Sumner musician Sierra Lauren is looking to take the next big step in her musical career, and is turning to the Plateau community to give her a hand.
After the Sumner High School graduate released her first ever EP, “True North,” in December 2016, Lauren (given name Tester) is looking to take two of her songs and turn them into professionally-made music videos to address hard hitting issues like bullying, teen suicide and pediatric cancer.
To raise enough money to finance these videos, Lauren launched a Kickstarter on Aug. 4, asking community members and those who appreciate her music to donate to the overall project in exchange for various rewards — everything from receiving three covers she recently finished months before they’re publicly released to taking a tour of London Bridge Studios, the Seattle studio she worked with to release her EP.
“One, I’m doing this project to cover as much of the cost as possible and two, to create a base of support and include people in this project, because it’s so influential and I want people to have the opportunity to be a part of it,” she said. “It’s really awesome that I get to give back to people and not just ask them for their money… I really appreciate their support.”
The goal for the Kickstarter is $20,000, although the entire project is estimated to cost around $32,000, Lauren said.
“A single music video at a professional level can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000. And so we are on the low end with both of these videos, cutting costs as much as possible,” Lauren said.
The campaign has already raised more than $6,000.
Lauren has until Sept. 3 to raise the full amount, otherwise all money pledged to the project will be returned to donors.
To further promote the Kickstarter, Lauren is hosting two free concerts: one at the Al Lago Restaurant on Aug. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m., and another on Aug. 26 at Urban Timber from 7 to 9 p.m.
Her Kickstarter can be found online at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1219568784/bring-sierra-laurens-ep-to-life?token=a4a14757
While Lauren and The LeMarco Group — the production company working with Lauren on the videos — are still sussing out some details, Lauren has a good idea what she wants her videos to look like.
One will feature the song, “What Do You Do,” from her EP.
This is the music video Lauren wants to use to address the topics of bullying, suicide and cancer, and she has a narrative in mind.
“We’re telling the story of two kids. One of the kids has been bullied at school her whole life, and she doesn’t know what to do. And another one of the children just got diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he’s trying to cope with it,” she said. “And at the end of the video they come together and are able to find hope in each other’s situations and help each other through them. It’s a really influential vision that we have.”
Lauren said she’s never experienced bullying or teen suicide in her own life, but several people close to her have, and she feels that she has the responsibility to bring up these issues any way she can.
“It’s a very important thing people need to talk about that they don’t talk about enough,” she said. “And so, I feel like the way I can talk about it is through my art, so I want to do that.”
Similarly, she doesn’t know anyone personally who had any form of pediatric cancer, but both her parents work in the medical field and have experienced it, or something similar.
“I just really wanted to show people that there is hope, and my song, “What Do You Do,” really talks about that. I originally wrote it not about these issues; it was about losing someone or losing love, but if you listen to it, I unintentionally made it about all of these issues as well. It’s about finding hope in situations where you have no idea what to do,” Lauren said. “I just think with a video, the vision we have for the video really shows how you can find hope in all of these situations. So we’re taking this stance on it to bring awareness to these issues and hopefully people will share it and it’ll spark.”
The LeMarco Group is still scouting for film locations, but Lauren mentioned she wants the Carbonado Bridge to be featured.
“It’s this beautiful destination that really captures the Pacific Northwest,” she said.
The other video will feature her song “Nightmares,” which at one point topped the New Indie Record charts for four weeks in a row.
“The song is about the nightmare of losing someone you care about. People are saying all the time that dreams can come true, so it’s kind of a scary thought that nightmares can come true too,” Lauren said. “And so with this music video, it’s definitely kind of showcasing that feeling… And so the visual aspect of that is, honestly, kind of dark, lonely and scary,” she continued, adding she’s hoping for some underwater shots and some video in the woods “with fog machines everywhere.”
“But you wake up, realizing it’s OK, you still have that person,” she said. “That’s where the hope is. Hopefully we can capture that in this video.”