Sorry for the wait, but, hey, here I am. Work-wise, 2015 was a year of transition for me. I left my job at Slate in February to start at New York Magazine — specifically Vulture. (That’s their site that reports on culture, fyi.) It’s nuts. In just two years, I’ve shot up the masthead at what feels to me like record pace. I’m now an associate editor, but this year I also turned 25, and so it feels like I might have that title for either awhile or not very long at all.
I say that for two reasons: 1. I enjoy my job. It drives me bonkers. It’d drive anyone who has to monitor Twitter more than they monitor their own pulse mad. Not to mention then having to turn said Twitter content into content. It’s a daily headache I’m genuinely excited to greet most mornings when my alarm jolts me awake and I sign onto Slack and get to writing. (That working from home life.) 2. I know I can’t do this forever. My mother’s from a generation who’ll work at a company for decades. I’ve worked at three different companies in three years, mostly by choice. Journalism, while still a great joy to lose myself in, no longer stimulates me creatively the way it did when I decided on it as my career in high school. (Stop making teens do that, ya’ll.)
I’ve been thinking about working at a record label. But who knows where the future will take me. I haven’t a clue. Until I do, why not reflect on the past year. (Here’s 2014’s reflection.) I did some challenging, honest, worthwhile work that I’d like to publicly declare my faves right here and now. But before I do, let me also add that I think I may retire this blog. I’ve outgrown it, both age-wise and professionally. I may transition it to Medium, or maybe tweak my Tumblr to be more than just music musings. Stay tuned.
“Carly Rae Jepsen Wants You to Notice Her, Maybe, But for the Right Reasons” | Vulture, August 20, 2015
This was the first profile I got to write for Vulture, and I fought like hell for it. At first, there was some miscommunication and I almost lost it to our music critic (the great Lindsay Zoladz) because a print piece fell through. But I argued to keep it: I did all the reporting, lived with the album for months, and was about to begin the writing process. I won! Emotion is one of my favorite albums of 2015, and it felt right that I got to speak with the woman who made it. And I mean really made it. She recruited the producers, wrote and sang the lyrics, and (as Dev Hynes told me) produced some of her own vocals. Carly’s an auteur, screw your one-hit-wonder prejudgments.
“Stromae Has Half A Billion Views And The Brains To Back It Up” | The Fader, June 11, 2015
In addition to switching jobs, I also pushed myself to freelance for real this year. No one’s ever paid me for just my words before, but shout out to Naomi Zeichner (badass EIC of The Fader) for recommending me to Duncan Cooper, who then hired to me write two Gen F profiles (one in print!) for The Fader this year. I love that magazine. Few do better culture reporting and photography than they do. Stromae was such a joy to interview. I think he might be one of the most important pop stars of the decade, and I know that now especially because I later got to experience his live show. For my profile, we chatted about fashion, cancer, fatherhood, and so many things that made me feel like we were old friends, if only for an hour.
“The 13 Most Ignorant Quotes From That Awful Deadline Article” | Vulture, March 25, 2015
Yeah, a hot take, sue me. Sometimes writing about race makes me nauseous, because I deeply fear censorship. (I’m mostly edited by white men, and a line in which I argued the use of “ethnic” was a slippery slope to “nigger” got cut.) Other times I’m so offended, I can’t silence myself when I knowingly have the resources to publicly drag the ignorance. That’s what inspired this: 2015 saw a lot of irresponsible, dangerous racist drivel, and I cannot sit by idly and watch another writer insult the intelligence of every person of color who watched television this year.
“FKA Twigs’s Congregata Shows Give Brooklyn a Spectacular Crash Course in Voguing” | Vulture, May 20, 2015
I think this is some of my best writing of 2015, full stop. Pretty sure it’s also the first concert review I wrote since college.
“JoJo Spent Nearly a Decade Fighting Her Label and Won. Here’s What She Learned, in Her Own Words.” | Vulture, November 2, 2015
Okay, technically, I didn’t write this. It’s an as told to. BUT, it was a mini-passion project of mine because I’ve been a fan of JoJo’s since I was in my early teens (as was she), and I fight for women. Always. JoJo was burned bad by a cruel industry, and I didn’t want to speak for her like so many others have. So instead I let her tell her own story. It’s something I hope to do with Kesha someday, as well as any other woman whom the industry has turned their back on.