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Five Things: A Life Update From Musician Ben Sollee

Magnus Lindqvist

This week's episode is a quick update from musician Ben Sollee, who was first on the show back in September 2017. At that time, he was in the midst of an intense round of concert touring, in addition to freelance composition and scoring work — and awaiting a new baby in the very near future. He also mused about what might be next for him professionally.

I asked him to come back into the studio and give us an update on what's changed. That baby girl is nearly a year old now, he's wrapped up touring for now — and maybe most surprisingly — he's taken a full-time job as "associate creative director and lead storyteller" at marketing agency Bisig Impact Group. But don't imagine that he's "given up" on the music career; if anything, he's digging into his creative endeavors even more.

On how he's recalibrated his life:
"I was exploring that option [a traditional full-time job] deeply for all the reasons that we mentioned in the interview, but also to try to see what happens if I take all this energy I've been spreading around the world and focus it into my community here. Now I can use that creative energy that I was just literally pouring out the window, as I was driving down the life of being a touring musician, and put that in a place so it has some value. And then I can still make a lot of music."

On his recent work with mentoring local up-and-coming artists:
"Not really managing, more being like an artist advocate, because I feel like there's a huge opportunity here in Louisville to help talent get over that first little hump of making something really cool, to making people aware of that cool thing that you're doing. So I'm helping three artists right now."

On how he's seeking balance:
"I've seen a lot of musicians who think that they can still do both — you can still have your really warm, engaged family and you can be on the road 250 dates a year, 200 dates a year. No, I don't think that's real. That's a story that someone told you, or is still telling you, or you're telling yourself. It's really hard to do those things, and I would say, from my personal experience, not really possible. It was always a juggling act — I was putting a lot of attention on my family, and then that ball goes up in the air and there's a lot of attention to the artistic output. And you keep juggling them, and juggling is a very different activity than balancing."

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