Popular Encinitas musician and guitar teacher William Wilson is crowdfunding for his new “Flamencolele” album.
Ten years ago, that sentence wouldn’t have made a lot of sense, as modern crowdfunding — the practice of funding a project through small monetary contributions of a large number of people, usually done online — was brand new. “Flamencolele,” playing Flamenco-style music on a ukuele, meanwhile, is something Wilson started doing by accident.
“It’s basically a combination of taking elements of the Flamenco guitar, which I’ve played for 30 years, and the ukulele, which I’m newer to,” Wilson explained. “When I first picked up the ukulele, I wasn’t strumming it like you’re supposed to, I was strumming like you would on a Spanish guitar. I kept doing it and I thought, this really sounds cool.”
Wilson — who has released several solo albums, plays with the Peter Pupping Quartet, helps direct the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra and teaches private guitar lessons at Guitar Sounds in Encinitas — has played Flamenco for a long time, often performing it at weddings and other events in and around Encinitas.
A Flamenco guitar is a type of guitar, but even more than that, Flamenco is a style of playing, which has evolved alongside the popular Hispanic dance style. It is known for its punchy, fiery quality,
The ukulele has been getting popular recently, even being used in pop music. But most people play the slower, Hawaiian style.
“A lot of the music I’ve done in the past has been more somber in quality,” Wilson said. “I did a tango album years ago that was inspired by my mother, who is from Argentina, and that was really dark. But this is more light and fun.”
Wilson, 38, grew up in Encinitas and still lives in town with his wife Mary Ann, also a musician, and four boys, 12-year-old Tad; Isaac, 10; Liam, 8; and Dominic, 5, each of whom play music. Wilson got his Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from San Diego State in 2001.
In addition to “Tango for One,” on which he played the music of Argentinian composers Astor Piazzolla and Alberto Ginastera, Wilson has another album of South American music, “La Catedral,” and one with his original songs called “Sketches and Impressions.” He previously crowdfunded for another album, on which he translated songs written for the violin by Spanish composer Sarasate, into guitar songs.
Wilson has been on five other albums as part of the Peter Pupping Quartet and has released some online albums such as Music for Sleep and Music for Reading, etc.
He had another idea planned for his next album, something more classically-oriented with guitar quartets. But over the summer, he had an 11-year-old guitar student who kept wanting to learn to play the ukulele because he had seen it on the popular kids TV show “Steven Universe.”
“He had this kind of infectious desire to want to play the thing, so I said maybe I’ll review my ukulele stuff to make sure I’m teaching him right,” Wilson said. “Once I found (a good ukulele), I just had so much fun playing it. I think that’s the thing that’s making it so popular, it’s getting back to the fun part of making music.
“One thing led to another and I had one of those moments, sitting around with some friends in my backyard … (and thought) this would be so cool (for my next album).”
Wilson has already finished three songs for the “Flamencolele” album, which will be all original, and they can be found on the crowdfunding page.
This is his second foray into crowdfunding, and he says it is great not just for the financial aspect — everyone likes getting paid for their work — but also because of the connection between artist and fan.
“It’s not just because you know you have an audience beforehand, though that’s important, but because you feel much more involvement from the people who support you,” Wilson continued. “When the fans get involved, I think it makes it better for everyone. Since I did the last crowdfunded project, I still have people come up to me … and they know each individual song, they have a relationship with it.
“So the hope is that I’m able to do it and still make a living, because it takes so much time, but also to get people involved. That’s the healthy part of it, that you get so much community involvement.”
On the crowdfunding page, there is even an option to name one of the songs on the album. As of Sept. 7, Wilson has raised $1,321 of his $1,500 goal, and the page will be up through Sept. 23.
The funding itself will pay for his time dedicated to the album — though not at a very high per-hour rate — as well as other expenses such as the cost of making CDs.
Another benefit of going the crowdfunding route is that it allows more people to find the music. When an album comes out that isn’t by a famous artist, it can be tough to get it out there for people to listen to. The crowdfunding gives people a deeper connection to a particular album or song and encourages them to share it with friends.
To become a part of the album, visit the crowdfunding page at www.flamencolele.com.