NPR’s Boilen: ‘Your Song Changed My Life’


For Bob Boilen, he says the many musicians he interviews can grow tired of talking about their own work. The creator of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and All Songs Considered has complied 35 of the best stories with artists on what song inspired them, and helped make them who they are today.

Boilen says freqently on the program, he holds guest DJ shows, in which musicians were asked to perfom the music they loved. 

"I always found more excitement in their voices when they did those shows than when they talked about their own music," he said.  "You'd actually wind up in the same place as a journalist, a music writer, or whatever, where you'd learn all you want to learn about the artists, but you would learn it through their love of other people's music, instead of their own. They were kind of getting board of asking the same questions anyway."

Boilen says artists often open up when talking about the songs that steered them on the right career path. Those songs, for Boilen, came from the Beatles - specifically, the album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’

"The part that got interesting, once I discovered the song and learned a little more about them, was to make a connection between the song and the artist," he said.  "It's when those two things were interesting, that's when the story got good."

Talking with Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert, Boilen talks about his interviews with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Australian guitarist and singer Courtney Barnett, violinist Regina Carter, and roots rock singer Sturgill Simpson.

Boilen promises more of the artists profiled in the coming weeks on All Things Considered.

Boilen will be in Chicago next month with violinist Gaelynn Lea, this year's winner of the NPR Concert Contest. The event, which includes a conversation with the audience called 'Songs We Love, is at the Laugunitas Brewing Company on Tuesday, May 3.

Story source: WILL