Helping causes with music

Dave Toroni of Carson City is an aspiring musician who has found a way to promote his craft while supporting social causes he believes in and encourages other artists to do the same.

Toroni began playing guitar as a youngster when his dad, who owned a pawn shop in Carson City, gave him a Beatles-era Decca electric guitar. He began writing riffs at 10 and started his first band at 15.

"I have always loved music, but keeping bands together and finding the right bunch of people has its challenges," said Toroni, who actually got to meet Johnny Cash when he came into the family business one day, ahead of a show he was giving in the area. "That was a big deal for me."

In the music arena, Toroni goes by the name "Ferdkind," which began as an online screen name on MySpace.

"I began putting my music up on MySpace and it just took off and helped me figure out what people wanted to listen to," he said.

He released four singles, "Just With You," "She Lights Candles" "Never Again" and "Between Us," in November 2010, described by its creator as "acoustic rock inspired by life experiences and ideas."

"Depending on the distribution site, though, my music has been called everything from alternative to folk and rock," he said.

His singles are available for download on Amazon, Rhapsody, e-music, iTunes, MediaNet and Napster, allowing Toroni access to a global market.

"This gives access to people who require different applications," he said. "There are currently 832 million digital subscribers, a number that is expected to double by 2014, and this entire process is something kids or older musicians can do.

"I think there will be a lot of people who see the value of this."

Technology also has freed up the production process.

"You know it is so difficult to put together a band and keep it together," he said. "Technology allows me to create the music as if there is a whole band and add guitar, which is my primary instrument."

From that point, the songs are mixed, turned into an MP3 format and copyrighted.

"Then you open an account and upload the song and your cover art and begin the marketing and distribution," Toroni said. "It's very easy."

Toroni's cover art are oil paintings he created, having been inspired and taught by his mom, former Carson High School art teacher Kaye Broyles.

With Facebook's "Causes" program, Toroni has chosen ideals he supports and directly donates five percent of all downloads to his causes, which include "Help Restore Our Ocean World," "Plant a Fish," "Support for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources" and "Stop Global Warming."

"The money is paid directly from PayPal to the cause and, I believe, if we can get every musician - whether they're independent or on a major label and other artists to choose causes and support this, that we can make a difference," Toroni said. "I would love to start a movement where we all get on board with this."

With so much untapped talent in the world, Toroni sees the tech innovations as a positive for all artists and musicians.

"So many people with a lot of talent go nowhere," he said. "We now have the ability to create, market and distribute music in a very active way that gives everyone, regardless of label support or lack of it, an equal playing field."

Toroni's singles under the name Ferdkind, are available at any of the above sites. You can catch Toroni at local venues such as Comma Coffee in Carson City and Walden Books in Reno. For more information, email him at or call 884-1254.


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