An independent record store has launched its first crowdfunder to support young, unsigned, and emerging musicians.

Black Star Records founder Fran Jones, who runs a shop in the New Forest, is encouraging artists to use the community as a way of funding and accelerating their success.

The first featured artist to release a crowdfunded vinyl LP is singer-songwriter Ella Bleakley.

Named after the US jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, the talented 21-year-old will perform songs from her debut album, Somewhere Green, at the store in Lyndhurst High Street on Saturday, October 14 at 2pm.

Fran said: “Releasing a vinyl LP that sells over 500 copies  - without being signed - is a massive thing and should be a very enjoyable journey for any young artist.

"Black Star Records is supporting Ella to achieve this dream. Once the crowdfunding target of circa 250-270 sales has happened, at a cost price of £14.99, then we print the record.

"Production and distribution from this point will take about eight weeks with a planned release date of early 2024. All albums will be pressed on 100% ECO Wax.

"Every crowdfunding supporter will receive a numbered, signed and insert exec producer credit on the vinyl which, for the cost of a coffee and posh cheese sandwich, is a great thing for a true vinyl collector.

“When the presold crowdfunded albums go out - then the artists will be left with around 200/ 250 albums that they haven't had to fund, print, manage or worry about.

"This will be around £5,000 of stock they can go onto sell at gigs, festivals or online - and this we hope will fund their next great adventure.

“The artists will receive the whole benefit of the initiative. This is a wholly philanthropic exercise of passing it forward so that the artists can hopefully move forward with a positive experience that fuels the next thing."

Somewhere Green includes seven original tracks written and recorded by Ella in London.

Her cross-over album combines ballads with RNB, beats, jazz, and electronic. Based on her personal journey, the songs are a reflection of the musician’s search for self-acceptance.

A statement on the Black Star website describes it as a business born out of love.

"Love not only of music and the collection of it but the determination, passion and loyalty that is created from collecting and developing a physical music collection."