Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | April 4, 2011

Stepping out on faith

After an evening of prayer I decided to embark on the journey of recording my first album as a bandleader.

Family, friends and elders have been telling me that it is time for a while. I have such tremendous respect for music and spirituality in song that I wanted to wait until the right moment. After a series of events in 2010 and prayer, I began thinking about recording.

How? Funds? Responsibilities? All these questions came to mind. A friend told me about kickstarter. It was funny because years ago I considered sending out a letter to friends, family and supporters asking for their assistance in funding a recording. When I heard about kickstarter I thought “perfect.”

The plan: “you can’t tell people how to spend their money.” In deep meditation I thought about different ways of fundraising. First online, then offline. Will it work? I was about to find out.

I launched the campaign on my 35th birthday. Within 24hrs about $1000 was raised. If things kept that momentum then $6,500 would be raised within days. But keeping in mind this was a process, I allowed 65 days to raise $6,500.

Soon after the initial excitement, donations slowed down. It seemed that postings online were being ignored. I would post things like “Pre-order your CD today” and there would be no response. Despite the lack of response, I knew there was another benefit to kickstarter. What? Promotion before the product is released! Many folks reposted the link hundreds of times on facebook, twitter, email and text messages. I would meet people and they would ask about the CD. I would reply “it will be released soon.”

So as the promotion/fundraiser continued, different online blogs, magazines and other publications began writing about the campaign. Was there an increase in donations? No, but I appreciated the promotion and love received. In addition to a very good campaign video, I was fortunate to have more video footage recorded by another beautiful being as a contribution to the project.

After raising a certain amount online, I began the street promotion/fundraising. I started posting up flyers at different places and submitting formal letters to different businesses asking for support. Did that increase donations? No, but it was good promotion.

The next part of the ground fundraising was good old fashion working for your money. In a conversation with my sister in St. Thomas and other friends, we came up with the idea of a fundraiser concert on St. Thomas. Before arriving in St. Thomas, the producers of the “Rock Lounge Collective” featured me and my sister spoke about the CD project as patrons listened to music I’ve recorded. A friend also printed flyers and passed them out at various events.

The first fundraiser concert took place on St. Thomas on March 18, 2011. We did not have hundreds attending (it was hard to compete with Hugh Masekela) but the folks that came out gave generously. The director of the VI Cultural Heritage Institute donated the venue and also catered the event. Some of the musicians donated their time. Even our cash box was donated. The promotion from that event was priceless. My sister and father took out ads in the local newspaper and online news sources. My father also bought juices, wine (which he sold at the event), utensils, etc., for the event. My sister in addition to designing different flyers for all the events, collected money at the door. My mother nursed me back to health since I was sick all week. Each day I traveled to do workshops and every night I was sick. I had some good “bush tea” to help me fight off the cold virus weakening my system.

My mom said “I’m upset more people did not come out.” I explained to her the concert was a success. I had a set amount I wanted to raise from the event and I exceeded that amount. By the time I left St. Thomas, I knew there was a good possibility the project was funded based on what was projected.

The next few events were more promotional opportunities, including a function held in the community room where I live. Then more friends and family came out to our final concert/fundraiser at Twins Jazz. Thank you Twins Jazz. Twins has supported me in different ways over the years. I’m also grateful to the staff at WPFW 89.3 for annoucing the concert on air.

With the help of family, friends and supporters the project was funded with four days to spare.

This was not an easy process. My advice to anyone choosing this path, please have multiple plans. Remember, “you can’t tell people how to spend their money.”

I am thankful to the creator, my family, my friends and supporters for making this dream a reality.

Peace, love and light…

Reginald Cyntje



  1. God is good! I’m so glad you persevered and continue your journey without stopping. Success comes to those who are diligent! xo

  2. thanks for telling this story. I am blogging about Kickstarter and being a supporter of your project and will link to this post. Can’t wait to hear what emerges from your band.

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