Tag Archives: interview

Rob Lawrence Gives Truth On How To Kickass At Interviews

Rob Lawrence

One thing that everyone in the media industry pays attention to is how well an interview is done. Rob Lawrence, host of Inspirational Creatives, is one of the best there is at doing amazing interviews. That’s why I invited him to join me on the DIY Artist Route Podcast to share his wisdom.

What we discovered in our conversation is that it’s important for hosts who interview and guests being interviewed, can both gain clarity on how to have the most kickass interviews.

When the guest and host connect on a deeper level than just a basic Q&A, the audience gets the best experience. Everyone wins.

This is not something I’m seeing a lot of lately, in terms of discussing how to create amazing interviews. Which is why this podcast is a great resource for you because Rob gives some clear insights and very actionable suggestions to help you be a better interviewer or question-asker in any medium.

My Perspective On Great Interviews

My background is in public radio. I cut my teeth in learning the art of doing captivating interviews for KACU FM in Abilene, Tx way back in the early 2000s. My inspirations are folks who have made NPR a standout media platform for decades. I’m talking about radio icons like Scott Simon (one of my personal heroes), Steve Inskeep, David Dye, and Linda Wertheimer.

Those folks really know how to go deeper than the questions to get to the heart of their guests, and ultimately create heart-connections with their listeners.

It’s something that comes from what Rob Lawrence calls “having a natural curiosity.”

This podcast session ended up being something that led to a different kind of production for me: a two-part episode.

Closer Look At Part One

Here in the first part, we take a closer look at how podcasters, radio hosts, bloggers & writers, and other media personalities can create the bedrock for a truly engaging interview.

It’s a How To Be A Great Interviewer 101 lesson, from one of the best podcast interviewers there is.

Rob has a gentle presence, a great voice, and enters discussions with both his mind and his heart. There’s a noticeable kindness in his presentation, which makes him both intriguing, engaging, and easy to talk with.

These qualities make for a conversation that moves both the question-asker, and the answer-giver. Aka, the person hosting and the person being interviewed.

You’ll notice that we switch roles a few times, another mark of a great interview. When an interview feels more like you’re sitting in on an intriguing conversation, everyone wins. Because you feel like you’re joining in a rousing chat that is more than just a “let me pick your brain about XYZ” kind of experience.

If you’ve watched any of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, you see a very similar dynamic. Sure, there’s a bit of comedy and humor involved, but essentially Seinfeld is asking a lot of questions to learn more about his friend. In the process, we all gain both an intellectual and entertaining experience.

What Makes For A Great Interview

When both the mind and the heart are engaged in what’s going on, you find yourself challenged to think differently, and also feel something in the process.

What makes for powerful media, audio in particular, is the presentation of something that connects with the audience’s emotions. That makes for great songwriting and musical performance, as well as any creative medium.

The mind and the heart. Nail the engagement with both of those vessels and you have the makings for a seriously kickass interview.

There’s a whole lot of gold in this podcast episode, and there’s even more in part 2 where we will talk about how to best prepare to be interviewed.

Jumping over to the other side of the microphone, you’ll gain even more perspective on how to craft the best interview to engage both your compatriot (either host or guest) and the audience.

Reach out to Rob and connect with him (email rob@inspirationalcreatives.com). Tell him you heard his talk with me on The DIY Artist Route Podcast. And be sure to subscribe to Inspirational Creatives. It’s one of the best interview podcasts there is. Rob’s also a great coach for podcasters who want to take their work to the next level, build a killer podcast, and gain serious success.

–Episode Notes & Quotes–

-Great interviews require more than just curiosity. Passion is needed as well. Experience helps too. A small amount of research is helpful.

-Preparing for an interview includes finding out about what the guest is curious about right now, and meeting them in that place will really help. Also, making sure that everything is working on the technical end.

-Make sure that the experience is good for the guest so they have the best time and feel a warm welcome.

-Good interview prep for the interviewer includes: Looking up the person’s audience and their site. Dig in deep here.

“I’m more of an explorer than an expert, if you like?” -Rob Lawrence

“A journalistic approach to interviews typically puts the guest on their back foot sometimes. So when it comes to talking about, as we are here, a great interview to build relationships, through a podcast for example, I tend to take a lighter approach. Which is to try and help my guests shine and see them in their best light rather than trying to have them defend the point.” -Rob Lawrence

Takeaways For Your Growth

What was the biggest takeaway you found in this podcast?

Was there anything you wish we would have discussed involving how to be a great interviewer? Let me know in the comments, or contact me and let’s talk more!


Chandler Coyle, The DIY Artist Route And You

Chandler Coyle

Chandler Coyle

The DIY Artist Route has taken on a new life. This time, instead of talking with a musician I decided to get some perspective off the beaten path.

Chandler Coyle is a music industry expert. He has decades of experience in helping musicians in a variety of ways, from website building to marketing. He is a professor in music marketing at Berklee College Of Music Online, and works with his brother Jay at Music Geek Services. They have worked with, or are currently working with, bands such as Veruca Salt, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Said The Whale, Josh Rouse, The Odds, and Rhett Miller. And he has a weekly newsletter that consists of articles about the music industry, tips on how to grow your audience and a whole lot more, curated from across the web. It’s free to signup and I encourage you to do so here. I’m signed up and love getting great insights each week.

Our conversation dives into some waters that pertain to a variety of areas that you as a DIY, unsigned, or indie musician need to know. One is how you communicate effectively with your fan base. Do you have an email list set up? Chandler notes how that can make your music career, identifying an “unknown” artist with 200,000 emails on his list. There are very big name acts who don’t have that. Insights are in this podcast.

What about your connection to your Super-Fans? Did you know that Rush garners all of their work towards their Super-Fans? Seriously. Even though the band has been around forever and is known around the world, they still struggle with getting through the same volume of noise that you or I do. So instead of trying to compete with all the other bands, they just stick to their Super-Fans. Chandler shares insights into that as well.

How about online marketing, like Twitter? He and I shared some very similar perspectives and attitudes towards patterns we’re both seeing from musicians (and marketers) on Twitter that is a detriment to your growth. We’ll talk about that in the podcast.

Here are some great quotes to take away from this episode:

“Twitter should be treated like a conversation 75% of the time and not auto-pitch.”

“Artists can no longer assume anonymous masses of people consuming your music. We’re back to the patron model.”

“One fan at a time is how you do it.”

“An email list is an artist’s IRA. When given the choice, Derek Webb of Noisetrade will choose data over dollars. Dollars go away and you have to get more. But data on your fans is something you can invest in and grow and turn into a renewable resource overtime if you develop a relationship with your fans.”

“What artists do are fascinating to those who can’t. Even for musicians, when a band or musician shows you what they do it’s a peak into something you can’t see. Sell access behind the curtain to your Super-Fan.”

“Fans can be consumers but consumers aren’t always fans.”

Want more of the DIY Artist Route? Good, because it’s becoming a regular feature and could become a podcast series. If you want more of these audio pieces for you to take with you and learn how to take your music to the next level, let me know in the comments below.

William Fitzsimmons, the DIY Artist Route, And You

Don’t you love how an experience can teach you things you didn’t exactly ask for, all in a good way?

I find myself here a lot, but only when I’m conscious of it.

Sometimes that experience is watching a movie, or reading a book, or even having a conversation with someone. In the process of the experience, some incredible wisdom, insight or piece of advice comes forth that makes your day.

williamfitzsimmons-240This happened to me this week in an interview conversation I had with indie singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons. William is a fascinating guy, a songwriter who was first a psychiatrist and therapist before leaving that professional world to pursue music.

It’s an interesting transition, but it does go to show you that you don’t have to have a degree from Berklee College of Music to have success in the music industry.

William hasn’t completely left the field of therapy though, and he admits it. Calling himself a “musical therapist,” that area of his life is also a part of his music and for good reason. Helping people through rocky patches and into greener pastures is what therapists do. It’s also what music does. Shouldn’t the two go together?

Your life is similar. If you’ve worked only in music, that realm has brought its own series of events that have helped shape who you are as a person and as an artist.

If you’ve worked professionally in a different field, and dreamed of being able to pursue only music, that dream is entirely possible. What can you do to see how to make William’s story your own? Listen to the podcast interview and he’ll tell you.

Like I said, sometimes in the midst of a conversation, little pieces of golden wisdom come forth that change everything. That happened in our chat, along with some other really good insights into how family dynamics change how you make music.

What did you get the most from this experience? Reach out and let’s talk about your DIY route and where it is leading you.