So Tuesday, I hit another tiny milestone and learned something about myself too. The Milestone: My first in person interview for JFH. The Lesson: It isn’t as scary and is way more fun than I thought it would be.

It’s all kind of random and proves yet again that my job is awesome. (Like, my non-writing job that pays me money. :)) Earlier in the week, I got an e-mail from John asking if I wanted to do an interview with Meredith Andrews. Via e-mail, like the others I’d done, which is awkward in its own way, but not quite so much as a phone call.

But sure enough, something better works out. She was going to be in town, visiting the station where I work, and I had an opportunity to talk to her in person!

Cue the freak out. I mean, it’s not the idea of interviewing an “artist” or anything. I’m pretty much okay with that and have seen plenty of music people wander through the building. No, my freak outs are more mundane. Will I be able to carry a conversation? Will my questions be dumb? Will the batteries die in my recorder or I’ll run out of disk space or I’ll drop it on the pavement and watch it fly apart on my way out? (most of my worries are tech-oriented, come to think of it. It’s the RTV Production major in me.)

Anyway, my friend Music Guy Jeff came up with the idea for me to come early and talk to her after the morning show. The one factor I didn’t count on was her on air segment being pushed an hour early and missing her as I came in. D’oh.

So Plan B? Crash the Music Guy’s lunch. Heck yeah. (Technically, he invited me, so it wasn’t a crash. But it’s more fun to say I crashed.)

So we had this big party at Bubbalou’s BBQ with Jeff and his family, Meredith and her husband Jacob, and Kenny Rodgers (not that Kenny Rogers) from Word Records. We packed into a booth and ate and chatted, and I had my first fried pickle experience (note: interesting, not amazing, but not gross). At one point, Kenny discovered her new album was the #1 Christian album on iTunes, and at another point she said “I feel like it’s my birthday!” And being release day for a new project, I guess in a way it was.

Then Meredith and I abandoned the party for another booth and talked about her new music, writing, India and Haiti, and the virtues of Imogen Heap and Hamburger Helper.

It was great. And like most of my worries, they were all unfounded. She was very sweet and down to earth, very open and talkative and laid back. I think it was halfway through, when the question sheet became extra prompts and we could just, y’know, have a conversation that I realized I could get used to this sort of thing.

Because the thing about interviewing is that it’s not just about questions and answers. It’s a conversation, finding connections you didn’t know were there with someone you may have never met. And it’s the one sort of writing where I just toss some ideas onto a sheet and shut up. Let the other person tell the story. Get out of my head for a while. As much as I enjoy reviewing music, it’s nice to take off the critic hat and get to know the people behind it for a while. And the longer I work in this side of music, the more I find those people to be fascinating, beautiful, and so very kind. Just having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people makes it all worthwhile.

I hope you’ll get to read our conversation soon. I do have 25 minutes of audio to transcribe, so that will be a project. But then again, I suppose that’s where the actual hard work is. :)

* Photo stolen from Jeff’s photo blog. He has a far-less-rambly post about hanging out with Meredith Andrews.

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