Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Darren Watson Reaches Out For Support via Crowdfunding

20 May 2014

Darren Watson Reaches Out For Public Support
Will Crowdfunding Replace Record Companies?

Wellington musician Darren Watson is hoping that crowd-funding will help him complete the production of his new album. He needs $5,000 to finish recording, mixing, mastering, artwork, printing, and manufacturing. So he's set up a campaign which runs until Monday the 9th of June for people to contribute directly at

PledgeMe is a New Zealand based crowd-funding website that specialises in supporting Kiwi creativity.

Watson is a recent convert to the crowd-funding model. He says“ Without crowd-funding I'm not sure a lot of decent music outside of the commercial pop sphere would even get made now.”

The former leader of successful 80s band Chicago Smoke Shop, Watson has been writing and performing music for over three decades, and has seen a lot of changes in that time.

“When we started out there was no way to effectively get anywhere without a record deal, and often the record companies paid bands advances on royalities to record singles and albums. Those days are long gone for most acts.” says Watson. “I see crowd-funding as a democratic replacement for those advances, direct from fans.”

So far, Darren and his partner have invested about $10,000 on the new album. When they recently ran out of funds, someone suggested crowd-funding the balance needed to get the album made. It was an idea he initially resisted.

Watson says “I guess I kind of saw it as begging, but then took another long look at it and realised everyone wins. We hopefully get the money to finish the record and people get at least a copy of the new CD, and we're offering some other really cool rewards like house and Sykpe concerts. Plus I saw that people had got in behind Midge Marsden's latest album, so thought I'd give it a go too."

Last year Midge Marsden successfully raised over $15,000 with PledgeMe to record his Back To The Well CD. An album that coincidentally leads off with Love Is An Ocean, a song Darren wrote and released on his 2010 album Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy.

View the selection of rewards and make a pledge at

Darren Watson: Background and Reviews
Darren Watson gained New Zealand fame in the 80s as the fresh-faced, young front-man and guitarslinger for Chicago Smoke Shop. The band made two charting albums, had several radio hits, opened for international blues legends like Koko Taylor, Robert Cray, George Thorogood, & The Fabulous Thunderbirds. They toured tirelessly earning Watson a place alongside the likes of Midge Marsden, Hammond Gamble and Rick Bryant as one of New Zealand's best bluesmen.

Since leaving Smoke Shop in the early 90's he has cemented his reputation as the country's most original, contemporary blues voice, with three albums of world-class blues music: 2002's Tui-nominated King Size, 2005's South Pacific Soul, and 2010's internationally acclaimed Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy. During this time Darren also fulfilled a life-long ambition working alongside one of his childhood R&B heroes, touring extensively as sideman for Midge Marsden and, more recently performing as side-man to Chicago blues harmonica legend Billy Boy Arnold. He's also opened for New Orleans funkster Dr. John, Doug McLeod, Joe Cocker, Keb Mo, and nu-soul exponent Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, as well as appearing at WOMAD.

Watson gained international recognition in 2009 when he won the blues section of the International Songwriting Competition as judged by John Mayall, James Cotton, and Tom Waits amongst others.

Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy, Darren Watson’s most recent album, received glowing reviews worldwide. The album was singled out by Blues Revue USA as “beautiful”.

“Watson is at the top of his game now . . .”
Simon Sweetman, NZ Musician

“You're a mutha!”
Rick Holmstrom (Mavis Staples Band)

"Stunning emotion. Darren Watson is outstanding!"
Crossroads Magazine (France)

“Darren Watson plays the blues with skill and conviction that's more than impressive. It's scary.”
Nick Bollinger, RIP IT UP

“Song-writing as sharp as a spear...”
Grant Smithies (Sunday Star Times)

For more information visit


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter

  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news