On March 2 the Media & Communications (MC) department held the first in a series of monthly “MC Days” — faculty workshops and presentations aimed at bringing students, staff and faculty together to network and share professional expertise. The idea was sparked by feedback from current MC students who expressed interest in more faculty talks and increased opportunities to work with both peers and faculty mentors.
The first MC Day featured a presentation from instructor Amine Kouider on the process of bringing his upcoming album together, including his experience running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to produce the album.
“I never thought about recording an album,” said Amine, who has enjoyed writing songs for over seven years. But while in New York City he had the inspiration to produce an album and start a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money.
He raised $4300 in 3 weeks, surpassing his goal of $4200. He enlisted the help of an MIU business student to assist him with the business and promotion side of the campaign. Amine explained that with Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing: if you don’t raise the full amount by the deadline, you don’t get to keep what you did raise. This made him hesitant but, “once the ball gets going it’s very exciting,” he said.
Students in attendance asked a number of questions ranging from specifics on the Kickstarter campaign to details about the recording and mixing of the album. Amine said that he wants his album to be a collaborative effort, and students present from all four concentrations of the department were able to offer feedback and insights. Everyone was encouraging, with suggestions from which photos to use for the album cover, to the design of the booklet inside, to packaging and marketing.
Amine writes world music with lyrics in five different languages (Arabic, French, Berber, Spanish, and English). Songs on his album feature an array of musical instruments from banjo to trumpet to those from different cultures. He played some of the album for us, as well as some earlier recordings so we could hear the progression from the raw original version to the mixed arrangement with backup musicians.
The album is called “Chbach”, a word made up by his father, who, upon hearing the album said, “What is this chbach?” implying that the style was all over the place.
Amine wrote the lyrics over time as they came to him, and recalled, “It was like building a big puzzle, putting it together.”
With all the help Amine has had on this album, someone from the audience asked how students who don’t have any connections can meet all the people they’ll need to make an album of their own. Amine’s advice: “So usually it starts with “Hi, I’m Amine, you know what I mean?”