It's not that often that a songwriter says that majoring in the humanities was the perfect preparation for being a singer/songwriter. But that's what happened for Pete Yorn. He was a speech communications major at Syracuse University (it's now called "communication and rhetorical studies" there). He had planned on going to law school and figured that a major emphasizing public speaking was good preparation. Yorn was "petrified" of getting in front of a group, so the major helped him work through that fear and become comfortable with public performances.
Yorn's college experience honed his songwriting skills in another way. If you've ever spent any time near Syracuse, one image comes to mind: snow. The area is closing in on 200 inches of snow this winter. I spent four years living in the Syracuse area. The cold and snowy winters there are soul-crushing. But ask Yorn about his time as an undergrad at SU, and he'll tell you that if it weren't for all that snow, he might never have become a songwriter. What others might see as limiting--the fact that you can't really go outside--Yorn saw as the perfect opportunity to stay inside and do some writing. "I credit those winters," he says, "as a catalyst to my songwriting."Read More