Since the music-education nonprofit Youth on Record launched the podcast series My Youth on Record two years ago, host Shawn King, drummer for DeVotchKa, and guest hosts have interviewed local artists such as Big Gigantic, Ben Wysocki of the Fray, Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp and touring acts like Tom Morello and Sage Francis.
On previous seasons of the series, which was created by Youth on Record’s staff and a team of musicians, activists and former and current Youth on Record participants, King talked to the guests in Youth on Record’s studio about things like how they fell in love with music, their original impulses to be creative, a funny first song or the first time they performed.
“We had a lot of fun with that, and it was pretty crucial to do it in the studio, because there's something special about bringing people to Youth on Record as well and helping out the youth programs. So that was where it started.”
But when the coronavirus pandemic spread nationwide, Youth on Record's executive director, Jami Duffy, and co-founder and Director of Special Programs Stephen Brackett, talked to King about shifting the focus of the podcast. In late March, the nonprofit put out an open call, asking artists to submit three-to-five-minute stories about how their lives have changed during the pandemic. King says some Youth on Record students were asked to score those stories, which will serve as an audio documentary of these times.
While scoring the pieces, there were some stories King wanted to expand on through interviews. These stories and interviews will be part of My Youth on Record: Interrupted, the new season of the podcast series, which drops on Wednesday, August 12, on all major platforms including Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, iHeart, Google Play and Luminary.
King says My Youth on Record: Interrupted focuses on getting interesting stories out about this historical moment and figuring out what the "new normal" means.
“I think it's pertinent that we're keeping the channel open, especially now, because we think we need to keep documenting all this,” he says. “I've been journaling every day, and I've been talking to people. But with audio and pictures and stuff, we're all alone. We have to make sure that we're telling all these different parts of the story.”
While previous sessions of the podcast series have focused primarily on musicians, guests on My Youth on Record: Interrupted work in various creative fields. They include British singer Amy Fitz Doyley; KTCL DJ Alf Kremer; Brian Corrigan, the artist behind the OhHeckYeah public-art installation; fashion designer and boutique owner Mona Lucero; and singer-songwriter Jenny Lajoye.
Joining King on the new podcast season is JuiceBox of Paradise, a Youth on Record fellowship graduate who will co-host the interviews via Zoom. King says two of the through-lines that came up during the interviews were how music is therapeutic and how some artists felt creatively lost, thinking, “I don't know what to do today. I know I'm supposed to be using this time to be creative, but that's not coming.”
After the death of George Floyd in late May and the protests that followed, King says the podcast swung in a new direction.
“It's imperative that there's more of a shift toward racial justice and dealing with the systematic racism that's coming apart on all sides, and if that does come from artists, all the better,” King says. “And if we do talk about how people are processing that through their own art or how it's not helping their own art or whatever, that's great...but it just felt like as an entity that we needed to release these all together. They’re almost like time stamps.”
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