Even with more platforms available than ever to discover new music, it can still be hard for LGBT musicians to garner an audience and for LGBT listeners to find music they relate to.
That's why Bianca Russelburg, a recent graduate from Ball State University with a degree in audio production, created Resonate, a mobile recording project aimed at helping LGBT musicians produce professional tracks and gain attention for their music.
In November, Russelburg launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $12,000 of funding for the project. ( www.kickstarter.com/projects/1403421979/resonate-encouraging-lgbt-artists-to-stand-tall-an )
She will use the money to purchase equipment and pay for travel.
"People will send in applications, I will choose an artist, take my equipment, travel to them, find a LGBT center or someplace that will let us use their space, record three to five songs with them, depending on how big the project is, then travel back, edit ( the tracks ) and send the tracks back to them," Russelburg explained.
Once the project is finished, the musician or band will have professionally produced tracks they can use however they'd like. Russelburg emphasized she won't be taking a percentage of anything or function in anyway like a record label.
"Its hard to get gigs if you don't have anything to send in," she said. "It can be a hindrance to not have good sounding stuff. So that is the main aspect, getting these artists good tracks to promote themselves with."
In addition to producing professional quality tracks, Russelburg is also partnering with Brooklyn-based music blog Homoground, which serves as a "creative medium for queer and allied artists and music lovers worldwide," to help the musicians get some publicity.
"They basically do what I'm doing but through press," Russelburg said. "They have a blog where they do podcasts, mixtapes, interviews and all kinds of stuff."
Russelburg has already lined up her first three artists: Dylan Wright, who is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter; Alex Hall, a singer/songwriter from Indianapolis; and Ghosts of Kin, an Indianapolis-based band.
Since she is currently based in Chicago and traveling is expensive, Russelburg said she is concentrating on working with artists in the Midwest, but she encourages musicians from anywhere in the country to apply to the project.
"I am very open to any genre, any type of music, band or musician," she said.
Though Resonate is primarily about the musicians, Russelburg said it's also about LGBT music fans and her personal connection with music.
Russelburg's passion for music came from growing up closeted in central Indiana.
"I was closeted all throughout high school, but I was lucky because I never witnessed or experienced anything bad, other than just the typical stupid kids saying gay slurs all the time to each other," she said. "That is still hard to experience and it's still not fun. I was always looking to the media for those people I could identify with."
She said being a music buff and a musician herself - she plays drums - she started discovering LGBT artists and took refuge in their music.
"I remember when I first started finding these artists in the community and I was, like, 'Oh my gosh. This is so cool,' and I thought it was the greatest," she said. "You just need to see those voices because they make you feel less alone. So, yes, it's for the musicians, but it's also for those 16-year-old Biancas out there."
Once the Kickstarter campaign concludes Dec. 11, donations can be made via PayPal through www.teamresonate.com .
"People who donate will get exclusive news, pictures, and maybe even a track download or two," Russelburg said.