Joshua Radin. Hotel Cafe Tour. 2008
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Songwriting Session with Kip Moore
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person, Interviews, Q&A, Songwriting Session

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(Kip Moore at New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom)

Songwriting Session is a new weekly column that goes behind-the-scenes with artists and songwriters. Each Sunday, a new songwriter will share their journey and provide lessons they’ve learned along the way. This week, country singer-songwriter Kip Moore shares what he has learned as a songwriter.

 

Songwriting is a serious trade. It’s not for the faint of heart. In fact, as Kip Moore once told me, he doesn’t encourage people to take the path of songwriting as a career.

I have to preface this by saying that Kip Moore is my all-time favorite country songwriter. While I’ve interviewed him four times now, my most vivid chat happened last November backstage at New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom, a venue I grew up seeing shows at. It also consisted of him telling me that songwriting isn’t for everyone. It’s all or nothing he basically told me. It was a bit of a slap in the face, but something I’ve come to realize I desperately needed to hear.

You see, before that interview I had dabbled in songwriting. I took an online class over the summer that taught me the basics of songwriting and wrote my first song. But nothing quite prepared me for his honesty. As he told me, though, songwriting isn’t something you necessarily can learn but something you have to pursue with every ounce inside of you.

“I always tell people to chase their passion,” he tells me. “My advice to songwriters is, unless you’re truly serious about it, and it’s all you can think about doing, it’s all that’s in your heart, leave it alone. Trying to do it for a career, it has to be all or nothing. It’s gotta drive everything in you.”

Kip is a passionate guy. If you’ve been to one of his shows you can see that unyielding energy he leaves on the stage every single night. In person, he’s quite serious and even a bit intense. When I mention this to him he laughs and says he can be playful, too.

In an interview with Kip, you have to know your stuff. He can read right through you if you don’t. He says he’s a no BS type of guy and that couldn’t be a truer statement. Lucky for me, I have lived with his excellent debut album Up All Night for three years now so I’m pretty well researched before our big chat on songwriting. Possibly a little nervous too.

 
At first, he admits that he truly doesn’t know where to start when I ask him how to write a song. And then there’s a long pause. Right away I’m thinking maybe this wasn’t a good topic to discuss. But before I have a chance to ask another question he begins to tell me about his journey as a songwriter. He explains that he used to sit down for years and years and make himself write two songs every day.

“I would force myself to write, write, write,” he admits. “Now it’s more of an organic process where I almost always come up with the guitar groove or melody in my head and then I sing it into a recorder and then I live with it for days in my bunk and let it soak into my brain and what I feel like it’s supposed to be saying.”

Like many songwriters, he said the process varies every time. Sometimes he has an idea for a song, sometimes he has a title and other times he has a groove. While he says that you can teach the craft of songwriting, ultimately songwriting has to be in your soul to succeed.

I explain to him that what’s most difficult for me is writing a catchy chorus. I want to create something people want to sing along to–like a big Kelly Clarkson chorus–but often struggle getting there. Then he gets honest, simply saying, “You gotta fuckin’ study.”

He elaborates on that point. “You’ve got to sit down and you have to listen over and over for hours and hours of laying there at night and trying, understanding who your greats are, who your favorites are and paying attention to how they did it. It will soak in your mind and teach you how it’s done. That’s what I did. I studied the greats and the guys that I loved, and that’s how I learned how to write songs.”

Some writers are lucky enough to find mentors the moment they step foot in Nashville, but Kip is quick to admit that was not the case for him. In fact, he couldn’t get in the door to save his life. So, instead he had to teach himself. He did this by listening to the people he loved. By the time he got into the room with guys like his producer and songwriter Brett James, he was ready to go and just paid attention.

So why is he hesitant to urge others to follow his path into a songwriting career? He admits that things are even more difficult today than when he first started and often he doesn’t know what to say to songwriters.

“I don’t encourage people to take this path. It’s fucking hard and the window is getting smaller and smaller and the publishing companies are going away every day. I don’t know if I want to encourage someone to chase something that seems so out of reach all the time.”

But if songwriting is truly the career path you want to pursue? He says to study your butt off like he did.

“I can remember how discouraging the whole process was for me and how much it beat me up to where I just don’t know how to tell people. It was such a tough road. It was all I wanted to do, that’s what kept me going.”

 

Kip Moore’s sophomore album ‘Wild Ones’ will be released August 21. Pre-order it on his Website. His single, “I’m To Blame” is out now.

My hommie Annie..always a pro A photo posted by kipmooremusic (@kipmooremusic) on

August 16, 2015 | | (1) comment comment
Toby Keith Covers Nash Country Weekly
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

 

Since the very first time I watched Almost Famous, I’ve dreamed about traveling with bands, stepping inside a tour bus and writing a cover story. I can now officially announce that my first cover story is coming out this Friday!

I recently caught up with Toby Keith on tour for Nash Country Weekly to discuss his recent induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. During our chat, the singer opened up about his 20+ years as a professional songwriter, explained why the Songwriters Hall of Fame is the only award he has ever wanted and even shared some tips on writing songs.

Sitting inside his bus with him was longtime collaborator, songwriter Bobby Pinson, who has written many of Keith’s famous hits with him including “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” “Made in America,” “I Like Girls That Drink Beer,” “Shut Up and Hold On” as well as Keith’s current single “35 MPH Town.” Earlier that day, the two had been writing together and Keith said it’s writing every day that has allowed him to release an album every year. For my complete interview, be sure to pick up a copy of Nash Country Weekly on stands this Friday.

July 27, 2015 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write Says Goodbye To NYC
CATEGORIES: First Person

A Thousand Horses

(Posing with A Thousand Horses after an interview at New York’s Bryant Park)

I vividly remember my first time visiting Nashville. It was the summer of 2009 and my two friends, Deana and Wendy, convinced me to join them on a trip to Music City for the annual CMA Music Festival. I must admit, I had little knowledge of country music back then besides Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. Midway through the festival, though, I was sold on country music. So much so, I remember telling one freelance writer I met that I wanted to move to Nashville ASAP. Her advice to me: build your career and reputation in New York first. In Nashville everyone covers country music and it’s much harder to break into the field but in New York, I’d be the big fish in a small pond.

Looking back on a blog post from 2009, that initial spark and desire to move to Nashville is apparent:

Being in Nashville for CMA week really opened up my eyes into the country music realm and I was so glad to be a part of it. Somewhat of a newbie to the genre, what I saw this week were some of the most down-to-earth, appreciative and welcoming people in the business and it’s so refreshing to see the stars so receptive and engaging with their fans. I just may have to make a yearly trip to Nashville from now on!

Little did I know that yearly trip would turn into a desire to pack up all my things and move to Tennessee! When asked how I, a Jersey girl, first got into country music I always tell the story of this first trip to Nashville and my first experience attending a press conference at CMA Fest. Definitely a fish out of water, I had little knowledge of the country community and press conferences. I had never attended a press conference before and I didn’t realize you had to shout at the artist to get your question answered. Darius Rucker was the first artist to come through the room and as all the journalists yelled to get their questions answered I simply sat there with my hand raised. In that moment I felt so out of place and questioned my even being there. The last question was asked and Darius was being ushered off the stage by his publicist. But then he stopped and looked right at me.

“You have been so patient this whole time. What is your question?” he asked, pointing to me.

Darius Rucker

(Darius Rucker after he answered press questions in Nashville during CMA Fest)

I didn’t even realize he was talking to me so I turned to look behind me but sure enough he was addressing me. In that moment I was sold on country music. Having covered pop music for years, I really don’t think Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber would have even noticed me, let alone asked what my question was as sincerely as Darius did.

Since 2009, I have covered the country genre for Marie Claire, AOL, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Country Weekly and CBS and have gained some of my favorite New York memories thanks to the genre. Meeting Lady Antebellum at a Miranda Lambert concert at Terminal 5, then my first interview with Lady A a week later at City Winery. Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band being my first concert review for Rolling Stone. Spending the day with Keith Urban. The list goes on and on.

With all that said, I think it’s safe to say I built up my country music cred in New York and now it’s time for my next adventure — moving to Nashville. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Every morning I wake up at 4 a.m. with a minor freakout. Is this the right decision? Am I going to get work? All I know is in New York and New Jersey! While all my family is up here, I won’t grow as a writer and as a person unless I jump out of my comfort zone every once in a while. So, I am moving out of Brooklyn July 31st. I’ll head down to Nashville mid-September after spending some time with friends and family in New Jersey. It’s a huge leap for me, having grown up and gone to college in New Jersey and not knowing many people in Nashville but it’s something I have to do. I know I’ll always regret it if I don’t.

To celebrate, and say proper goodbyes, I’ll be doing it the only way I know how: by hosting a concert! Next Thursday, my roommate Leah Taylor and I will be putting together a show at Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side from 7-9pm including performances by Hide & Seek, Eugene Tyler Band and Leah Taylor. Come by early for happy hour and stay and enjoy some free live music. The night will be bittersweet for sure, but I have good reason to believe Nashville is the best decision for me career-wise at this moment. In the meantime, I aim to update this blog more often on my adventures, bands to watch and interviews. Stay tuned for another exciting chapter for You Sing, I Write!

July 24, 2015 | | (4) comment comment
You Sing I Write Celebrates Seven Years
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

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It’s incredible to me that seven years ago I started You Sing I Write with a dream to cover concerts and interview bands. It was a very lofty goal at the time but one I was so sure of, more than anything else in my life at the time. Getting to where I am today was a long journey, full of highs and lows. I definitely hit rock bottom too. Living in Brooklyn with a dwindling savings account and no steady paycheck, the freelance life was hard. But it’s those difficult times that test you and for me, there was no plan B. Music journalism was it. I refused to settle for a boring corporate job that I dreaded waking up every day for.

Years later, I came to learn that family members and friends often questioned my path and wondered when I’d give up this crazy dream for a “real job.” Today, though they marvel at my persistence and determination to make this career work. I’ve been asked for career and freelance advice a lot recently and it always surprises me that people want to know my story.

For me, music was always a major passion, as was writing. From the first time I covered a concert (Gavin DeGraw at Rutgers University for The Daily Targum), I was hooked. It was as if a light bulb went off. I remember standing in the front row of the show, notebook and pen in one hand and camera in the other and it clicked: if I could do this for the rest of my life, I would. From there it was countless internships at Jane Magazine, MTV News and Rolling Stone. While interning and freelancing for free was definitely not easy, along the way there were signs I was headed in the right direction. An internship turned into paid work, a simple blog post turned into more review requests. And the more people I met in the industry, the more contacts I gained and the opportunities started lining up.

Hanson

Seven years ago, I never imagined I’d have a byline in Rolling Stone, Billboard, MTV News, AOL or Marie Claire but somehow it happened. And then, after a trip with some friends to Nashville for CMA Fest this boy band loving girl (that’s Hanson above, fyi), turned into a country fan. Who would have thought?

I eventually landed my first full-time gig at CBS Local back in 2012 and things felt like they finally were falling into place. It was a job where I actually got to write every day for a living. While I had always dreamed this was a possibility, I was starting to have my doubts. The gig has allowed me to meet some of my favorite artists and to sit down and have in-depth chats with them about their music, life and songwriting. Truly a dream come true, this little blog helped me get to where I am today.

Darius Rucker

The past seven years came full circle this year when I got to sit down with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys (my childhood obsession) as well as Darius Rucker, who really made me fall in love with country music. Hearing the stories behind their songs and realizing that they are just regular people is always refreshing. I’m not sure who else this field will bring me into contact with, but I have a feeling the next seven years will bring even more moments to write about. And hey, who knows, maybe all these adventures will make their way into a book one day.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey over the past seven years. Here’s to many more years ahead!

October 21, 2014 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write’s May/June Wrap Up
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

I had the opportunity to tour with my first band back in 2008 when I was an intern at Rolling Stone. It was not as glamorous as I had previously thought, but an experience nonetheless. The band was Army of Me and I was in a tiny van with four guys as they toured with The Used. While it was a rite of passage I’ll never forget, I’ve always wondered what life on a tour bus is really like and I finally got to find out this year when I spent 24 hours on the road with Hunter Hayes as he broke a Guinness World Record for the most shows in 24 hours in multiple cities.

I spent 24 hours en route on a media bus where I tested out the bunks, realized the awkwardness of using the bathroom and had a newfound appreciation for the road life that so many artists deal with every day. You can read my full recap on Radio.com.

While I may not jump at the chance to travel the country on a tour bus myself, I wouldn’t say no to the next band opportunity. What was even more exciting was that that experience presented me with my first ever music plaque. I have a few softball trophies under my belt, but a music plaque is definitely a first.

That Hunter Hayes experience was just one of several that exhilarated me so far this summer and made me stop and cherish this crazy journey of being a music journalist. Last month, I interviewed Jason Mraz who I had grown up listening to. He was pretty much my college roommate’s life soundtrack and whenever I hear “I’m Yours” I’m always reminded of her ringtone.

I have not been that nervous for an interview in a very long time. I usually still get butterflies, but this time it was a huge knot in my stomach. He turned out to be more than cool and just a super chill person. Basically, exactly what you’d think he’d be like in real life. Watch our chat below.

 

 

Another highlight was interviewing Miranda Lambert. She just released her new album Platinum and while I only got 15 minutes with her, I was taken aback by how down to earth she was. While she’s married to perhaps the most popular man in country, Blake Shelton, she was so incredibly nice and even gave me some hilarious, yet questionable advice about turning 30 in November. “There’s always Spanx and Botox, you’ll be fine.” Watch my interview with her below.

 

 

I was lucky to spend some time chatting with the guys of The Wild Feathers over beers and found a new favorite band in married duo Johnnyswim during an interview. Also, Naughty Boy told me my interview with him was like therapy, which reaffirmed my decision to major in journalism and not psychology. Now I have the best of both worlds!

Stay tuned for more adventures next month. I promise to update more often! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with my day-to-day.

July 13, 2014 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write’s Top 10 Moments at the Academy of Country Music Awards
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

I’m a strong believer that if you want something bad enough you’ll make it happen. Of course hard work, persistence and luck are usually the ingredients to success but sometimes it’s also timing. Being at the right place at the right time, or just having faith that things will work out. This all pretty much sums up my career as a music journalist. When I started this blog nearly seven years ago I never dreamed it would take me all the places I’ve been. I especially never thought I’d be covering an awards show, but I certainly hoped I’d attend one at some point in my lifetime. Lucky for me, it was this year and the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas last weekend. Below are my Top 10 moments of that experience. For all the photos, you can follow me on Instagram.

1. Gondola Ride with Dustin Lynch

I have never been to Las Vegas and for the longest time, the only reason i wanted to go was to see The Venetian in person and pretend I was back in Italy. I got that wish, but it was even better than I could have imagined. I rode on a gondola while interviewing Dustin Lynch! If that was the only thing that I accomplished while there it would have been enough.

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2. The Red Carpet

I’ve covered a few red carpets before in New York and they were nothing compared to an awards show red carpet. Everyone was dressed up (including myself!) and I had butterflies the hours leading up to it. I already planned my standard three questions, but my nerves were getting the best of me, until it started and I realized how many friendly faces there were. Half of the artists that came by I had already met and interviewed, which helped calm my nerves. When I told Will Hoge of my worries, his advice: just be yourself. Which I did and luckily, the artists all remembered me which made it even easier.

3. The ACM Awards

For as long as I can remember, my dream was to attend an awards show. To sit in the audience and take in everything that was happening firsthand. In reality, it was more like a concert event than awards show with all the performances. During the commercial breaks, we’d see artist EPK’s on each new single, album, tour and best of performance moments from previous ACM Awards. Witnessing Merle Haggard come onstage and accept the Crystal Milestone Award, seeing George Strait perform in person for the first time and accept the Entertainer of the Year Award, it can’t get any better than that!

4. Interviewing Kip Moore

Talk about butterflies. I know I shouldn’t have crushes on musicians, but this guy is special. I don’t think I’ve listened to any country album more than his debut, Up All Night. My alarm every morning is set to his song, “Hey Pretty Girl.” While I’d never admit I’m obsessed, I am pretty infatuated. He’s just an incredible songwriter and someone I admire. Interviewing him only further proved this because he was so humble and almost uncomfortable talking about his nomination for New Artist of the Year. He also gave me some insight into his next release, which I can’t wait to hear later this year!

5. Brett Eldredge

He’s another one of my favorites and a friendly face throughout the weekend — backstage and on the Red Carpet. He is always one of the most fun guys to interview. Maybe I’ll even go shark diving with him…

6. Merle Haggard and George Strait Performing Together

I can’t believe this even happened. On Monday, I attended the TV taping for a special to air on CBS called ACM Presents An All-Star Salute to the Troops. The first performance of the night was George Strait and Merle Haggard playing “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” Two legends I never even dreamed of seeing live in the same room as me. It was truly mind blowing.

7. Attending Big Machine’s ACM After Party

Of course I was hoping to run into Taylor Swift at some point during the weekend, but this never happened. (There’s always next year!) I did attend her record label’s ACM party though where I chatted with Rascal Flatts, Eli Young Band and The Cadillac 3. Believe me, I was pinching myself. Having interviewed Rascal Flatts a few months prior, it wasn’t difficult to go up to the band but for some reason I was super nervous to approach Eli Young Band. Their single, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” is one of my all-time favorite country songs and one of the songs that kept me motivated as a freelancer when I constantly questioned my ongoing struggles in making my dream career work out. When I told my colleague this, he told me to go tell them. And I’m very glad I did. So sweet and humble, when I told one of the guys this he thanked me profusely and confessed that he often feels like the band is country music’s underdog. I’m not quite sure why and I told him this because I always hear their songs on the radio. It’s interesting to learn band’s perceptions on themselves and to find out that even country stars can be insecure.

 

 

8. Interviewing Chris Janson

“I hear you’re a songwriter,” Chris Janson said as he approached me on the red carpet. I was speechless and didn’t know how to respond. I still have never written a complete song. “It’s a simple question. Yes or no,” he said. To which my colleague urged me to say yes. “Sure, I guess,” I responded note even able to convince myself. It’s my dream to write a song (and his publicist knew this) so when I landed in New York, I signed up for a songwriting class. At least the next time someone asks me I’ll be more certain in my answer.

9. Walking the Strip

I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking on a movie set while in Las Vegas. My last day there I was able to take in the sites, walk past Italy, France and pretty much every major city imaginable all on the same street. It was surreal.

10. Being a Kid at Heart

Sometimes you just need to ride a roller coaster that’s in your hotel. It was actually terrifying! I stayed at the New York New York, ironically, and there is a roller coaster that starts at the top of the hotel and ends inside the hotel. It was something I never imagined seeing before. I also took a 30-minute trip on the new 550 ft Ferris Wheel at the Linq Hotel where I got a view of the entire city. To me, these rides were better than gambling…at least I knew where my money was going!

April 13, 2014 | | (0) comment comment
Story Behind the Song: “Wagon Wheel”
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person, Interviews

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Courtesy: Capitol Nashville

There’s no denying my love for Darius Rucker. A huge reason I fell in love with country music, he was the first artist I ever interviewed in a press conference setting and an experience I’ll never forget. It was 2009 and my first trip to Nashville. At this point in time I was very much a country newbie and a fish out of water in the press room.

Being my first time in the press room, I kept raising my hand in hopes to get my question answered. When the last question was asked and the publicist started to usher him off the stage he pointed in my direction. “You’ve been so patient this whole time,” he said. “What’s your question?”

After looking around and realizing he was talking to me, I was shocked and thankful to be given a second of his time. So, I asked him how his Hootie fans have reacted to his leap into country music and he told me they’ve embraced and supported his career in country music. Still stunned he pointed me out in the crowd I instantly knew country would become my new favorite genre.

Since that moment, I fell deeply in love with country. I’ve been lucky to have interviewed Darius three times since that day in the press room and he’s always been such a nice, friendly guy and great interview. During my most recent interview, he told me the story behind his GRAMMY-nominated song “Wagon Wheel.”

“When I heard ‘Wagon Wheel’ at my daughter’s high school talent contest, I don’t know what it was about the song, because I had heard the song before,” he told me. “When I heard it there I just thought, ‘Man some day I’m going to cut the song for a record.’ It was really one of those lightning bolt things that I can’t even explain.”

Read my complete article here.

 

 

January 9, 2014 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write’s Top 13 Interviews of 2013
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person, Q&A

kenny rogers

It’s hard to believe 2013 is coming to a close. I’ve been so lucky to interview some incredible artists this year, some that I never would have dreamed of getting the chance and others I’ve been dreaming up meeting since the seventh grade. Here’s my Top 13 interviews of 2013.

1. Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys

Do I need to say more? He filled me in on how difficult life as a boy band can be when your fiance is receiving death threats on a daily basis. That made me throw away my lifelong dream of marrying fellow bandmate Brian Littrell. Yes, I truly grew up in 2013.

2. Willie Nelson

I interviewed Willie on his tour bus and yes, it did smell like pot. I’m not quite sure if I got a contact high, just because I was so high on life after interviewing him. And that’s the truth. A true legend, he opened up about why he can’t live without songwriting and how the first time he heard his voice played back to him he hated it.

3. Kenny Rogers

The Gambler. He had the absolute best stories and a true passion and gratefulness for his long career.

 

 

4. Robin Thicke

I interviewed him the week “Blurred Lines” went to No. 1. Also, this was the first time I ever interviewed an artist who kept his sunglasses on throughout the entire interview which was a little awkward at first. And he gave me some great relationship advice.

 

 

5. Gavin DeGraw

The first concert I ever covered back in college, this interview was a long time coming. And I finally learned the story behind his hit “I Don’t Want To Be.”

 

 

6. Jack Johnson

My roommates throughout college had his music on repeat. I’m  happy to say he’s exactly the man you think he is as perceived in his music.

 

 

7. Plain White T’s

The first song I ever learned on guitar was “Hey There Delilah” and Tim and Tom made me blush while I recounted the story of my friend teaching me. In all fairness, they did have some pretty interesting views on relationships.

8. Brett Eldredge

I must confess after interviewing him three times this year, I may have developed a slight crush on this country singer. His album Bring You Back is by far my most listened to release from this year.

 

 

9. Deana Carter

After seeing Deana Carter perform at the CMA Songwriters Series, I was excited to talk with her on the phone and learn about her latest album. The conversation geared it’s way into talking about how much we both love the TV show Nashville where she filled me in that she in fact auditioned for the star role.

10. Toby Keith

I came to learn the full story behind the song we all love to hate “Red Solo Cup” and he gave me some exclusives to his album which came out this fall.

11. Jason Derulo

The most thoughtful interview, I was at first startled at how he would stop and really think about answering my every question. After a while, I just let the dead air stay until he told me what he wanted to say and truthfully, I think that’s the best way to conduct an interview. Leave space to let the artist really open up and tell you something they may not have otherwise if you just jump to ask them the next question.

 

 

12. Will Hoge

I sat on his tour bus before a performance at The Bell House in Brooklyn as he told me the story behind my favorite country song, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and opened up about country music.

13. A Great Big World

I was so excited to see this band succeed this year as I’d been catching them perform over the years throughout New York. There’s something so refreshing about a band you saw perform at a tiny club in New York to sharing a stage with Christina Aguilera.

December 31, 2013 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write Celebrates Six Years!
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person
(Credit: Sarah Bayot)

(Credit: Sarah Bayot)

Today marks six years to the day that I started You Sing I Write. Part of me feels as if it flew by so quickly, but looking back on the triumphs and struggles six years sounds just about right. My friend Sarah recently started a blog of her own called Fashion and Philosophers and interviewed me while she was in town. We spent the day in Brooklyn getting brunch, wandering in Park Slope and chatting in Prospect Park.

I must admit, it was strange being on the other side of an interview. Talking to her about my career really awakened me to just how much I persevered despite some major odds. I can honestly say being a music journalism was the only career path I set my heart on and I wouldn’t take no for an answer from anyone, no matter the amount of failures or rejections I received. You can read an excerpt of our chat below. For the rest, visit her website.

On Humble Beginnings
I started my blog in 2007 thinking my dad and a few friends would read it. My dad is my biggest fan. He follows me on twitter and when he responds to tweets, he texts me instead. It’s great. The blog started as a creative outlet and became very personal. It shares a positive outlook toward life and music. I only write things and people I am passionate about and hope that people can see my love for music through the writing.

Writings on the Wall
I interned for Jane Magazine and then MTV News. My articles have been featured in Marie Claire, The Boot, LemonDrop, Hoboken Patch, Billboard, Rolling Stone. Currently, I work for CBS Radio.com interviewing pop and country bands and covering shows for all of CBS’ music sites. I also freelance for Billboard and Rolling Stone on occasion.

On Robin Thicke
I interviewed him the week before “Blurred Lines” went to #1 and he was very personable. He wore sunglasses the whole time so that threw me off because you want an interview to flow organically and it’s hard to make it feel like a conversation when you can’t see someone’s eyes. He shared that he and T.I. were in the studio and wanted to make a follow up inspired by one of Marvin Gaye’s songs, “We had the chorus and we had our old man BBQ dance. We were just dancing around. Then Pharrell came up with the hook “hey. hey. hey.” And that was that.” That was one of the interviews we used almost everything. We mostly discussed relationships and he talked about his wife, Paula Patton. They have been together since they were teenagers and he had a lot of good things to say about commitment and making it work. Basically, choose one person that you’re willing to lower walls and allow them to hurt you because it will happen. But you choose each other and you give them everything. Nothing held back.

Interview Methodology
I really research for interviews including diving into the lyrics of albums. I look for the stories behind the songs and really try to ask them different questions. These artists are interviewed over and over and I would like them to know that I care about who they are and why they’ve shared what they have with the world.

On Persistence
It took 6 years to get to this place and it was not easy. I was determined but people were telling me that this wouldn’t happen. You question, “Why am I taking my third unpaid internship?” If you really want something, you will find a way to make it work. One of my favorite quotes is by American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss and windows will open where there were only walls.” For me this is true. I want a job that I wake up and love to go to everyday. You do need to get paid. But it’s special that I do love going to work everyday. The short stint where I took a paying job and wasn’t writing was miserable. If there is something you want to do, then you will look at obstacles as small challenges to leap over.

October 21, 2013 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write April Recap
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person
(credit: Wendy Hu)

(credit: Wendy Hu)

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!

 

May 7, 2013 | | (0) comment comment
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YOU SING I WRITE
Music Reviews, Interviews, Concert & Album Reviews
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