Any books with interviews of multiple musicians?
June 28, 2020 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the music equivalent of Judd Appatow's Sick in the Head (interviews with comedians) or Jessica Livingston's Founders at Work (interviews with startup founders) -- a book of compiled interviews with well-known musicians about their personal experiences and professional journey. Preferably present-day female musicians (especially singer/songwriters) as this will be a gift for my 15-year-old niece. Does anything like this exist? Alternative gift recommendations for a multi-talented young musician welcome as well.

She sings, plays keyboard, guitar, and ukulele. I'd prefer to buy her a book or a subscription (a la Off Camera for actor interviews) rather than gear, as a) I don't know for certain what she already has, and b) I get the sense she's still more exploring than committing to a particular musical path yet.

She's more on the shy side, so I'd love to find a gift that not only encourages her interest, but expands her view of all the different ways people find themselves living a creative life.
posted by ElfWord to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I just learned about Paul Zollo’s Songwriters On Songwriting and More Songwriters on Songwriting.
posted by dmo at 10:35 AM on June 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's Angry Women in Rock, but it's too old (unless the kid is seriously into '90s indie music). And Women Who Rock, which is modern, and which I like because of the diversity of genres, styles, etc., but it's not interviews. Rock-and-Roll Woman is modern and rock-focused, but it's also not interviews. In the probably-unlikely event that she likes jazz, Freedom of Expression is a very good book.
posted by box at 11:01 AM on June 28, 2020

I dont know how you would make a gift of any of it, but there is a ton of good info on YouTube and various podcasts. I'm a flutist, so I've come across JustAnotherFlutist as an example. Also the Talking Flutes Podcast, especially the "extra" podcasts of which many are Johm-Paul Wright talking to a flutist, many of whom are women.

Also, if she hasn't found it yet, introduce her to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain which is great fun. Comments made here and there by the members reveal that their success came as a total surprise to everyone involved (but putting 2 + 2 together you can see hard work played a major role).
posted by SemiSalt at 6:00 PM on June 28, 2020

Tape Op magazine has tons of great interviews with musicians.

Only one musician, and not a woman unfortunately, but Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC otherwise fits this bill really well. It's a series of interviews with XTC's Andy Partridge, going into quite some depth about his professional journey, songwriting process, etc. It's very much about the music as well as the personal history.

Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band is great. It's weighted a bit more towards the personal history side and less about the musical process.

I liked Please Kill Me but it barely touches on the musical process, it reads more like a soap opera about who's sleeping with whom and/or taking which drugs. As someone who was already a fan of that scene, it was interesting to hear some of the history, but it's not great for advice or inspiration. (Unless the inspiration is "do everything the opposite of these people"!)
posted by equalpants at 9:04 PM on June 28, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers all. After checking with her mom that she writes some songs as well, I've gone with dmo's suggestion of Songwriters on Songwriting.

For future searchers, A Seat at the Table: Interviews with Women on the Frontline of Music looked like exactly what I'm searching for, but at my present time it's not actually published yet, only available for pre-order.
posted by ElfWord at 7:51 AM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

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