I have been playing this song on repeat all week. While part of it was because I was preparing for my interview with Robin Thicke (yes, that’s us above!), the other part is that this track is so undeniably catchy. It instantly makes me dance in my chair, which is a little awkward if you pass by my desk at work. I talked with Robin Monday for Radio.com about the song, which just went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
“In the studio, Pharrell and I started jamming,” he told me. “One of the first things Pharrell did was go, ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ and then we started having such a great time. We were dancing around the studio like old men. We were doing our old men barbecue dances.”
Pharrell and Thicke found themselves dancing around the studio all night to “Blurred Lines,” but he never fathomed the reception it would receive a year later.
“We felt like maybe it was something special but it was so different,” he admitted. “We didn’t know it would be this big.”
Read my complete article at Radio.com and stay tuned for my video interview with Robin where he told me what to expect from his upcoming album and gave me some love advice.
David Nail will always hold a special place in my career. In 2009, I flew to Nashville to cover CMA Fest for the first time. I instantly fell in love with the city, the music, and every artist I met. I was very much a country newbie and a bit intimidated but everyone I met was so incredibly friendly my nerves quickly disappeared.
I headed over to a stage right off the main strip of downtown Nashville to see Nail perform right before I interviewed him. I figured it’d make good research and it did. At this point, he was about to release his debut album and was pitched to me as being one of country music’s latest heartthrobs. He was.
It’s been fun to watch his success over the years and his singles climb to the top of the country charts. He has such a distinct emotive quality in his voice. Whether he’s singing of heartbreak on his first single “Red Light” or cheating on “Let It Rain” you can’t help but feel for him and take his side in every song.
His latest single, “Whatever She’s Got” shows a different side of him, though. More upbeat, he said it’s the first track of his that he’s ever seen his wife dance along to. That has to tell you something. Listen below and stay tuned for new music from him later this summer.
May was one of those months that reaffirmed my decision to pursue music journalism. Not many know this, but back in high school I thought my future profession would be psychology. I just loved the idea of helping solve other people’s problems. After a while, though I realized I wouldn’t be able to make it as a psychologist because I take everyone else’s issues to heart and would never be able to shut that off.
While I’ve never second guessed being a music journalist, last month made me realize maybe there is a little therapy in the art of an interview. I remember my high school journalism teacher explaining the importance of silence during an interview and to allow the interviewee time to say what she needs to say. It’s uncomfortable keeping that long pause between answers but sometimes they’ll say something they’ve never told anyone else or lead your conversation into a different direction. Sometimes it will even allow room for tears. And this isn’t always a bad thing, as awkward as it may sound.
Last month, I interviewed Vicci Martinez. A former contestant on The Voice, she placed third in 2011. Instead of talk about that experience, I wanted to dive into her music, most of which she writes herself. My goal in every interview is to ask the artist a question they’ve never been asked before. My go to question for this is usually: Is there a song that means more to you now than when you first wrote it? When I asked her this, it took her a few seconds but then she remembered a song she wrote a few years ago from her album I Love You in the Morning. The instrumental track was written about her parents’ relationship and she said it’s her favorite song she has ever written.
“It’s this conversation between the two of them where my Mom feels like she can never be with anyone else and my Dad is gone,” she explained to me about her father’s death. “I feel like my Dad, because he loves her so much, [for him] the most important thing is for her to be happy and I think he’d give her that blessing. The whole song is that conversation.”
Vicci’s dad passed away and she wrote the song for her mom. When I asked her if her mom knew the story she told me she never told her. After the interview I learned that she was fighting back tears when she was telling me the story behind that song.
“That was like a therapy session. You should get a promotion,” she told me afterwards.
As my co-worker came into the room Vicci told her the same thing and my colleague joked, “It wouldn’t be the first time. Annie makes a lot of people cry.” (It happened last year with Tristan Prettyman.)
It’s not that I want to ever make anyone cry, but the fact that I allow them to get comfortable enough to open up that much is something I never take lightly. It almost makes me wonder if I can get a job as a music therapist. Go on the road with bands and provide counseling, or just lend an ear. Hmmm…maybe I should do some research.
While I’ve been saving my country posts for my relatively new Tumblr blog, I thought it was fitting to come back to You Sing I Write for this post. In fact, if it wasn’t for me starting this blog in the first place I would have never discovered my love for country music. Back in 2009, I visited Nashville for the first time and that experience became one of my top 5 moments of the year. This is what I wrote:
“The community between artist and fan is phenomenal and even the press are extremely welcoming. I remember my first night in the CMA press conference and being extremely nervous because the biggest country stars would be there for interviews. Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley! A Jersey girl covering the Nashville music scene, I was definitely a country newbie. I kept raising my hand throughout the night in hopes to squeeze a question in and quickly learned you have to be aggressive and shout out your questions to the artists. Lucky for me, Darius Rucker noticed my continuous unsuccessful attempts and while the PR person was ushering him off the stage he pointed to me and said, “You’ve been so patient this whole time. What’s your question?” I was shocked and humbled.”
That experience forever changed my preconceptions of country music and I fell head over heels for the genre.
Fast forward to 2012. One of the first interviews I conducted for CBS was Darius Rucker. He was opening later that night for Lady Antebellum and came into our studio to chat about his new single at the time “True Believers,” and what we could expect from his forthcoming album of the same name. I was finally able to tell him the story of that night in the press conference and thank him for making me a country fan and he was so appreciative.
Today, he released his third country album and having interviewed him three times over the past year we decided to make a video package from the content he provided in support of his new album. You can watch the complete video below. To learn more about his album and the story behind many of the tracks on True Believers, visit Radio.com.
Sometimes you just have to go back to where it all started. For me, it was the Backstreet Boys. I was obsessed with them as a kid. And by obsessed, I mean I was convinced I was going to marry a Backstreet Boy (Brian Littrell if you must know). As ridiculous as that sounds, I know my love for their music was one of the reasons I became a music journalist.
Growing up, I always wondered who their songs were about, if they actually wrote them, what really went on backstage and what they really were like as people. These burning questions haven’t changed much over the years and this curiously is what sparked my passion for journalism in the first place.
This week, BSB announced that they’ll be hitting the road in celebration of their 20th anniversary as a band. Additionally, new music is on the way and the guys have written most of the tracks for their upcoming July 30th release In A World Like This.
Confession: I spent an entire day this week revisiting all their old hits and am amazed that I still know all the words to many of their songs. Like this one especially, “As Long As You Love Me.” Say what you will about the Backstreet Boys, but you can’t deny that their songs are incredibly catchy.
Before I started working at CBS I had done two video interviews — Keith Urban and Josh Kelley. While it’s fun to see how your interview came to life after the fact, it’s also very nerve-racking during the process because you can’t mask anything that happens. With that said, actually editing down a 40-minute interview into a four-minute segment isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it.
Last month, I interviewed British singer-songwriter Ben Howard. I fell in love with his music the more I listened to him and his back story is even more intriguing. He actually went to school for journalism but then ditched it to pursue a career in music. While some compare his music to surf rockers like Jack Johnson, I think his music is much deeper.
In February, he won two BRIT Awards, England’s equivalent to the GRAMMYs, for Best Male Solo and British Breakthrough Act and just last month he performed at Coachella and was touring with Mumford & Sons. Learn more on the singer below in the video I produced for Radio.com. I’d love to know your thoughts on him!
Over the past few months I’ve forgotten how important it is to have your own writing outlet. Not a site that people tell you who or what to write about, but something that’s entirely your own. Work has been so crazy that I haven’t had a second to sit down and blog about the music I truly care about. Sure, I get to interview some of my favorite acts but I miss highlighting the lesser known bands on You Sing I Write — bands who need and appreciate the attention.
While interviewing Hanson is one highlight of last month, I was also able to sit down with Tim and Tom of the Plain White T’s (“Hey There Delilah,” remember them?) and it brought me back to college. The first song I ever learned on guitar, I remember sitting in my room with the song on repeat trying to perfect the notes. Back to a time when I’d kill to be writing about music on a daily basis. As I told the guys this, I had one of those “remember this” moments where I couldn’t believe I was chatting with a band I had seen live back in college. I actually own their first CD and would you have told me in college when I volunteered as the concert crew just to have a ticket to their sold-out show that a decade later I’d be interviewing them in New York and talking about that infamous GRAMMY-nominated song and dating I never would have believed it.
I’ve finally gotten used to interviewing bands on camera and just last month I chatted with one band that I think you should keep on your radar, Drop City Yacht Club. Their new single “Crickets” I’m convinced will be the song of the summer. It’s one of those ear worms that I’ve been singing for days now and they were by far the funniest band I’ve interviewed.
Another band I’m amazed by is Vintage Trouble. I would have never discovered them if it weren’t for my co-worker who suggested we cover them as New Music to Know and I can’t get enough of them. They’re a retro 60s act that’s part Elvis Presley (gyrating hips and all) part Buddy Holly and James Brown all rolled into one.
One of my personal favorites, who I just interviewed yesterday, is Andrew Ripp. I caught his set when he was on tour with Andy Grammer and Parachute and instantly fell in love with his voice (and the fact that he’s from Nashville.) His new single is so fun and upbeat I had it on repeat all day yesterday.
I’m really hoping to get back into the schedule of blogging more frequently especially if it’s a quick post about a video I’m digging or a song I can’t stop playing. Last month I realized that websites aren’t around forever and my blog really is the only database I can trust will forever keep all my writing. I was incredibly sad when I heard AOL Music would shut down as it was the first place that paid me to write about music. AOL’s The Boot was by far my favorite outlet to write for as it allowed me to spend the day with Keith Urban (!!!) and interview some of my favorite country artists like Lady Antebellum and Eric Church as well as attend some phenomenal concerts. It made me realize my passion for country music and for that I will be eternally grateful.
That’s all for last month. As always, reach out if there’s a band you suggest I check out. Thanks for reading!
It’s been over three months since my Website crashed and this has been the longest I’ve gone without updating since it launched in 2007. While I’ve definitely been keeping busy, I miss having You Sing I Write as a constant outlet to write about whatever band I want to, no matter how big or small.
I’ll try to fill you in on everything that’s been going on in my world as much as I can. I’m still at CBS full-time where I cover Top 40 (most recently interviewed Hanson — see photo above!) but I’ve also been branching out and doing on-camera reporting. While being on-camera sounds glamorous to some it is not at all that way for me. Never the outspoken one, you can definitely say I have a bit of stage fright.
Luckily, my co-workers are extremely supportive and have been helping me get over that fear. My debut as a host of Radio.com’s Country Rewind launched a few months ago and while every morning I have to go on camera I wake up with a huge knot in my stomach, things are slowly becoming more comfortable. Here’s my first episode in which I chatted with Ashley Monroe and Randy Houser.
It’s no secret Taylor Swift is one of my favorite artists out there. Last month when I headed to her RED Tour at Newark’s Prudential Center I was happy just to be there. So, imagine my shock and excitement to learn that I wasn’t just sitting anywhere at the arena–I was in the front row! As a kid, it was always my dream to be front row at a concert and I never really thought it would be a possibility. If you haven’t seen Taylor live, I highly recommend it. She puts on a phenomenal show, unlike any concert I’ve seen.
Photo credit: Ash Newell
Every now and then I get the pleasure of interviewing artists more than once. When I learned Parachute (formerly Sparky’s Flaw) would be coming to work to chat I couldn’t help but remember the first time I talked with frontman Will Anderson. He was still in college on his way to class and the band would tour on the weekends. They went on to have hit radio singles, go on some major tours and write with Lady Antebellum. One of the first bands I interviewed for this blog, it was nice to have familiar faces in the studio who felt like old friends.
That really is my ultimate goal as an interviewer: hope our conversation is comfortable enough that they’ll want to come back next time they’re in town. I have a slew of interviews lined up in the coming weeks and some impressive new artists I’m excited to introduce you to. Stay tuned!