Philip Watson is a prolific feature writer on a broad range of subjects for numerous UK and Irish newspapers and magazines, including GQ, where he was formerly deputy editor, and Esquire, where he was editor-at-large. As a music writer his work has appeared in the Sunday Times, Telegraph Magazine, Irish Times, Irish Examiner, and The Wire. His first book, the biography Bill Frisell, Beautiful Dreamer: The Guitarist Who Changed the Sound of American Music, comes out in the US this week. (You can get it in the UK here.)
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
My journalism career began in earnest at the end of the 1980s, after I gained a distinction on the postgraduate journalism course at the University of Wales, Cardiff. Around that time I was mostly writing about music, particularly for The Wire—for a number of years I was “custodian” of the magazine’s blindfold test, titled “Invisible Jukebox”, interviewing musicians as varied as Paul Weller, Ali Farka Touré, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Jack Bruce and Leon Redbone.
In the 1990s and early 2000s I focused on writing, commissioning and editing more general-interest magazine features, for the British editions of GQ, where I held a number of positions, including deputy editor, and Esquire, where I was editor-at-large.