Written by Unraveled Founder, Farida Amar.
In 2010, my professional focus took a shift from international campaign work in the mass media towards interpersonal communication artwork. In a lot of ways, this was selfish. I realized that I was lonely, and that I was terrified of the possibility that success was defined by being alone. Long hours, constant travel, and corporate clients were making me itch. I realized that I just wanted a hug, and that advertising was not the place to find one. So I left.
Many outrageous stories and a few years later, I now see how leaving was the right decision for me. I have been very careful about my own passion, integrity and intention. The kind of work I have been doing for the past three years – inventing platforms which support existing creative communities and building environments as valid excuses for interpersonal communication in the increasingly digital landscape – is more challenging, higher risk and more rewarding than anything I’ve done before.
Unraveled has been a long time coming and I am personally flattered by the amount of support it has received since it’s launch on my 27th birthday, May 11th, 2013. This right here is the real shit. Independent artists helping other independent artists share ideas and stories with anyone who will listen. #hellyes
For this reason, Unraveled is prioritizing the delicate human relationships between those involved. There is an emphasis on self care and sensitivity toward the others on the group. Taking extra steps to invite the musicians over to our headquarters for coffee or breakfast before a show, wishing them happy birthday, conducting insightful interviews with each musician about their stories and intentions, and sending thank you cards are the feel good parts of this project I love most.
Printing lyrics from the songs of independent musicians is part of a larger sensitivity towards creation and storytelling. Apparel has a unique power to create conversation and the decision to wear a fragment of artwork is a very personal choice. When someone asks, “what does your shirt mean?”, the person wearing an Unraveled shirt has been prepared and empowered to share the story behind their choice to support independent music they believe in. This is critical, which is why we take the extra time to conduct interviews with featured Unraveled Artists about the song and themselves, and it is also why the purchase of an Unraveled Original comes with a complementary download of the song itself.
The truth is, independent musicians do not function independently. Yes they are free corporate ownership and obligation, but their motivation to create and share their stories comes from a real appreciation of and intention to build a relationship with every. single. listener. They survive on oral tradition, and Unraveled is one way to enhance that experience and build a from-the-ground-up platform and catalyst for that conversation to take place.
Often, I see “community projects” that feel similar to the corporate lifestyle I’ve already rejected. Too many artists have joined supposedly honest independent collaborations and initiatives and are left with the feeling of having been processed and taken advantage of and express this concern when we first approach them. But then, we make the extra effort to go to their shows, hang out with their fans, invite them to come hang out with us, and give them hugs. Luckily, independent artists are excellent judges of character with strong instincts and seem to let down their guard and know we’re on their team within a few minutes. We actually care. And they take notice.
This is the only reason Unraveled will succeed in building the Unraveled Artist community. And I am looking forward to discovering all kinds of great music, designing work I am proud to represent, having fun and above all – playing a role on the best production team ever and meeting inspiring new friends.
Featured image (above) of Spills’ live performance during the Unraveled Launch Party taken by Farida Amar at The Good Life in Boston, MA, 2013.