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Unsigned country artist Steve Grand uses Kickstarter to hit Billboard charts

Kickstarter Music’s latest success story is indie country singer/songwriter Steve Grand. That he managed to fun his album with Kickstarter donations isn’t exactly a shocker, but the fact that his newly-released album, All American Boy, just hit the Billboard charts, certainly is.

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The 25 year-old Illinois native’s new record hit No. 47 on the Billboard 200 dated April 11. The LP was officially released on Grand’s imprint called Grand Nation, distributed by Brody Distribution Group.

“I’m blown away! My fans have done it again,” said Grand (via Billboard). “I have believed in this record, and now it’s clear a lot of other people do too. Putting out an album has been my longtime dream, and to have it do so well in just its first week is phenomenal.”

The news is just the latest in Grand’s internet-fueled success, who broke out in his 2013 self-financed “All-American Boy” video which racked up nearly four million YouTube views. While he didn’t yet have a publicist or manager, his initial success garnered attention on Good Morning America, CNN, Buzzfeed and other national media. The video was particularly captivating as it told his personal story of being a gay male country musician.

After the video, Grand took to Kickstarter — rather than a record label — to finance his his debut album. To say it worked well is an understatement: he received $327,000 from 4,905 backers in the crowd-funding service’s fourth-most funded music project ever, behind Amanda Palmer, Carman and TLC.

Amanda Palmer is the most well-known, and outspoken, Kickstarter Music supporter since raising $1.2 million to fund her musical projects including an album, an art book, and a tour in 2012. (She since has left Kickstarter to join Patreon, a similar crowd-funding platform.) Palmer is just one of thousands of musicians using Kickstarter every year, and it’s worth noting that both Palmer and Grand had a solid fan base going into their campaign.

All American Boy sold 10,000 copies in the week ending March 29, according to Nielsen Music.