Local Teacher & Musician Records a New EP via Kickstarter

  • Dana Lawrence Gillis' Kickstarter Campaign to record a new album in 2016Dana Lawrence Gillis

    Dana Lawrence Gillis' Kickstarter Campaign to record a new album in 2016Dana Lawrence Gillis

Dana Lawrence Gillis
Updated 1/8/2016 10:31 AM

Award-winning teacher and musician Dana Lawrence Gillis is slated to record a new album this year. Gillis, a former North Shore School District 112 teacher who tutors by day at t2, a K-12 learning center in Highland Park she co-founded with District colleague Ellie Rubenstein, has been performing professionally in venues across the North Shore and Chicago for over twenty years. Gillis' debut album, "Easier," recorded and produced by Suede Stout at Darwin Records in 2001, features musicians from bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, Filter, The Mighty Blue Kings, Peat Moss and more.

Music often plays a role in Gillis and Rubenstein's teaching methods at t2, and their original song and self-produced music video "The Scientific Method Rap" has reached over half a million views on YouTube. Gillis' YouTube channel features various music videos of original songs and popular hits that she performed, recorded and produced herself; and she has established a following of fans via social media and her local community over the course of her career. (https://www.youtube.com/danalawrence)


"I am focusing all of my energy on pursuing my passions and trying to make a viable living doing what I love- both as a means to support myself and my six-year-old daughter, and in efforts to teach her what it means to find true happiness and fulfillment through hard work," says Gillis, whose daughter also enjoys singing, dancing and performing with her mother, both live and in the music videos they often make together (which can also be viewed on YouTube).

Following a growing trend of crowdfunding, Gillis recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance her return to the recording studio. She has until the beginning of March to reach her goal, or none of the pledged contributions go through and the project does not get funded. With incentives for every pledge amount from $5 to $1000, including advance copies of the finished CD, special song requests, private in-home concerts, and more, she hopes to garner enough attention and support to make it happen.


Gillis says the endeavor is one she's been waiting a long time to pursue, but the time has never been right. "I have so many new songs and ideas waiting to be recorded, and my home equipment and self-recording methods just don't cut it," she says. "I can't wait to get back into the studio with talented musicians and producers who will help me create another album that I can be proud of, and that people will enjoy over and over again for years to come."

Gillis will be performing next Friday, January 15th, 7:30-10:30 at The Panda Bar, 596 Elm Pl. in Highland Park, debuting new music as part of a Kickstarter Launch Party. Visit danalawrence.com for more information.