I was lucky enough to chat with Lawanda Johnson, an interviewer for Limerence Magazine, and a supporter of all independent artists, recently. The 22-year-old is a senior at University of Baltimore, and will be graduating in May with a B.A in English-Creative Writing. After just one year of interviewing and writing about independent musicians, Johnson has released an ebook chronicling the last year in her work with Limerence. If you have any other questions for Lawanda, feel free to leave them in the comments!
1. How did you get started interviewing musicians for Limerence? At first, I was interning for Limerence Magazine and then it turned into permenant position with them. As far as interviewing musicians goes, I applied for the music section because I’ve written album reviews at my previous internship and they thought I would be perfect as the music columnist. It helps that I am very diverse with my music. I listen to everything from Hip Hop, Pop, to Country music. It seems as if everything just came together for me.
2. What has been your favorite interview so far?
I love them all! Every interview is different and every artist is different also. I really enjoy searching for new music and amazing artists. It’s very rewarding, especially when I connect with an artist’s music personally.
3. If you could interview one musician, past or present, who would it be? Oh, that’s a tough question…I would have to say Lauryn Hill. I love her music and her style. Her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a pure classic. I can listen to that album from beginning to end, without skipping songs. Her music connects with me, lyrically and musically.
4. Where are you from and how did that influence your musical tastes? I was born and raised in Baltimore City. So Hip Hop and R&B music was always playing in my house, neighborhoods, and even in traffic during those nice summer days. I guess I would say that Hip Hop and R&B shaped my appreciation for music. Then as I got older, entering high school, I was exposed to Rock, Pop, and Country. Now I feel I am more well-rounded with music.
5. What made you want to focus on independent musicians? Independent musicians just have that hustle about them–that ambition to be heard and to be seen.They are really dedicated to their craft and are serious about what they do. It’s definitely not easy. I can respect that about them. That’s why my focus is on independent musicians. They need an outlet to promote their music. Social media definitely helps and magazines that focuses on indie artists like Limerence Magazine are a plus–a stepping stone in the right direction.
6. Are you a musician yourself? Unfortunately I am not. Does singing in the shower count? I did play the flute in the third grade, if that counts for something.
7. How have you seen the rise of technology affect musicians? From YouTube, Myspace, Reverbnation, Twitter and all of those social networks, indie artists are able to reach the world and promote their music. The Internet is a powerful resource and indie artists are definitely taking an advantage of that. As long as there are blogs or music sites, independent artists will be heard and opportunities will come. If I can find them on these social media networks, an executive producer or CEO of a major company can too. Independent artists are willing to take a risk and that risk will pay off. I guarantee it.
8. Why did you decide to publish an ebook? It was a decision to not only promote Limerence Magazine, but to promote all of the indie artists that I have interviewed. It was a fun idea and something that I can call my own. It is like a journey from an intern interviewing my first artist to where I am now. I am comfortable and confident with interviewing and learning more about indie artists out there.
9. What was the process like? The process was a team effort. The founder put the whole ebook together and our designer did the cover. The interviews that were chosen for the ebook were the favorites of Limerence’s readers. Our readers loved these artists and we decided to include those interviews in the ebook. It’s something that our readers can enjoy on their travels as they read it on their phones, Nooks, or Kindles.
10. How did you choose which interviews to include and which to leave out? The interviews that were chosen were based on what our readers wanted to read. Their responses to the interviews really mattered to me.
11. Are there any interviews in the ebook that readers haven’t seen in Limerence? There is a couple that are in our Kindle issues, that are not on our website.
12. What is your advice to aspiring writers/music bloggers/interviewers? Just have fun with it. This should be your passion. Eat, breathe, and live it, especially with music. Learn all that you can about music and different genres. Research is the key. Writers should always write, day and night. Take chances with your work. Submit at every literary journal or be a contribute writer for online magazines and blogs. Use the Internet as your creative outlet. Let yourself be heard. Have confidence and most importantly always believe in yourself. Every goal or dream is achievable, if you have faith.
13. Anything you would like to add?
Everyone please support Limerence Magazine!
Follow me on Twitter (@Trish_Dreams) to get the latest updates about my music column. Follow us on Twitter (@LimMagazine) and “like” us on Facebook (LimerenceMag). Continue to support indie artists. Go to local shows, or download a really cool song, or shoot them an email showing your appreciation for their music. Lastly, buy and read my ebook: Limerence Magazine Music Interviews.
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