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Musings of the Artist features meaningful conversations with all kinds of artists. Musicians, poets, photographers, and other creatives share their honest stories, touching on the duality of being creative - the pure joy of making art - but also the particular struggles that come with it. In speaking about vulnerability, many of these artists remind us that even though people can look like they have it all together on the surface, we all struggle. In each episode, Montse's guests share the c ...
 
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Lidia Yuknavitch is the nationally bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, and Dora: A Headcase, and the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her newest book Verge is a collection of short stories. She also has a TED Talk “The Beauty of Being a Misfit” that has been viewed by millions. She lives in Portland, Orego…
 
Andrew Duhon is a singer-songwriter from New Orleans. In this episode, we chat about the search for belonging, self-acceptance, and finding the profound in the minutia. Andrew also talks about songwriting and art making in a way that is mesmerizing and inspiring. As he says, “No one else is you, no one else can tell your story. It is your human tal…
 
Nadia Owusu is an author and urbanist who grew up between Africa and Europe and now lives in Brooklyn. In the episode Nadia talks about her memoir Aftershocks and the ways growing up between cultures shaped her life. We also chat about claiming, naming, and accepting mental illness as a part of one’s identity, code-switching, and the gifts of memoi…
 
Pam Houston is the author of many books including the memoir, "Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country", "Cowboys are my Weakness" and most recently "Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics, and Place" (with Amy Irvine). Pam is also a fantastic teacher and the co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. In t…
 
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, visual artist, and novelist. We chat about her stunning collection of poetry and photography, "Seeing the Body". Some of the topics we speak on include monumental loss and the grief that follows, memory, languages of sadness, taking action against despair, and pushing away the useless pressure of likability. Rachel…
 
Josh Telles is a Celebrity and Food Photographer based in LA. He has photographed artists like Nicole Kidman, David Lynch, Mary J. Blige, and so many others. In this episode, Josh tells us about his path to becoming the photographer he is today. We chat about vulnerability in photo making, chronic anxiety, telling other people’s stories through pho…
 
Cig Harvey is a photographer and writer based in Maine. She is the author of three sold-out books, and Blue Violet, her new book of photographs, drawings, and writing will be out in May. In this episode, we talk all about books, intuition, her photography process (hooray for “date nights” with photos!), and the importance of noticing in art making.…
 
Mickey Guyton is a powerhouse vocalist and songwriter. In this conversation, we talked about being an introvert in the public eye, preparing for motherhood, mentorship, and The Bachelorette. We also talk about the urgency of leaning into who you are. As a Black woman in Country music —a traditionally white-and male-dominated industry— Mickey tells …
 
Valerie June is a singer, songwriter, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. She also (so wonderfully) describes herself as a “professional dreamer.” In this episode she speaks on finding home on the road and within oneself, her writing practice, manifestation, and how to be a “light worker.” We also chat about being hermit-like, moving through sadness, …
 
Naomi Shihab Nye is a Palestinian-American poet, Young People's Poet Laureate through the Poetry Foundation, and editor of poems for the New York Times Sunday magazine. She has written or edited more than 30 books, most recently Cast Away, The Tiny Journalist, Voices in the Air, and Everything Comes Next. Naomi is full of poignant stories and refre…
 
Dawn Landes is a singer-songwriter and delightful person. In this episode we chat all about art and life. We get into her album ROW about the incredible story of Tori Murden McClure (the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean!), her life as a new-ish mother, our love of memoirs, Patti Smith, and much more. Where to find Dawn: Website Ins…
 
Lissie is an American singer-songwriter. In this episode we talk all about vulnerability. On feeling “oversized” emotions and the creative side of that, trauma (collective and personal), comparative suffering, and the special bonds we can form with animals. She also speaks on her quarantine experience, what it’s like living on a farm in Iowa, on th…
 
Christine Shevchenko is a Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. I spoke with her last month about life as a principal ballerina - and what that looks like during quarantine! I love hearing stories about the moment people recognize the thing that brings them to life - and she shares her moment, when she knew she wanted to be a dancer. Chris…
 
Tara Schuster is an author, playwright, and Comedy Central’s VP of Talent and Development. We chat all about her new book, "Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: and Other Rituals to Fix Your Life from Someone Who has Been There". We talk rock bottoms, re-parenting, becoming your own champion and making new friends as an adult. Tara tells us why “should…
 
Carolyn Forché is a poet, translator, and activist whose work has been translated into over twenty languages. Her books of poetry are Blue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, Gathering the Tribes, and In the Lateness of the World. Her memoir, What You Have Heard Is True, describes her time in El Salvador shortly before and during th…
 
Tina Lifford is an actress, playwright and author. She currently plays Aunt Vi on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network’s show Queen Sugar, and you might also recognize her from her roles on Scandal and Parenthood. She is also known behind the camera as a playwright, and author of The Little Book of Big Lies. As you will find within moments of listening t…
 
Gina Chavez is a bilingual singer-songwriter based in Austin, TX. Singing in both English and Spanish, her record Up.Rooted topped both the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR's All Things Considered. Her Tiny Desk concert made NPR’s top 15 of 2015. In this wide-ranging conversation we talk about her Latin roots, releasing mus…
 
Lily King is the author of five award-winning novels including Euphoria which was named one of the 10 best books of 2014 by The New York Times. Her most recent novel Writers & Lovers was published in March this year, and I LOVED it. In addition to her novels, she has published many stories and essays including a piece for Modern Love (An Empty Hear…
 
Under the name Quiet Creature, illustrator and fine artist Jane Beaird’s work has been featured by Glamour Magazine, Teen Vogue and highlighted by national political organizations, celebrated actors, and prominent advocacy groups including Planned Parenthood and The Women's March. She made the cover art for this podcast, too! She also works in the …
 
Letitia VanSant is a folk singer-songwriter based in Baltimore, MD. She has received many awards and accolades for her songwriting including being named among Paste Magazine’s “10 Country Artists to Watch” in 2020. Her new album Circadian was released last month, and is an honest and powerful reflection on significant themes. In our conversation we…
 
Jessica Ciencin Henriquez is a Colombian-American writer and editor. Her personal essays and narrative journalism have appeared in the New York Times among many other publications. Her essays have also been featured in multiple anthologies, including Oprah's Little Guide to The Big Questions, and she is the author of the forthcoming memoir: If You …
 
Allison (“Alli”) Russell is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters. She is also a mother and describes herself as a “connection seeker.” I recently sat down with Alli in New Orleans, and I was so grateful to spend this hour with her. Alli has an incredibly powerful story. To me, she is a shining e…
 
Krista Tippett is the creator and host of On Being and a New York Times bestselling author. She radiates wisdom and generosity and is one of the wisest voices of our time. In 2014, President Obama awarded Krista the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.” In this conversation, w…
 
Zac Clark is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Nashville. After seven years traveling the world as a member of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Zac is leaving the band and heading out on his own with new music on the way. While co-writing on each Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness record, Zac released two solo records, 2015's "I…
 
Ben Moon is a filmmaker, photographer and author based on the Oregon coast. His beautifully vulnerable memoir "Denali: A Man, a Dog, and the Friendship of a Lifetime" will be released on Penguin Books in January 2020. Ben has inspired countless people with his photography for Patagonia, impactful portrait series, and the short film "Denali". His ne…
 
Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian based in Ireland. He is the author of a number of books including a gorgeous memoir called In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World. Themes of loneliness, belonging, language, and the power of storytelling are laced throughout his work, and we unpack these topics, and much more in this conversation. If yo…
 
E. J. Koh is a poet, author and translator based in Seattle, WA. Her book of poetry is called A Lesser Love, and her memoir The Magical Language of Others is forthcoming this January. I had the pleasure of sitting down with E.J. in her home recently, where we discussed everything from memoir writing, to inter-generational trauma, to her “Love Lette…
 
Alex Hwang is a singer and songwriter for the Los Angeles based band Run River North. In this conversation, we touch on growing up bi-culturally and Alex speaks on learning how to find ways to talk about his Korean culture. He also talks about his faith, how finding a routine in yoga helps him battle anxiety, about his love of reading and getting l…
 
Sam Lamott is the creator of the Hello Humans website and How To Human podcast. If you like this podcast you should definitely check his out as well! He’s had many wonderful guests including Brené Brown, Byron Katie and his mom Anne Lamott. In this conversation, we get deep real fast. I love that Sam speaks so openly and honestly about his story. H…
 
Danya Kukafka is the bestselling author of the novel Girl in Snow and is currently at work on another book. In this episode we talk a lot about writing, and the whole process of publishing a book. We dive into the differences between writing long form fiction vs. non-fiction, what drew her towards fiction in particular, and she shares how her first…
 
Nicholas Petricca is the lead singer of pop-rock band WALK THE MOON and is also an incredibly thoughtful, deep soul as you’ll hear in this episode! In this conversation, we dive deep and talk about art and expression - as he says “we’re either expressing or suppressing”. He speaks on how being a touring musician is like living multiple lives, his g…
 
Jessie McCall is a Portland-based photographer who has brought her camera on the road capturing the tours of some of your favorite musicians, and more recently can be found diving into the mystical world of underwater photography. I’ve been photographed by her a number of times and I can tell you the magic she creates is something wonderfully uniqu…
 
Natalie Stovall is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, from Nashville, TN. She’s also an old friend of mine as we met years ago in college. Natalie has been playing on a stage almost her entire life and made her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 12. She has performed everywhere from the White House to The Oprah Show and more recently was a conte…
 
Holly Miranda is a singer-songwriter who grew up Detroit but left home at 16 to pursue music. We speak on forgiveness, inter-generational friendships, healing through singing, grief, Ibiza, chosen family, moving through feelings of not belonging, stage fright, how to protect yourself from negative energy and more. Holly has an incredibly powerful s…
 
A special episode featuring sneak peeks of the songs on Heather Maloney's upcoming album "Soil In The Sky". Heather speaks openly and honestly about the stories behind these songs. For more info on the album visit heathermaloney.com This episode was produced by Aaron Moring. Theme song by Heather Maloney (!).…
 
Pico Iyer is a travel writer who has been to over 80 countries, the best-selling author of many books, and he has given TED talks that have reached millions. More importantly, he is one of the most genuine, generous, kind-hearted people I have ever come across. I had the honor of sitting down with him recently in Santa Barbara, California. It was o…
 
Melissa Messer is an American realist oil painter based in Seattle, WA. I got a chance to sit down with Melissa in her beautiful studio last week. We were surrounded by her paintings, there was tea, some cat meows in the background... and it was just perfect. We had a wide-ranging conversation and cover a lot of topics dear to my heart - including …
 
Katie Jayne Earl is part of the Los Angeles band The Mowgli’s. She’s also a fierce advocate and does so much good in this world. I’ve been lucky to know Katie for a number of years now and have seen that first hand. This conversation was both fun and deep. Katie speaks on how grieving holds value. On why it’s important to her to use her platform to…
 
Aran Goyoaga is a cookbook author, photographer and creator of Cannelle et Vanille. Everything that Aran touches holds so much beauty – her photos, her food, her words. One of the things that makes Aran so special is her genuine care and honesty. She isn’t afraid to talk about the messy parts of being human, including as she says her “shadow side.”…
 
Jeffrey Martin is an internationally touring singer-songwriter based in Portland, OR. Mick Flannery is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Ireland. These two share a deep appreciation for each other, many similarities, and a tour van occasionally. It was great to sit down with them while they were on tour recently and catch a glimpse into their…
 
Rachel Demy is a music photographer who honed her craft while on the road with various rock bands over 10+ years as a tour manager. She’s from Portland, OR and now based in Seattle. Our wide-ranging conversation takes us everywhere from panic attacks, to the romance (and heartbreak) of friendships, to taking leaps of faith by following your instinc…
 
Peter Mulvey is a folk singer-songwriter and all around wonderful human. He is a deeply curious person who loves poetry, so I already knew we’d be fast friends and have a lot to talk about! We got a chance to sit down together in San Francisco, and we cover a lot of ground during this conversation. He tells us about a time he was living alone in an…
 
In this episode, I’m talking to my good friends Daniel Ellsworth and Beth Mathews. Beth is a graphic designer but also spends her time working on many impactful social justice projects, including The Mom Bag, a non-profit she started to help refugee mothers. Daniel is a musician in the band Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. We touch on so many to…
 
Meera Lee Patel is an illustrator and writer, whose work is focused on mental health and helping people feel more connected to themselves. She is the author of My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown, and two beautiful journals: Made Out of Stars, and Start Where You Are. In this episode, we chat about pushing through fear, and the freedom tha…
 
Emily Katz of Modern Macramé is an artist (in many forms!) based in Portland, OR. This conversation is woven with so many nuggets of wisdom from Emily. She tells us about her beautiful creative story, and I really loved how she calls out that even though on the outside it might look like everything “just happened” and fell into her lap, that while…
 
Griff Goldsmith is a Los Angeles-based musician in the band Dawes. In this episode, we chat about his life as a touring musician, and his love of books and dogs. He shares how introspection and mindfulness help him get through moments of stress or unease. We also talk a lot about the mind-body connection and how being mentally unhealthy can manifes…
 
Misty Boyce is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She is part of the band Lord Huron and has an incredible solo career to boot! Her latest album is called "Get Lost" and touches on the hard stuff in life including tragedy and loss, depression, and what can be the emptiness of fame. In addition to her solo career, Misty has performed an…
 
Sara Forte is the creator of the award winning food blog Sprouted Kitchen, as well as the author of two cookbooks - James Beard nominee Sprouted Kitchen and Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon. She is based in Southern California. I first stumbled onto her blog some years ago and before I even tried any of her recipes I fell in love with her writing, and…
 
Oh Pep! are indie-folk/pop duo Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs. They are from Melbourne, Australia but we were able to catch up in person while they were on tour in the US (with our mutual friend Gregory Alan Isakov) in support of their new album called "I Wasn't Only Thinking About You". We cover a lot of ground in this conversation (with lots o…
 
Eric D. Johnson is a songwriter, musician and producer. He has been in The Shins, Califone, and his current musical project is Fruit Bats. He’s also a really great guy, and I feel lucky to call him a friend! In this episode, Eric gives some solid advice to young artists, and tells us why failing (“hopefully not spectacularly”) can be a really good …
 
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