Artists in Conversation:

Judy Natal

Artist Residencies: The Permeable Edges and Moveable Walls of Your Art Practice

Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programs provide unique opportunities for artists to expand their creative practice and broaden their professional networks in ways unimagined while sitting in a studio. And that’s the point: to shake up perspectives and disrupt work habits in pursuit of new inspirations and influences.

Jeff Bouthiette

Perpetual Play: How pursuing more than one avenue became my "thing."

“You’re a talented guy, but if you want to write theater music, you need to focus. I don’t know what’s going on with this whole ‘acting thing,’ but you can’t get distracted by that.” My mentor sipped from his cardboard coffee cup, pursing his lips as he considered how to get his point across without being mean.

Lisa Canning, The Institute for Arts Enterpreneurship

The Artist as Innovator: From “Starving” to Entrepreneurial by Thinking Outside the Box

I am a classical musician: a clarinetist. I’m also a writer, an actress, a visual designer, and an almost 30-year serial arts entrepreneur. If you Google my name or go to any of my websites, it might appear to you that I am more of a business owner than an artist.

Lawrence Peters

Making Honest Work is a Socially Radical Act

As a songwriter, musician, and bandleader, I always feel a pull between being a responsible adult—washing dishes, answering emails, following up on shows, brushing my teeth—and wanting to burrow into those dark and difficult places where the best songs live. 
I enjoy much of the administrative stuff of being a musician, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but the necessities of self-promotion and daily living constantly get in the way of my creativity, which can be frustrating.

Eric Miranda

From Flight Attendant to Singer with a Soaring Career

studying French and music as an undergraduate, I became disillusioned with the
career path I was being encouraged to take Music Education. I knew I
wanted to perform, not teach, and I also wanted to see Europe.

Susan Heiserman, PianoForte Foundation

Standing Out as a New, Small Non-profit Music Organization

It’s probably a cliché to say that I didn’t choose music, it chose me.  But it’s true. Throughout most of my formative years, I planned to go into science or medicine. In fact, my high school class even voted me “Most Likely to Discover a Cure for Cancer.”

Rob Miller, Bloodshot Records

So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star - Then Listen Now To What I Say

Since you've asked me, the owner of the lowly but scrappy Bloodshot Records what we look for in a new artist, and not David Geffen or the CEO-of-the-month at DynaMusic

Michael Zerang

Describe your career in sound and performance work in Chicago and internationally

An Interview with CAR Dance Researcher Rachel Thorne Germond

I have been working a lot internationally for the past 10-15 years. But before that I was a Chicago artist working mostly in Chicago and in the United States. I mean, it took a while to get to the level where I can travel as much as I do. I have been doing this now for 33 years. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, all of this traveling I have been doing.

Seth Boustead, Accessible Contemporary Music

What advice do you have for starting a non-profit?

For someone wanting to start a non-profit, the first step would be to make sure there is a need for your services and that someone else is not already doing it, or at least not already doing it in the same geographical area.

Richard Moskal

Profile: Chicago Film Office

Rich Moskal of DCASE Surveys the Field

Chicago filmmaking has seen windfall years before and, unfortunately, they’re often followed by crippling drought.

Paul Natkin

What are the most common challenges musicians face in the music business in Chicago? What advice do you offer them?

The challenges are too many to list here but the most critical are:

1.) Building an audience
2.) Getting gigs

Chris Clemente

Endorsement Deals: Who gets them? How?

I think getting an endorsement
deal really comes down to a musician’s visibility through either live gigs
and/or recordings. Of course, the musician has to come up with the goods, so to
speak. Do they have to be virtuosos? No, but of a higher caliber. Some mediocre
players sneak past the radar but virtually all these musicians are likely in
high visibility situations.

Lucia Mauro, Arts Writer and Critic

How did you develop your niche as an Arts Writer and Dance Critic?

Like many aspiring dancers, one of my earliest inspirations came in the form of the unapologetically melodramatic 1948 film,The Red Shoes, featuring Moira Shearer as art- and love-torn ballerina, Victoria Page. When asked why she dances, Shearer’s character famously responds, “Why do you want to live?” I became captivated by the movie’s strange and glamorous universe, complete with a Svengali-esque ballet impresario, Leonide Massine’s wild-eyed turn as a sinister cobbler in the fantasy-ballet sequence, and sweeping views of the French Riviera.

Robby Zar

How do you cope with multiple roles as artist and professional? Answer: You are not your job.

*Click here for a recent performance

is April Fool’s Day, 2008. I am standing in the living room of my grandmother’s
house as mourners attempt to make light of a difficult day with conversation. A
stranger approaches me and, although I try to avoid eye contact, manages to
appoint himself at my side. He says to me, “What do you do?”

Nicholas Barron

What makes a successful music career?

My idea of success has changed significantly over the 24 years that I've been making my living through music. I felt successful when I was 21 years old and playing in the Chicago subway. It was there, and on the Chicago streets in the bitter months of winter, where I learned to sing blues and soul music, both in solo and ensemble settings. Making enough money to buy dinner and have a delicious beer or two felt like success.

Anne Harris

What makes a successful music career?

I feel that success, in its broadest terms, means to be engaged in work that feeds the soul and nourishes the spirit. I began my professional music career playing in a popular Chicago cover band for several years. This opportunity afforded me the luxury of being able to support myself solely through my art. It was during this time that I began songwriting with the intention of someday starting my own project.

Joe Shanahan, owner of Metro and Double Door

When booking bands at Metro, how do you balance artistic and commercial concerns and also your own taste vs. representing the local/national scene accurately?

In this illuminating interview Joe Shanahan, owner of Metro/Smart Bar and Double Door, offers his views on Chicago's vibrant music scene, what makes it tick, and what young bands and artists can do to get a foothold.

Kara Kesselring

Beyond paying the bills, what makes a successful music career?

Many people have different definitions of what makes a successful music career. One obvious answer is whether one can sustain themselves financially on their earnings as a musician. When I moved to Chicago in 1995 after completing a classical voice degree from the University of Iowa, I gave myself a three year deadline: If I couldn’t make a living as a musician, then it wasn’t meant to be and I’d try something else.

Laura Doherty

What job has been the most useful to your music career, and how did you get it?

I started to mold my life around music when I discovered the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, which has definitely been useful to my music career. Music was initially a hobby for me, but it's always been a life-long passion. I picked up the guitar at age 16 and never put it down. After college, I moved to Chicago in 1992 and began playing in coffeehouses singing covers and a few original tunes.