Thanks to the Altamont Free Library (and especially Joe!) for inspiring an evening of slave songs and hip-hop and Broadway and rock and roll with the kickoff SongTeller Sessions show. Really fun, thanks to everyone who came out. And Joe: the questions are great, they really forced me to get inside my own head – and some of my fellow songwriting friends, too (I’m looking at you, Victor Johnson!)
My answers are below. But first, here’s the answer to question #6: a one-time performance of “Wait For It,” from a little play you probably never heard of called “Hamilton.”
1. What is a song your parents loved?
“Mary Don’t You Weep” (Traditional/Aretha Franklin)
2. What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Mashup: “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC Back in Black) and “You Can’t Win” (The Wiz)
3. What was the first song you learned to play?
“Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho” (Traditional)
4. What’s the first bad song you wrote?
“Spirits” (Basically a ripoff of “Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho”.)
5. What’s the first good song you wrote?
“Six” (It’s not necessarily good, but fun, and more importantly, it’s the first song of mine I saw someone else cover.)
6. If you could have written any song, what would it be?
“Wait for It” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton)… But also: “Ballad of Dorthy Parker” (Prince) and “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow” (Joni Mitchell).
7. What song do you love that other people seem to dislike?
“Ultralight Beam” (Kanye West)
8. What’s a traditional/folk/children’s/church song that you like?
“Starfish and Coffee” (Prince)
9. What’s a song that reminds you of home?
“Golden Years” (David Bowie) Me and my brothers fighting over a greatest hits cassette back in the day.
10. What song of yours would you like to be remembered by?
Cheers, and thanks again.
(And yes, Prince really was on the Muppet Show. And it was amazing.)