Journalist and best-selling author Lizzy Goodman teamed with Audacy’s Cadence13 for her original podcast, “Difficult Artist.” Lizzy invites guests on the show to detail their inspirations, creative processes, and life. She speaks with individuals from many disciplines — musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and journalists — to speak about their backstories and why they create what they make. Previously, Lizzy Goodman wrote Meet Me In the Bathroom, a book about New York City’s music scene in the 2000s. She interviewed key music scenesters from the aughts like The Strokes. By interviewing guests on the podcast, Lizzy hopes we’ll learn new facts about artists we love and be inspired.
Lizzy begins each episode by asking the guest what their creative space looks like and how they start creating. She gets into questions, such as how artists deal with success and failure. Many of the episodes feature advice for creatives, too.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite “Difficult Artist” episodes so far:
For the show’s first episode, Lizzy interviews musician Maggie Rogers. Coincidentally, Maggie helped Lizzy with Meet Me in the Bathroom after replying to an internship posting on New York University’s job network. Maggie worked to transcribe the interviews that would appear in the book. In this episode, Maggie discusses her beginnings, leading up to studying music. When Pharrell visited Maggie’s class at NYU and the students showcased their work, Pharrell was impacted by her song, “Alaska.” A video of this class was posted online and it went viral.
Maggie speaks about her time in school and her experience interning at a fashion magazine. Even though she said it was her goal to work there, she realized it wasn’t her dream. Her passion was always music, but after this internship, she decided she had to ultimately follow her focus of music.
Maggie says that she was part of a songwriting sort of bootcamp during quarantine, where she and other artists had to complete a song every 24 hours. After completion, the songs were compiled and sent around to every artist in the “bootcamp,” and she was super grateful for and challenged by this opportunity.
Lizzy first saw Liz Phair live on the ‘Exile from Guyville tour.’ Liz Phair has had a tremendous history in the music world. Lizzy classifies her as a “disobedient creator,” one who does not conform to indie rock music standards. This episode explores how Liz’s creative process is consistent, starting by drawing as a child then moving on to music as creative expression. Liz is a project-based artist. She still writes in her bedroom with the guitar, and tends to write late at night. Surprisingly, we learn she’ll only pick up the guitar and start writing when she’s sure no one else can hear her. When writing, Liz enters a flow state where she loses herself in the music, comparing it to an out-of-body experience. She says there are voices in her head guiding her to write, and she speaks about her latest release, “Soberish.”
Visual artist Shantell joins Lizzy to discuss her unique approach to drawing, often live with an audience. Shantell approaches art by staring at a blank canvas and starts as soon as she’s inspired. Her signature black-and-white drawing style has been featured in an Adidas collaboration. Recently, Shantell collaborated with the Whitney Museum Shop. In 2019, Shantell created a video art installation at The Oculus World Trade Center. Shantell explains her schooling at Central St. Martins art college in London. They chat about what it’s like to feel like an outcast while growing up. Shantell says that sometimes you must leave home to determine your own identity and carve your own path.
Michelle is a multi-hyphenate creative. She fronts the band Japanese Breakfast, and they recently released their third album, “Jubilee.” Besides songwriting, Michelle directs music videos and writes. Her new memoir, Crying in H Mart, is about grieving her mom’s death. This episode explores Michelle’s relationship with her mom, and how food brought them together. Michelle talks about her 9-5 advertising job when she was still working on creative projects prior to Japanese Breakfast. She speaks about fulfilling her own writing goals, which was 1,000 words/day with drafts of her earlier non-fiction work, which she submitted to magazines.
Ed O’Brien is a founding member of the band, Radiohead. Lizzy and Ed speak about his start in music, attending boarding school as a kid, and the emotional repression he once experienced. Ed recently created his dream studio space in Wales filled with his musical tools. We learn he hasn’t used it much yet. For the creative process on his last record, Ed went to a farm in Wales for 2 weeks. He stuck to a schedule. Each morning, he walked to the top of the mountain, strolled along the river, and enjoyed walking in nature. He read Whitman’s The Leaves of Grass aloud and felt inspired and alive. He likens it to a meditative process, then picks up the guitar, and starts writing. His only rule is not to self-edit as he writes the first iteration. Ed goes into a process of uninterrupted flow and starts with sounds, leaving the lyrics for later. In 2020, Ed made his solo, full-length debut in his record, “Earth.”