The Art of Asking

Guess who: She’s a songwriter, musician, TED speaker, United Nations’ advocate opposing violence against women, and has raised a million dollars on Kickstarter.
Her name is Amanda Palmer, the queen of punk cabaret, who lives life as an open book, always staying true to herself and her fans. After graduating from a preppy college, probably her parents’ idea, she started her career as a street corner mime, The Eight Foot Bride. While standing on a plastic crate, draped in a wedding dress, face painted white, she handed out daisies to onlookers. With no words spoken, she would offer this gift, a flower with prolonged eye contact, giving lingering wonderment with each exchange. She shared herself and connected with others willing to help her. This was just the start of an amazing career of giving and asking.
In 2000, Amanda joined Brian Viglione to form The Dresden Dolls. Performing in NYC clubs, the band encouraged local musicians to join their performance, a little like an open-mike-night… come on stage and jam together. After the show, the band would hang out with fans, drink some beer, sign autographs, and “pass the hat around” to collect a little extra for the band members. This was Amanda’s way of asking. As their cult following grew, the Dresden Dolls released an album and then signed with a major label, Roadrunner Records, who cared more about the money than the fans loving their music.
Amanda broke with tradition and turned to Kickstarter, asking her fans to fund $100,000 in order to produce and distribute her next album. Her request was well-received, raising more the $1,200,000 from fans who loved her and her music. With a smile on her face she declared, “This is the future of music.”
Crowdfunding is a new term in the recording industry. Anybody can download her music for free, and if you want to send a few dollars, great!
If she needed a little help, like a place to couch surf for the night, a piano to practice for a few hours or a bite to eat after the show, she turned to social media. She did this many times. Twitter is where she has over one million followers willing to help whenever she may ask. She loves the random closeness of social media, as well as crowdsurfing during her performances, falling into the audience, trusting them to return her to the stage, and on occasion, having the audience autograph her nude body.
Earlier this year, Terry Check of Cliché Magazine, practicing the “Art of Asking,” managed to catch up with Amanda while she was performing in Sydney. After the introductions, with music playing in the background, they spontaneously started dancing, which was followed with a conversation.
Read on for the full interview!

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