What inspired you to become a writer?
I guess it’s always been in my blood since I was young. I’ve always had an appreciation for the power of the written word.
At what point did you discover your passion for music and writing would become a career path?
During college I was a DJ at my school’s radio station and also a writer at the school newspaper so it really started then. Mostly through the college radio years is my when I first started getting into interviewing musicians. I had the chance to interview Sarah McLachlan when we were both essentially a couple of kids and Indigo Girls way back when. Then when I moved to Portland in the mid 90s I started writing for a now defunct monthly paper pretty much all about music. I also wrote for a number of years for a national magazine, often about music.
I started writing my weekly Face the Music column 13 years ago and have been fulltime at Maine Today/The Press Herald for a little over six years.
What do you do outside of work that directly impacts your career as a writer?
I go to a lot of shows, from small local ones to huge concerts because that’s one of my absolute favorite things; the live music experience. I also listen to a ton of music all the time. For the past two years or so I’ve been host of the local music show Music from 207 on WCLZ which also keeps me learning about new music in Maine. I also recently launched a music blog called AimselontheRecord.com and am writing about some of my travel experiences including a trip in April to see Brandi Carlile at Ryman Auditorium and a recent trip to Gillette Stadium in MA to see U2. I also follow a lot of my favorite acts on various social media platforms which helps me stay up-to-date with what’s happening. All these things feed into each other. I don’t get enough sleep but most of the time it’s worth it.
What are one challenge and one lesson you've learned throughout your career?
A huge challenge is to cut myself some slack. I’m by far my own worst enemy and it’s an ongoing battle. I doubt myself and my ability to write pretty much daily. One lesson I’ve learned is that there’s no substitution for properly preparing for an interview. I pride myself on being an excellent interviewer and coming up with questions that will make for an interesting read for people.
What's your favorite story you've written?
I’ve been at this for a while so it’s hard to pick but I think one of the best interviews I’ve ever done was with M.I.A. because we really got into things. I had good questions and she was really open about things. Here’s the link:
Also, one of my favorite singers is Paula Cole. I’ve interviewed her a number of times through the years and she’s always so great to talk to; very kind and open. Here’s the most recent story:
If you could write about any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m interpreting this as if I could interview any musician in the world. The answer is David Bowie. Of course that will never happen but he would have been the one. And if I could invent a time machine I would like to visit the 60s and have a chat with Judy Garland.
Can you suggest one "secret" app you love that helps with your writing?
In one word, describe yourself: