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Being a musician has never been easy, but in today’s over-saturated world, it feels more daunting than ever. With little money and murky paths to success, it’s no wonder musicians are struggling to find their place and value in the world. Musicians will find the Music Therapy podcast an indispensable and inspiring companion while navigating the ups and downs of creativity, the music industry, and mental health. Music fans will discover in-depth conversations with their favorite artists about ...
 
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In December of 2022, Pitchfork published an article, written by Jenn Pelly, called "Confronting Music's Mental Health Crisis". This article was passed around widely on the internet; obviously, it resonated with many musicians. Jenn and I dig deeper into her article, discussing her research and takeaways, bits that she left out of the article, and c…
 
Jealousy is tough emotion, but can it be useful?? In this episode of Music Therapy, I chat with therapist/musician Ben Stover - who also co-hosts the Popcorn Psychology podcast - all about Artistic Jealousy. We look a the ways it can manifest, how social media leads us to comparison and jealousy, and what you can do about it. If you've ever felt en…
 
Así Así is a Mexican/American band from Chicago, IL. In August 2022, the band released their debut album, “Mal de Otros”, where Así Así blends rock, dance, and Latin themes together to form oftentimes haunting, yet upbeat and catchy songs. On this episode of Music Therapy, taped live at Cafe Mustache, Jessica sits down with the full band to talk ab…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Chicago artist Alana Schactel of Lipsticsm. Lipsticism’s sound is frequently described as cosmic, dreamy, and psychedelic, and there is something immediate and sensual in her punchy drums and emotional honesty. We cover a lot of ground in this episode! Alana is currently studying to become a therapist, s…
 
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! In the spirit of holiday traveling, we have an episode all about touring. In October 2022, Isabel Olive (Half Gringa) posted the following on Instagram: "Hey folks. A photo of me smiling because this is a tough one - I’ve decided to cancel the last four dates of the HG October tour in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and Ci…
 
What's it like to walk away from the music industry? Steff Reed is a New York-based musician, educator, and activist. As a musician and producer, he has produced many tracks that have made it to Billboard Charts. As an educator, he has taught thousands of youth over the past 15 years, and was nominated for the Grammy Music Educator Award. As an act…
 
There comes a time in every musician's career when you ask yourself: should you get a publicist? In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with a real-life publicist, Colin Smith of Fresh Paint PR. Colin breaks down exactly what a publicist does, how a publicist chooses to work with someone (or not), and what you can do to make a PR campaign successf…
 
Group Session! Chicago art-punkers Spread Joy define once and for all the grand purpose of art, ponder "derivative" music, explain the methods behind their songwriting and give a killer live performance on this episode of Music Therapy. With special Exploration by the one and only Leslie Tanner! This episode was taped live at Cafe Mustache on Augus…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy we talk with Duncan Sheik! You might remember Duncan Sheik's 1996 chart topping hit “Barely Breathing.” That song racked up 55 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned him a Grammy Award® nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. In the years since, Sheik has been celebrated for his work in musica…
 
Annie Fish is a musician, cartoonist, and author based in Chicago, IL. In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with Chicago musician Annie Fish about their new album “Weird Like Me”. “Weird Like Me” is a full length 90’s inspired rock album accompanied by an oral illustrated history, found at anniefish.net/weird.html. Through the album’s concept, …
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, Lizzie No and I dig into touring, protecting her mental health while on tour, how Lizzie knows she's spending too much time on social media, her definition of success, and lots more! Songs featured in episode: "Sweeter Than Strychnine" and "Stop Bothering Me" by Lizzie No Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show note…
 
This is our 100th episode! Jessica and Josh reflect on what we've learned so far through our 100 interviews with artists. Thank you guys for listening to the podcast - here's to 100 more! Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events! Songs included: "Disco Smile" and "Stay" by Jessica Risker/DEADBEAT Visit musict…
 
Uma Bloo is a pool. Uma Bloo is the persona of Molly Madden, a musician from Chicago who is maybe thinking about possibly moving to LA. Molly worked on an album for years and released it and then left her band and is currently in total flux with music, where it lives in her life, her goals, and what it all means. This is a very vulnerable place for…
 
How do you start over in a new city? Bridey Hicks (BRIDEY) is moving from Chicago to LA. We discuss the reasons behind her move, her approach for joining the LA music community, why Chicagoans are the best people, transitioning from comedy to music, her songwriting process, working solo vs with a band, and recordings vs live performance. She also d…
 
On this episode of Music Therapy I talk with one of my favorite artists Mike Meegan of RXM Reality! We discuss getting sober, dig deep into Mike's music-making process, complain about social media and learn about Mike's favorite gear and DAWs. Songs featured on episode: "Big Forever" by Jessica Risker & RXM Reality "Thank You" and "Life is Shit" by…
 
We are a culture obsessed with the pursuit of fame - but what happens when fame fades away? Nick Duerden, author of "Exit Stage Left: The Curious Afterlife of Pop Stars" explores this question through candid interviews with pop stars who were once on top of the world. Nick joins us on this episode of Music Therapy to discuss the book, his insights …
 
Hilarity and shenanigans ensue when Chicago 4-piece Boo Baby takes the couch at Cafe Mustache! The band shares their performance philosophy and tells us who are better humans: musicians or comedians? Special guest Leslie Tanner takes us on yet another spirit-expanding Exploration, Julia Louis-Dreyfus may or may not have been in the audience, and Bo…
 
Have you ever felt like people are going to find out you're a fraud, or that you don't really deserve the success you've had? Dr Lincoln Hill is a Chicago therapist who specializes in Imposter Syndrome. In this episode of Music Therapy, Dr. Hill and Jessica discuss Imposter Syndrome. We give you an understanding of Imposter Syndrome, how it can imp…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with Dustin Currier of Lightleak! Dustin talks about quitting his job to work on music, how his studio space setup helps him be more creative, the limits and strengths of binary thinking, making an album remotely, and his most recent album "Tender Fits" Songs featured on the podcast: "No Icon" and "Sympathet…
 
On this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Daniel Wyche of American Dreams Records! Daniel talks about: His newest album “Earthwork” via American Dreams Records! Curating the wildly successful Quarantine Concerts via Experimental Sound Studio balancing teaching and making music mental health the Chicago music scene getting older and lots more! So…
 
Group Session featuring FRIKO! Chicago indie-pop trio Friko takes the couch at Cafe Mustache for a live taping of Music Therapy. Features an in-depth interview with the band, comedy, and a special live performance by Friko. Friko shares what it's like to live together, how they approach songwriting, answer audience questions and lots more on this s…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Jason Balla of Dehd and Accessory. We talk about Dehd's new album "Blue Skies" out now on Fat Possum, embracing mistakes in songwriting and recording, how to work past your inner critic, giving up control in collaborating, advice for touring and recording, and lots more! Songs featured: Chop Shop High Sc…
 
Charles Joseph Smith is an absolute fixture of the Chicago DIY scene. He is also a musical genius, a prolific pianist with over 600 compositions and arrangements under his belt. In this episode of Music Therapy, Charles shares his story of growing up with autism, how he discovered and nurtured his talent for music, the differences between the class…
 
Angela James is a Chicago singer-songwriter who just released a beautiful new album, co-produced with David Vandervelde (Father John Misty) called "Now That I Have You". ​ "I'm making what I feel like is the best work in my career. I had a lot of opportunities early in my career, and that was great, but I was so new and I had just started writing s…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with musician, friend, and bandmate @joshua_w_wentz !! Josh and I discuss his rich and varied music career (not financially lol), how he stays so active in music, his perspective on success/failure in music, growth as a musician and how that changes output, authenticity in music, his annual 12 Days of Mike Ol…
 
We see the phrase "toxic" all the time - toxic person, toxic workplace, toxic relationship - but what exactly does it mean? And, how do you deal with a toxic person/coworker/family member/bandmate? Chicago therapist Lynn Zakeri, LCSW and I dive into the meaning of the word "toxic" and share how to deal with a toxic person! We explore: What exactly …
 
Ryan Hall of Whited Sepulchre Records discusses using music as an emotional processing tool, running through the graveyard, how he manages to work two jobs and run a busy record label, squaring business with creativity, what exactly EMDR is, plus lots more on this week's episode of Music Therapy! Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past e…
 
As a musician, how do you deal with the necessary evil of social media? What does 2 years of quarantine do to your ability to perform? If you had professional musicians for parents, would you want to follow their path? We get into all these questions and more with Chicago musician Devin Shaffer - including her most debut album "In My Dreams I’m The…
 
Kirk Rawlings is one-half of Chicago band Courtesy, and we go deep in this very candid, personal, and surprisingly uplifting episode of Music Therapy. Kirk shares Courtesy's creative process, his relationship with psychiatric and street drugs, dealing with anxiety and depression, his evolving definition of artistic success and how his two suicide a…
 
Does performing make you nervous? In this week's episode of Music Therapy, I talk with psychologist Dr. Claire Kubiesa on overcoming performance anxiety! ​Whether you're just starting out or have been performing for years, this episode has tons of information on overcoming performance anxiety. ​ In this episode we cover: What is performance anxiety…
 
Group Session! In this episode I talk with Chicago's jazz-fusion sextet Cordoba. Learn how 6 busy band members find time to practice, how they come up with their musical ideas, and how all their personalities work together. Featuring an amazing live performance from the band! Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming…
 
As a therapist, I often work with couples. Couples generally come to therapy when they need some help, and as you might imagine, it can be tense. That's why it was so nice to talk with Maya Bon and Ryan Albert of Babehoven. They have a very sweet dynamic! I've always wondered what it would be like to work on music while dating a bandmate, and it wa…
 
Music Therapy is back with our first episode of 2022! In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with songwriter, composer, and producer Quinn Tsan!! Quinn and I talk about how she got into composing for films, her struggle with the vanity of music self-promotion, her mysterious upcoming project, the risks involved in pursuing an indie music career, n…
 
Hello everyone! I'm taking a break from releasing episodes until 2022. Here's a short episode with info about upcoming events. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and thanks for listening to the podcast this year! We have a lot of big plans for 2022, so stay tuned and visit musictherapypodcast.com…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Camilo Medina of Divino Niño! Camilo shares his sacred bath routine, moving from an ad agency to freelance work, how the band creates together, how they’re evolving their recording process as they work on their new album, spirituality, the spirit of collaboration, and much more!! We also hear two new tra…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Darien Williams of Unmanned Ship, M!NES, Cat Mullins & themboys and faug!! We discuss balancing work and creativity, being in four different bands, running a kombucha business, putting out 4 albums next year, utilizing space and dynamics in music, how the pandemic changed creativity, running the Cafe Mus…
 
On this episode of Music Therapy I talk with comedian and musician Steve Malden (formerly Steve Gerard). Steve is one of my very favorite comedians and he moved to NYC one week ago from Chicago. This is a snapshot of an artist the moment they move into the next level of their career. We discuss a variety of things: Why did he move to New York? What…
 
What happens when a band comes to an end? In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with all four members of Chicago DIY darlings Richard Album as they play their very last show. In a touching and surprisingly emotional episode, I talk with the band as they reflect on their time together, share some of their best and worst band memories, and play a …
 
This episode of Music Therapy features Savanna Dickhut of Burr Oak! Savanna talks about intense anxiety before performing, dealing with writer’s block, drinking as a coping mechanism before shows, her songwriting process, how the pandemic changed her music career goals, her new album "Late Bloomer" out now, and more!! Visit musictherapypodcast.com …
 
Pandemic stress impacts every aspect of our lives - our bodies, mental health, relationships, work, and our creativity. You may be feeling burned out, depleted, irritable, malaise, or just generally not the best version of yourself. In this episode of Music Therapy, we focus on understanding prolonged stress, and the tolls it takes on our lives and…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Chicago musician Macie Stewart! Macie talks about the surprising thing she learned about herself during the pandemic, the challenges of maintain mental health and relationships on the road, her new album “Mouth Full of Glass” coming out Sept 24 via Orindal Records, her biggest fears for her music as well…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with Chicago country crooner "Lonesome Andrew" aka Andrew Sa! Andrew talks about creating his latest film project "Andrew In Anotherland", learning to love collaboration, dishes on the snobbish culture of cover artists, why country music is so important for men, his number one piece of advice for artists try…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, Jessica Risker braves the twisted minds of two of the most outrageous characters in Chicago, Maxwell Allison and Doug Kaplan of the label Hausu Mountain, and their duo project Pepper Mill Rondo. The two have been collaborating as business partners and musicians for nearly a decade turning out tape after tape of exp…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with Chicago musician Nathan Graham! We talk about his role working in mediation and inclusiveness/diversity at reverb.com, growing up surrounded by music, his particular fusion sound of blues and Americana, becoming more selective about gigs, working towards a full time music career, Chicago’s music communi…
 
On this episode of Music Therapy I talk withJess Viscius of Chicago band BNNY! We talk about her new album "Everything" out now via Fire Talk Records, making an album while grieving the sudden loss of her partner Trey Gruber, figuring out the album's sound, and plenty more. Show Notes + Transcript Credits: Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker,…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with legendary recording engineer Chris Koltay of High Bias Recordings!! We talk about lockdown, re-opening his studio in August, how he views his role in the studio, his secret to making your album stand out, his biggest fears, and more!! Show Notes + Transcript Credits: Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Ri…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Jean Cochrane of Hard Femme !! We dive deep into songwriting - making melodies, song structures, lyrics, collaborating, chord progressions, music theory, and more. And Jean shares info about their new album “ A Layer of Topsoil” and upcoming release show on 8/1 at Ping Tom Park! Listen to Hard Femme: htt…
 
GROUP SESSION!! On this episode of Music Therapy I talk with Chicago 4-piece Girl K! Taped live at Cafe Mustache, I chat with all four band members about how they met, sorting out creative control, their biggest fear for the band, music and romance, that time Kathy cried in the Sleeping Village green room on her birthday, and the surprise that made…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy I talk with fellow therapist Dr. Lauren Neaman about social anxiety in a post-lockdown world. Dr. Neaman talks about the difference between social anxiety and social anxiety disorder, what behaviors can actually make social anxiety worse, treatment for social anxiety, her stance on using medication for social anxiet…
 
In this episode of Music Therapy, I talk with Chicago musician Adam Schubert of Ulna and Cafe Racer. Adam talks openly and candidly in detail about his journey of alcohol and cocaine abuse, starting at age 13, to hitting rock bottom, to coming to terms with his addiction, and to his present-day ongoing journey of recovery. We discuss AA, not counti…
 
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