Rocky Votolato is feeling better. Much better.
Over his long and impressive career as a singer/songwriter, Votolato has had his share of personal peaks and valleys. But when it came time to write 2010's "True Devotion," he was pretty much at rock bottom.
"I always want my writing to reflect where I'm at in my life," he says. "With 'True Devotion,' I was in a really dark place. I was struggling with some really personal, existential issues. On this one, I feel like I've sorted a lot of that out."
"This one" is his new album, "Television of Saints." From the first notes of the record, it's easy to hear that Votolato is in a different headspace. "There's a lighter feeling to this album overall. It's not as heavy as the last album," he says. "There's still an element of struggle and darkness within the songs, but it's more from a narrative perspective."
Though the record is not as heavy, "Television" is just as weighty. The songs flow together joyously and effortlessly, creating the most instantly engaging collection of Votolato's career.
He says the album title draws a phrase coined in the 1930s, referring to how the newly invented television had such a power to bring people together. Through the record isn't about TV, it is about how we are all connected in some way. Votolato says he was heavily inspired by his connection to friends and family when he wrote the album.
Having finished out his contract with indie label Barsuk, Votolato decided to turn to his friends and fans to help him fund the record. Through the website Kickstarter, he was able to raise $40,000 (more than double what he had asked for) in just 30 days.
"I'm really, really grateful to all of my fans for all of that," he says. "It allowed me more freedom and more control creatively. I got to the make the record I wanted to make. And I didn't have to go into severe debt to do it, which is what I would have been facing if I hadn't done Kickstarter."
In exchange for their donations, fans were treated to a wide range of collectors items, from t-shirts and hand-screenprinted by Votolato's wife, to paintings made by his son. For the fan who donated $2,500, Votolato promised a private concert anywhere in the U.S. or Europe.
"Most everything has worked out really well and is pretty close to being finished now. It's been a ton of work, but I think well worth it," he says. There was one small problem, though.