Voicemails From Around The World
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 2, 2011
Talk about a very neat concept. How many people have ever thought how cool their life would be if they had theme music that popped up at different times of their lives? Have you ever thought about how a soundtrack of your life would sound and make you and others feel?
A local friend of mine, Jared Brickman, through a website he calls One Hello World, has set out to help people do this exact thing, although not without looking for a reward in the end. He calls the project Voicemails From Around The World Set to Music, and what he’s basically done is put out a call to action, if you will, to people from all around the world to call a certain phone number and leave a message with a story that meant something in their lives. The story is supposed to be 3 minutes or less, but some people will call more than once to get their entire story told. What he then does is see how the story touches him and puts it to music.
I did mention that there was a secondary part to all of this. This project’s goal is to also raise money to get 20 of these missives recorded onto an album he plans on called “The Listener” by using live musicians, since all the songs are initially played by him on one instrument, although electronically he’s able to add other sounds into the mix. He’s hoping to raise $5,000 by December 31st, and if he doesn’t get there then the project goes away and any money’s pledged will be returned. Right now he’s at $1,394, so there’s a long way to go.
I listened to the sample he put up on one of the pages and it was pretty neat. It was a motivational story the person told and the music, melancholy and beautiful at the same time, was just perfect for the subject. If you follow the link I gave you above you’ll be able to watch and listen to a video example.
I decided to ask Jared some questions regarding the project, and in my mind it became a defacto short interview, so let’s share that with you here:
1. How are people finding out about this?
At first, people randomly started following along through Tumblr. Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been contacted by some wonderful people in the press who have kindly given the project coverage. But most importantly, there’s a social element to One Hello World: when people relate to a message or find a track to be particularly striking, they’ve been reblogging it to their own tumblogs, tweeting a link to it or sharing with their Facebook friends. It’s fascinating to read the commentary that listeners add along with their share, especially when they’ve had a similar experience. In this way, One Hello World is more a dialogue than a collection of monologues.
2. How long is their message allowed to be?
My voicemail cuts callers off at three minutes. But I’ve had several callers leave multiple messages to get it all in.
3. What are the rules for the message they leave?
None. Callers have left poems, stories, memoirs, rants, “drunk dials” etc. I welcome callers to speak their mind.
4. Was this your idea, multiple people’s idea, or did someone else do it first?
I was initially inspired by similar projects in other mediums, such as PostSecret. The idea came to me as I was composing a track one night: I wanted to capture voices over the top of the track. I posted a phone number to my Facebook and asked friends to call in and tell me how they defined happiness. I was thrilled to receive lots of material to work with.
5. Is all the instrumentation I heard in the sample from you?
I through-compose everything down to the last note. Each track is written specifically to the narrative.
6. How long does it take you to come up with the music you use?
An important characteristic of the project is that I limit myself to my initial musical reaction. I record my first improvisations and then rapidly build a track out from there. I’ve never spent more than four hours on a single track.
7. Why is the deadline date 12/31? I’m not even sure when you started the project.
The deadline for funding is Kickstarter‘s limit. They only allow you to raise funds for up to 60 days. If you can’t reach your goal by then, you don’t get any of the funding (pledges never get drawn from would-be contributors).
Jared’s also gotten a bit of press from this from Paste Magazine, which called the project “PostSecret for the ears” (I linked to PostSecret above if you’ve forgotten). I think it’s an interesting social media experiment and I’ll be giving a financial pledge to the project as well because I think this would be really cool. The minimum dollar amount accepted is $1, and of course you can always give more. I don’t often ask for help like this but whether you can contribute or not, please help get the word out on this. You can reach Jared by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to participate in the project by leaving a voicemail, here’s the number, U.S. of course: (316) 247-0421.