My writing career began in earnest when I lucked into a job writing and editing the music section of a local alt-weekly. I emphasize my good fortunes because opportunities to go to concerts and interview rock stars while getting paid for it isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence. That I didn’t feel like my skills were up to the task as the time is putting it lightly. More accurately, I had no idea what I was doing.
Six years and more than 1,500 bylines later, and I realize that there’s always room for improvement. That figure is no embellishment. It’s nearly impossible to distill my best work into such a small space, but I do have my favorites.
First, this story of Doc Watson and his legacy one year after his passing could have easily been 10 times longer. I interviewed dozens of people within his sphere of influence, including Sam Bush, both Avett Brothers, and his luthier. The cherry on top, however, was when John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gave me a set of extremely rare photos of Doc and the band from their short studio time together making one of folk’s greatest records.
Next is a story on the ascendance of Rhiannon Giddens from frontwoman of the Carolina Chocolate Drops to a peerless solo artist, followed by some of my favorite pieces of capsule writing.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with photographers, videographers, and designers of extraordinary talent in rare circumstances, and that has demanded content strategy and messaging that serves their creations to the highest degree.
First, an assortment of posts utilizing images I selected from batches of hundreds, paired with messages I created to (1) drive sales and (2 and 3) create a narrative of a multi-day event in real time.
I specialize in high-leverage social campaigns, most notably those built around event and demo livestreams. For Moogfest’s 2017 AlwaysON event in which they livestreamed 50 consecutive hours of performances by female, nonbinary, and transgendered artists, I managed pushes across the three major social platforms while also moderating the comments section of the YouTube and Reddit streams.
More recently, my social media ad buys and posting strategy helped Moogfest’s 2018 livestreams (of which three are referenced below) reach an estimated 12 million viewers.
As the content lead for LIMU’s rebranding of their LEAN Meal Replacement Shakes, I envisioned an on-the-go alternative to the conventional bulky protein shake canister. The idea was a winner, and the new package eventually helped them completely phase out the large, bulk pouches that were previously used with boxes of individual servings.
One day, a company decided to hand me the keys to the entirety of their email marketing operations. It wasn’t because I was some database wiz with arcane Excel skills. It was out of sheer necessity and and the implicit trust that I’d get the job done.
A short time and several levels of IBM Marketing Cloud Expert badges later, and I was created highly segmented, fully automated email campaigns to drive web traffic, product sales, and social engagement.
Since, I’ve worked with email management programs of decidedly lower degrees of difficulty (Mailchimp, Constant Contact) and third-party providers (Bandsintown) while surpassing benchmarks with all.
I could talk about some of the websites for which I’ve written the entirety of their content, or I could just link you.
My years as an alt-weekly music editor was not without its perks. Among them was nearly carte blanche access to photo pits at festivals, stadium shows, and clubs. I spent nearly half a million shutter clicks capturing legendary (or soon-to-be legendary) artists in difficult shooting conditions, with little available light and strict time limits to capture that one moment that told the story in ways my words couldn’t.
Toro y Moi
The immortal Bobby Womack in his last performance. He’d pass just two weeks later.
Cedric Burnside, in one of my personal favorites, and a feature in Performer Mag’s “Best Concert Photography of 2015” issue. The lighting was poor, and I never use flash, but a slowed-down shutter and a steady hand froze him in a moment of pure primal ferocity.
While I was living in Orlando, the band Sleep played a benefit for the families of the Pulse shooting victims a month after the incident. I donated a large canvas of this capture to be auctioned, which ended up selling for more than $400.