Writing and Recording

“Let Me Be Great (feat. Angélique Kidjo)” Sampa the Great is a songwriter, rapper, and singer from Zambia. She was based in Australia for years, but came back to Zambia in 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit. Wen she couldn’t travel, she decided to make her next album there in Lusaka. The album is called […]

“Mona Lisa”  Maia from mxmtoon released her first EP in 2018. She was 18 and recorded it in her bedroom, and self-released it. It went on to be streamed over 100 million times. This year, she put out her second album, Rising. And in this episode, she breaks down her song “Mona Lisa.” She […]

“Selfish Soul”  Sudan Archives is a singer, songwriter, producer, and violinist. She grew up in Cincinnati before moving to LA. Her music has been called “viscerally gorgeous” by The Guardian, and “stunning” by Pitchfork, who gave her in ‘Best New Music.’ This year, she’s releasing her second album, and one of the tracks on […]

“Move”  Kae Tempest is a songwriter, rapper, an award-winning poet, and best-selling novelist. They’ve been nominated for the UK’s Mercury Prize and Brit Award. Their most recent album is The Line is a Curve, which came out earlier this year. It was executive produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin. Kae made the album alongside […]

“Hung Up”  Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time. She has 12 albums that have gone multi-platinum. She’s won seven Grammys, and has had fifty songs reach number 1 on the Billboard Dance chart. That’s more number 1s than anyone in any category, ever. In this episode, she talks about one […]

“Viva Las Vengeance”  Panic! at the Disco is the Grammy-nominated project of Brendon Urie, who originally started it as a band with his high school friends from Las Vegas in 2004. In the eighteen years since, Panic! At the Disco has won American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music awards, and more. […]

“Let Us Die”  King Princess is the project of Mikaela Straus, a singer, songwriter, and producer from Brooklyn. She’s a platinum-selling artist, and she put out her second album in July, 2022. The last track on the album is the song “Let Us Die.” Rolling Stone called it “the banger of the year.” In […]

“Ushers of the New World”  Santigold is a singer, songwriter, and producer. She’s put out 4 albums since 2008, and she’s been featured as a collaborator on songs with Jay-Z, Beastie Boys, Diplo, and more. In this episode, Santi takes apart her song “Ushers of the New World,” from her 2022 album Spirituals.  She […]

“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” In 2002, Sam Beam’s first album as Iron & Wine was released on Sub Pop Records. He’d given them a bunch of demos, and rather than have him re-record these songs, they released the demos themselves. Since then, he’s put out five more full-length albums and been nominated for multiple Grammys. […]

“Never Forget” Omah Lay is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer. He’s one of the young stars of Afrobeats, the West African genre that’s become a global phenomenon. His new album Boy Alone features a collaboration with Justin Bieber. But for this episode, Omah talked to me about the song “Never Forget.”  Boy Alone was […]


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