Entrepreneurial Musician Interview

I was recently interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, The Entrepreneurial Musician! I've actually blogged about this show before, because I think it's an amazing resource for professional musicians trying to make a living in the current world.

My conversation with the host, Andrew Hitz, was quite honest, so I wanted to share the episode with you. I've done lots of interviews before, but this one struck me as a really great one, because the host has a knack for sussing out the right questions, getting to the heart of each issue, and highlighting important points.

TEM122: Chrysanthe Tan on Being Yourself as an Artist, Killing It on Patreon and Tips for Better Time Management


Here's a smattering of things we covered:

  • Being yourself, for better or for worse
  • The three traditional paths for classical musicians (and why they weren't for me)
  • How I got my first gig
  • Being a perpetual college dropout (and return-er)
  • Patreon vulnerability and lessons
  • My obsession with career/business coaches
  • Time management tips


Show notes

Trends, Video Games, and Fandoms - September Podcast Picks

Happy International Podcast Day! As someone who's obsessed with podcasts, I'm surprised I haven't done more podcast posts. As someone also obsessed with reviewing things (and generally having opinions), I'm doubly shocked I haven't done more podcast reviews. I figure it's because I listen to so many damn podcasts so damn often that it's hard to keep track of them. Luckily, I remember some of this month's highlights, so I'm going to share my recent episode picks below. No particular order.


1) If you want something fun, surprising, and short.

99% Invisible #229: The Trend Forecast
Length: 17:41
Listen from their website 
Subscribe on iTunes 

This episode introduces Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), the company that predicts fashion trends. Turns out, WGSN is the secret weapon of the mass market. Pretty much every retailer, news outlet, and marketer relies on this company's trend predictions in order to stay current. All of this is incredibly fascinating. And it's not just about clothing, shoes, and hair trends; it's also food, behavior, technology, packaging trends, and more. Statistics and complex future projections play a major role in style prediction. This episode is a stimulating brain massage.


2) If you're a member of any fandom and have feelings. 

Full of Sith: Fixing Fandom - Ending Bullying and Gatekeeping
Length: 59:44
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

As almost any fan of anything knows, fandoms can be intense. What starts as a mutual love for a book or movie often becomes a pissing contest dead set on weeding out those with unpopular opinions, gaps in their knowledge, or newer points of entry. This episode is technically on a Star Wars podcast, but it's actually a very general discussion with panelists spanning different nerd worlds and perspectives. A lot of interesting points are raised here, including why gatekeeping may exist and be "important" for some people in the first place.


3) If you want riveting, well-reported, really fucking important.

This American Life #562: The Problem We All Live With
Length: 58:43
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

This one is about desegregation in schools (yes, in modern times). While all of the other podcasts mentioned in this post are fascinating, delightful, stimulating, educational, THIS one is like...super super important AND interesting. And it's not boring either, which I know is sometimes the danger when sitting down to specifically consume "something important." But I promise this isn't like that. You won't sit through it and think "I'm being a good citizen by listening to this" You will be riveted. And infuriated. I wish more people knew about these stories. Content warning: There are some intense, verbal moments of anti-black racism from parents at the recorded school district meeting. 


4) If you like playing games on your phone and/or if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or addiction.

Note to Self: The Secret to Making Video Games Good For You
Length: 26:29
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

When people talk about technology, I'm used to hearing skepticism, fear, and dismay. And negative conversation surrounding video games has been around since even before smartphones. As an unabashed technology lover, I always love a good discussion about the positive byproducts of tech, and this episode definitely provides that, complete with concrete research and tips on how can use games as a way of self-help and mood regulation. Lots of great points here, and a truly delightful listen, so I hope even the stodgiest of technophobes give it a try!


5) If you're an artist/musician who could use a quick pep talk.

The Entrepreneurial Musician #63: TEM Short: The Number One Trap For Artists
Length: 11:50
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

Be yourself. Don't listen to the haters. Don't send yourself into a spiral of self-judgment based on a couple less than perfect reviews. Just do you. I know this isn't new advice to anyone, but host Andrew Hitz does a good job quickly demonstrating how silly these vicious traps are and encouraging us artists to continue trucking on. Worked for me.

"Sleep With Me"

After keeping mum for ages, I finally have to declare my peculiar yet persistent love for the Sleep With Me podcast. Does anyone else listen to this show? Despite being a listener for months, to this day I have no idea what it's about.

Seriously, it is such an effective sleep aid that I cannot vouch for the actual content. 

I'm inclined to say that Sleep With Me is actually a fine specimen of performance art. Again, I have no idea what the stories are really about, but damn, I feel like it's brilliant all the same. The podcast, written (by Drew Ackerman) and performed (by Dearest Scooter), features a narrator who tells stories in a dreamlike, semi-conscious state -- he'll start one topic, trail off, slur his speech, takes random turns into streams of consciousness, morph into other topics, change his addressee, break out into an imaginary conversation, and does it all in an even-paced monotone that sounds like someone on the verge of, well, sleep. It's like an audio representation of how my own brain wanders and loses focus when my consciousness is slipping. Just...go check it out for yourself.

This podcast has caused me to really think: What makes people relax or fall asleep in the first place? It seems that sleep invades us when we least welcome it (in class, during meetings, while driving, while trying to focus on a book or meditation) but eludes us when we really desire it. What does it mean that this podcast is not only entertaining (supposedly) but also functional? Is it art or a tonic? Both? Can art be functional, or created with the primary purpose of functionality?

As someone who frequently writes lullabies (and considers them primarily a form of entertainment and enjoyment), I think of these questions often. I used to be slightly offended when people told me they used my music to help them fall asleep, because I assumed that meant my music was boring. However, I have since embraced that feedback as a new kind of gift. Doing something that helps people fall asleep is by no means a bad thing, and I love to imagine that things like music and stories can be enjoyed at specific times to help transport a listener into another magical realm.

I've digressed, but I'm sure I'll be sharing more thoughts on sleep in future posts.

What do you think of this podcast? Have you listened to it before? Curious to try? What else helps you fall asleep? Seriously, let me know.

PS: Like so many artists and creators today (myself included!), Sleep With Me has a Patreon page, so if you love their show, do consider contributing to their page for as little as a dollar a month.

PPS: I'm at jury duty today, so I will not be listening to the Sleep With Me podcast...

Chrysanthe's independent work is supported by her contributors on Patreon. For exclusive content, mp3s, sheet music, live streams, and more, please consider supporting her at $1/month!