Portela has since raised more than $9,000 (and counting) for the album. The singer-songwriter took a leap of faith about one year ago when he withdrew from the university to pursue music full time. Even though he will be “comfortably homeless” until the album’s tentatively scheduled December release, Portela told The University Star he has no plans to return to school. Instead, he will continue to work toward creating and sharing his new musical sound.
JGP: Why did you choose Kickstarter as a fundraising platform?
FP: I thought that I could pull more funds from different sources, especially from around the world. I have a lot of friends that don’t live around here and a lot of people that I believed would support me and it turned out that they did, which is wonderful.
JGP: How long has this album been in the works?
FP: Tricky question. This particular project has been about a year in the making, although the last few months I’ve gotten a lot more serious and realistic. The closer I got to getting all my songs complete the busier I became with the whole project. Now I’m completely engulfed in the whole thing here.
JGP: Are you getting friends or other musicians to help you out on this album?
FP: I’m hiring several people. Some of them are close friends, some of them are acquaintances and some of them are friends of friends. Grace Park (of the band Grace Park and the Deer) will record a track on the album.
JGP: How would you personally define your sound?
FP: I define my sound as pop. That’s what I’m going for at least.
JGP: Other musicians may see “pop” as a dirty word. What are your thoughts on the music genre?
FP: I recognize that a lot of people see it as a dirty word. The last year, the main thing I’ve been doing is studying pop music. What I’ve realized is that pop isn’t bad at all. Pop music is the most popular music all over the world and I think that says something about us, humans. There are elements in there that clearly appeal to us, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tapping into that.
JGP: You’re willing to give your first guitar to a Kickstarter backer. Other musicians’ first instruments are usually such a big deal to them that they wouldn’t be willing to part with it. What made you decide to do that?
FP: That guitar has seen a lot. It’s traveled with me a long way and it’s pretty busted up. I never play it and it’s just an art piece at this point. I had a great artist friend of mine paint it. My idea there was if somebody was going to be taking this they’re going to be hanging it up like I have and it’ll be remembered as something more than this guitar that somebody’s jammed with. So, that was an easy decision for me.