“Since I can’t play an instrument, this is the next best thing.”- Lenni Rosenblum, a budding music journalist
The road to music journalism
When Lenni Rosenblum was 13 years old, her stepfather received “Entertainment Weekly.” She read it voraciously and became interested in the “entertainment aspect of journalism.”
She started reading “Rolling Stone” and “Paste” as well as subscribing to online music newsletters. She continued reading and listening because she wanted to know a lot about the music scene.
Rosenblum has also always enjoyed going to concerts and music festivals. She said she was exposed to different music genres in her childhood: Motown and oldies from her father, Top 40 hits from her mother, and of course some tunes that expanded her musical taste from her “hippie aunts and uncles.”
Rosenblum’s music writing experience
Rosenblum has worked for ASU’s State Press primarily reviewing albums. She said she recently convinced the Press to feature live music coverage beside the standard album reviews.
She said working for a student newspaper with 66,000 possible readers helped her land band interviews.
She recently started her internship for Up on the Sun, the Phoenix New Times music blog. Rosenblum will be responsible for blogging regular features five days a week. One involves reading other music blogs, summarizing them, and analyzing them. She will also compile a list of the top ten albums in the Valley and “fleshing out” the teasers from each week’s issue.
Tips on interviewing bands
Rosenblum said she is generally familiar with a band before she interviews them. However, if she’s going to talk with a band she hasn’t heard, she usually receives a demo, website link, or press kit. Rosenblum “researches about what they’ve done lately,” including shows, festivals, and other “notable things.”
Rosenblum “interviews as a fan, not a journalist.”
She said she tries to create an atmosphere as if she was simply chatting with them over coffee, asking things she’s curious about and “that I think other people would be interested in too.”
As far as lyrical meaning, she has found herself asking about song title significance. While interviewing Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, Rosenblum asked about “Devil’s Basement,” off their album Pardon Me.
She wondered if it was “a place or a feeling,” Rosenblum said. She discovered Tyler had previously experienced drug addiction, and “it was a mental place for him.”
Rosenblum added her connections with various people in the music industry, through her internships and interviews, are an immense help to land interviews.
Rosenblum said she’s had a mostly positive experience dealing with promoters and band PR reps, but mentioned a certain rep who makes a point of being obstinate.
“He’s not cooperative because he has bigger plans for his artists,” she said. Promoters with no interest usually ignore interview requests. Once in a while, “they’ll send you an email that seems rude, but really isn’t” refusing an interview. Rosenblum obviously doesn’t take the rejection personally.
Her best interview was with Fool’s Gold lead guitarist Lewis Pesacov after their Central Park show on a rainy day.
“He has this way of putting things in words,” especially emotions, Rosenblum said. She added Persacov said “ecstatic bliss” a lot.
An audio clip of the interview.
On the other hand, Rosenblum said Citizen Cope “is a pretty quirky guy” and that “you really have to think on his level.”
“None of his answers were even close to what I expected,” she said.
For instance, Rosenblum asked about the story behind a song. He replied, ”Well, it’s hard to say.” She felt like replying, “Well, you wrote it!”
Lenni Rosenblum (interviewing Matisyahu, above)
Junior, ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Blogging Intern, Phoenix New Times
Music section writer, ASU State Press
Star Death and the White Dwarfs
Young the Giant
Rosenblum intends to make a career in the music industry. She has had internships over the past few summers in music marketing and artist promotion. At Red Light Management, she worked as a promotion intern for O.A.R. She would like to work tour production summer 2011.
If you would love to pursue music journalism like Rosenblum, there are not many options that combine both. One notable exception is Northwestern University’s five-year dual degree program in music and journalism. The Bienn School of Music and the Medill School of Journalism partner to offer the degree.
For those of you wanting to visit the UK, University of Chester offers a three-year program in music journalism as well.
*Photo and audio recording courtesy of Lenni Rosenblum.