This month marked the first anniversary of my writing “career.” Last April I was asked to write bi-weekly artist profiles for the local newspaper, featuring local artists in all kinds of disciplines. It’s been a delight to work with the paper, who have basically given me free rein to choose who to interview and how to spin the articles. They have even moved ads to fit my longer-winded articles on one page!
What I have enjoyed the most is having the opportunity to speak to a diverse group of artists, to find our commonalities, to support each other and share ideas. My interviews (usually done by phone) almost always end more resembling friendly conversation than question-and-answer sessions. I interviewed songwriter Hugh Spinney last May – I think my favourite interview so far – and in that interview I found my preconceptions being turned on their heads. Instead of talking about venues and concerts, he discussed the creative process, the absorbing, engaging work of creating music. I had gone into the interview thinking all musicians wanted was to perform, and for Spinney that mattered little – he lives to write songs. Spinney wrote me after the article ran thanking me for “getting it” – saying I was the first writer who had. Since then, I have tried to do that with each person that I interview – try to get behind what they do, into why they do it, what they love about it, and I’m always excited and gratified when I hear from an artist that I understood them and captured them accurately. So far no hate mail, anyhow!
You can hear Hugh Spinney’s music on his MySpace page – though I’m not a country music fan, his music reminds me of home – warm, balladic and very easy to listen to.