How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
In reality, I always wanted to grow up to be a music journalist, but I never allowed my teenage self to say that out loud because I thought it was too impossible. For my 11th birthday, I was gifted a year-long subscription to Spin Magazine, and that immediately became my Bible. I would read any music magazine I could get my hands on, and I became obsessed with the stories behind music, musical movements and era-defining youth cultures.
I ended up studying journalism at the University of Florida, and while my academic pursuits helped me become a better researcher, writer and ethical journalist, I strongly believe the personal research of my teenage years was as important and influential to my career. That lifelong passion is what makes music journalists experts in our field, and I strongly advise any young or aspiring journalists out there to recognize their inherent expertise and honor it by refusing any non-paid writing gigs. Just don’t do it. You’re worth money, and so am I, and so are all of us. Also, every time you accept a job for free, you’re lowering the rate standard across the industry, so stop doing that.