Videos by American Songwriter
On her Apple Music show, The Kelleigh Bannen Show, Bannen gives her audience an inside peek at the music industry by chatting with music’s superstars and stars on the rise. Bannen also hosts Apple Music’s radio show “Today’s Country” and maintains an impressive country music career. Her numerous projects let Bannen keep a steady finger on the pulse of the music world. Recently, Kuhn decided to flip the hosting script and interview Bannen for her journey through the music industry.
Kuhn kicks off the episode by asking Bannen how she prepares to give artist interviews. “I think step one is always the music… minimum I’ve got to go all the way through the music multiple times,” Bannen said.
Bannen then divulged that she occasionally hires journalists for her high-profile interviews. These professionals help her dig deeper into an artist’s portfolio (she hired one for her interview with Alan Jackson who has 18 total studio albums!). Despite diving into her interview prep with rigorous energy, Bannen clarifies that she isn’t looking for salacious gossip or to sensationalize a story.
“My job is to give people a place to contextualize their music and their musical story,” Bannen told Kuhn. “That’s not always what’s going on with their divorce or a cheating scandal or a DUI or something. So, the hardest thing is… maybe there’s a meaningful musical question that is somewhere in that newsie thing, but knowing how to come at it in a way that’s really respectful and still really about the music.”
Bannen’s honed respect for artists seemingly stems from her own musician’s background. In the podcast, Bannen shared a personal story with Kuhn about how she began her career as a touring artist: “Okay, here’s the story. So I lost two siblings to addiction — one older, one younger. My younger brother, Grant, he passed away in 2008 and out of that time I was just honestly trying to figure out, ‘How do I mark this anniversary?’”
Bannen continued, “I was like, ‘What if I did some sort of tour or play?’ you know? And then it just hit me. Like when people are entering recovery, they go to 90 meetings in 90 days. And so, I was like, ‘What if I could play 90 shows in 90 days, in those first three months of the year and it would cover the anniversary?’”
Thus, out of grief and inescapable love, Bannen booked venues herself as she went on her 90 Gigs in 90 Days Tour. From there, Bannen has released five albums to date.
Listen to the rest of the episode here to uncover more inspiring stories and interview tips (including how to get interview guests to loosen up!). Additionally, Bannen is interviewing Kelsea Ballerini this Friday (6/11) on her show “Today’s Country.” Check it out here.