It's nothing but interviews with songwriters and the occasional poet across a variety of genres, emphasizing indie, alt-country, singer-songwriter, and Americana music (and some metal for good measure). I explore the songwriting process from beginning to end, from inspiration to revision.
My name is Ben Opipari. I started the site in 2010 because I was tired of reading interviews with songwriters that addressed the same topics: What’s it like to work with [insert artist]? What’s your favorite city to play? Tell me a crazy tour story. How did you get your band name? Who are your influences? I wanted a site that treated songwriters the same way we treat writers of any other genre like poetry, essays, or fiction: as writers, plain and simple.
My interest in songwriting comes from a love of words. I have a PhD in English Language and Literature. Besides my regular job here in Washington DC, I am a freelance writer, contributing primarily to the music sections and health sections of the Washington Post. For a list of my recent publications, click here.
I've been around music all of my life. My father was a drummer in a band. I attended my first concert in 1973 when I was four: Loggins and Messina, with Jim Croce opening, at Pine Knob outside Detroit. I used to work in radio. I learned to read by asking my father to transcribe the lyrics to early Eagles, Traffic, and Chicago albums; I listened to them, the handwritten lyric sheet in front of me, with giant white headphones while the albums spun. I heard all those metaphors, like And they said you were gonna put me on the shelf, from "Already Gone" by the Eagles. It took me a while to figure that one out: I couldn't understand why anyone would put someone in a kitchen cabinet. And as fate would have it, I ended up interviewing the man who wrote that song.
I get requests and pitches daily for the site. With four young kids and a job that has me traveling over 100 nights a year, I have to be selective. Over time, the site has become a resource for songwriters, both amateur and professional. It's no longer a site for discovering new artists; instead, it showcases the songwriting process of established songwriters so that others can learn. That's the first criterion. The second is that it has to be someone I like, because it's a pretty awesome thrill to talk to the person who created a piece of art that has moved me so much. Sometimes, though, I interview people that I don't really listen to but that have a backstory or a process so compelling that I want to learn more about it.