A People’s History of American Songwriter: Emily Maxwell


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Emily Maxwell: Intern (2013-2014); Writer/editorial assistant (2014-Present)

When I think about the start of my career in journalism, one thing will always come to mind: a frenzied call to my mother from the patio of Chipotle on my very first day as an intern at American Songwriter. I had gone in that morning expecting to spend my day learning the ropes, editing copy, maybe answering a few phone calls. But within my first hour at the office, Evan asked me to write up an album premiere, and I, a fresh-faced, totally inexperienced college kid, had no clue what to do. Like any panicked 19-year-old would, I called Mom in hopes that she might be able to pacify my fears that I was going to be let go before my internship had even really started.

One year, one internship, a few dozen album premieres and a bachelor’s degree later, I now work as a writer and editorial assistant at American Songwriter. As a recent college graduate, people are always asking me what my dream job is, and I never have to think twice about my answer: this one. Working at American Songwriter has afforded me the opportunity to talk about the thing I love most with some of the artists I love most. A few nights ago, I interviewed British guitarist and ex-Smiths member Johnny Marr for a piece for this issue and got to chat with my long-time idol about guitars, my favorite band and my own songwriting. I’ve had the chance to talk to both Jessica Lea Mayfield and Mary Timony about being a woman in music and what that means today. I saw Paul McCartney perform a sold-out show and got to sing along to “Hey Jude” with 20,000 other human beings. At 20 years old, I’ve been able to do things I didn’t think I would have the chance to do until I was much older and had paid my dues in mailrooms and cramped cubicles, proving my worth as a journalist from deep behind the scenes.

Unlike so many of my friends, I wake up every day excited to go to work. I get to write about things that matter, ask questions that matter and help open the world’s ears to art that matters. I couldn’t be prouder to work at American Songwriter and contribute to the exploration of the ever-changing craft of music.

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