Stories about rock stars and career advice highlight the engagement
By Jordan Rowan
As a part of new speaker series, Careers in Writing, Jon Bream spoke at the ARCC campus Monday about his long career in writing. He offered up advice on how to maintain a career in the business while sharing some of his personal stories along the way.
Bream has been a music critic for The Star Tribune for four years. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He has authored four books including his latest, Dylan: Disc by Disc. He also has authored books on Led Zeppelin, Prince, and Neil Diamond. He writes reviews for concerts and albums. He claims to have been to over seven-thousand concerts and to have interviewed over five-thousand artists.
“I’ve interviewed the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Bob Dylan, U2. I’ve interviewed three Beatles, four Rolling Stones, and all of Maroon 5,” said Bream.
Bream spoke to both music students and writing students. He claims that he only plays one instrument and that’s the radio.
“I write for a general publication so I don’t need extensive technical knowledge of music. I no longer know how to read music, but Paul McCartney doesn’t read music so it doesn’t really matter if you can read music to deal with the topic,” said Bream.
Bream stressed always maintaining professionalism at the job. That no matter who you interview, especially rock stars, to treat them like regular people. He also focused on the importance of preparation and not just in writing or interviewing, in everything.
“You need to do your homework, and that’s true of everything you do. If you’re an athlete you need to do your prep, if you’re a musician you need to do your prep, if you’re going to interview a rock star you need to do your prep. Because if you don’t, you’re going to be a fish out of water,” said Bream.
One of the biggest things in any profession is networking and that is no different, if not more important, in the world of writing and music. Networking coincides with persistence which is a major theme throughout Bream’s speech. These two things together create opportunity.
“It’s really kind of weird how these things happen. You sort of make your own breaks. Some of it is being in the right place at the right time and some of it is you’ve got to just keep trying,” said Bream.