Overnight success… does it actually exist?

Usually it’s anything but. There’s an element of mystique to an artist’s extraordinary talent and on-stage charisma, and who hasn’t fallen for the idea that musicians have been born into a different world to the rest of us, and their musical success is simply pre-destined?! The truth, of course, is far from this. Successful musicians, like successful people in any sphere, are a product of years of hard work and focus. Each success story is punctuated with moments of failure or stagnation.

It’s always a source of inspiration to hear from musicians themselves about the path they have taken to arrive at where they are today. And recently we’ve been lucky to have several excellent podcasts on offer which do just this. These podcasts are hosted by musicians who interview other musicians, and as a result ask all the right questions to draw out the artist’s story. Here’s three of my favourites:

TradCafe host, Neil Pearlman, is someone who knows the trad music world inside out. Growing up in a musical family, Cape Breton and Scottish music and dance has always been part of his life. He’s now one of the leading players and innovators in the tradition. We as listeners get to enjoy not just the interview with the musician of the week, but also an impromptu jam session between him and his guest. He describes the raison d’être of his podcast:

“The goal of TradCafe is to present accomplished and unique musicians… in long form conversations. Paired with live unplanned musical collaborations, these conversations give the listener a window on the artist’s journey and creativity in a way that doesn’t happen in a more polished media interview. Hopefully through their struggles and successes we can glean inspiration and new ideas for our own endeavors, discovering new music along the way… All around the world right now, amazing creative, thoughtful and driven musicians are carrying their musical traditions forward into the new millennium.”

Across the Atlantic, Adam Sutherland, likens his Interesting People podcast to a blether around the kitchen table. This highly acclaimed Scottish fiddler and composer has combined his huge interest in people and their unique stories with his long-term desire to have a radio show to create this very enjoyable podcast. In Adam’s words:

“So, one of my favourite things about my job over the last twenty years as a professional folk musician has been the chance to meet and be inspired by a litany of people. Very often these folk have changed my mind, taught me things, and generally provided me with an opportunity to learn.”

You can never talk about traditional music and leave the Irish out! Boston flute player and composer, Shannon Heaton, has a passion for traditional Irish music. It’s easy to hear; her podcasts are full of energy and enthusiasm. Not surprising when you know a little about Shannon. She co-founded the iconic Boston Celtic Music Festival in 2001, has won numerous awards over the years, and is sought after not just as a performer and teacher, but also as a mentor in the tradition’s social and musical customs.

Shannon invites you to her podcast to

“Meet thoughtful and incredibly charming people in pubs, kitchens, and backstages throughout the U.S., Ireland, and beyond, underscored with toe-tapping and heart-soaring melodies that seem familiar, even if you’ve never heard them before.”

It’s a great way to spend 30 minutes of your day!

So here’s hours of musically inspired listening for you to benefit from. Does success come overnight? Not likely. But one thing we’re all sure of – without musicians the world would be pretty boring!

Do you have more podcast suggestions? Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.