A lot of musician interviews wind up with a pulling-teeth vibe where you can sense the artist would rather just let the music do the talking. “Dion Pays Homage To Guitar-Rock Giants,” an audio interview with the singer-songwriter on NPR, is the opposite of that. You can sense he can’t wait to tell stories about his music and his peers.
You might think you don’t give a shit what Dion has to say, but take a listen. You’ll be fascinated. In fact, it’s a great example of promotion through education. Instead of just some old fogey plugging his latest record, he really gives ya something. He bring his guitar along and weaves in bits of songs, anecdotes about the greats he came up with, musical lessons, etc.
He covers “Summertime Blues” and explains how he loves the sense of humor displayed in the third verse. He talks about the song “Ruby Ruby” which led to the greatest compliment of his life: Little Richard’s mother telling him he’s got soul. He mentions how Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” changes keys six times. He tells the story of writing “Born to Cry” as a 16-year old after he walked past a synagogue and heard the cantor singing. And he breezes through all of that in just a few minutes.
It’s a great lesson for anyone who’s trying to promote something. If you just show up to plug something, it’s easy to tune out. But if you give your audience a story they want to hear and/or teach them something interesting, they’ll eagerly pay attention.