Steve Baltin is an author and journalist with bylines in Rolling Stone, The L.A. Times, and many more. He’s also the host of the podcast My Turning Point. His new book is Anthems We Love: 29 Iconic Artists on the Songs that Shaped Our Lives.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I would say there have been three key steps in my career. The first was when I transferred from CSU Northridge to NYU. At NYU I started writing for the school paper and interned for the Village Voice. With the foolish bravado of youth called the Voice and said I wanted to intern there. They said, “Who cares? Who are you?” But I still somehow got the internship and was editing the great Nat Hentoff column. Then moved back to L.A., where I was working in music publicity and started telling editors I was pitching that I also wrote. Got a few free national gigs. That led eventually to the second big step.
Moved to Philadelphia to be an editor at CDNow, where many of the biggest and best writers—including Greg Kot, Tom Moon, and more wrote for me. After two years CDNow merged with another company, N2K. Let’s just say the personalities did not fit. So one day I was assigned a Sinead O’Connor interview for Request magazine. The new boss from N2K said we should film it. I pointed out we couldn’t since it was Request‘s interview. He said, “If CDNow isn’t your priority, we have a problem.” I agreed and quit on the phone call. That led to step three. I started freelancing for many of the people who had written for me. I was doing columns for both the L.A. Times and Rolling Stone, and the rest is history.