your local independently run cafe continuing to stay open because you and your friends go back again and again, I get to keep making music and videos and podcasts and zines and whatever because people like you subscribe, or buy music and merch from my shop or, in the not too distant future, buy tickets to come and see me play in your town.
I do all of this all by myself, with full-time cheerleading and occasional camera holding from my husband Tim. There are no middle persons involved, no team, no manager, label, agent or anything else.
It’s a lot, but I prefer it this way – I don’t have to try to become a supermarket in the centre of town and feel like a failure when I don’t “make it”.
I’m an artisan, small batch producer of music filled with love and care and hope, that I transmit to you in whatever form you prefer, be that vinyl, CD or digital file.
And now you can be part of all of it.
Visit penfriend.rocks/join to browse membership options.
If now isn’t the right time to subscribe but you like what I do, here are four other ways you can cheer me on:
+ Get two free songs and stories sent to your inbox by signing up to my mailing list at penfriend.rocks/hello
+ Click like on this video so it can reach more people, and leave a comment to let me know where in the world you’re viewing from today
It’s really tough out there at the moment, and I’m feeling it too – but alongside my paid offerings I will always keep making things that are free for you to enjoy.
You can pick up a bunch of free downloads from the songs page on my website, and I’m currently uploading here twice a week.
I’d love to welcome you into The Correspondent’s Club either today or in the future, but whichever way we stay in touch – I’m really thankful for being able to spend a bit of time with you.
Thanks for watching! See you soon xoxo