Getting to Know Lee Hawkins


The INDIEgator: How do your WSJ or other corporate colleagues or Fans feel about you doing music too?

Lee: I think the people at the WSJ who are aware of my musical background are both supportive and impressed by it. It does not occur to me as much that I am a Musician, because music is in my blood and it’s such a big part of my existence; so I’ve never been surprised by that talent. My musical background really helps me in my journalism. I think the Musicians I interview appreciate that my questions about the creative aspect of what they do are coming from a musical place, and that I really have studied their music and their approach. There are a lot of “Music Critics” out there, but most of them have never recorded an album, performed or had any tangible accom-plishment in their music realm, other than strumming the guitar in their living rooms. That’s cool, but it’s easier to talk about music than it is to make it.

I think being able to sing has helped me in interviews. Sometimes it helps me open up my guests. I sang at the piano with Kirk Franklin in his living room and sang “Imagine” with Manny Pacquiao before his fight against Timothy Bradley. I think by the time he sat down for my interview he was kind of tired of giving interviews, and when I got him singing and sang with him, he literally came alive! So did I! Music unites people, and in that case, it helped put Manny into a comfort zone.

I also think listening to all kinds of music both as a fan and a Musician helps me go into an interview or a story with a more thorough understanding of the music from both perspectives. Because I am a Musician, I think I ask better questions than I would have if I wasn’t one; I also understand the answers better. Once my guests get over some of the shock from hearing questions that they aren’t generally used to being asked, it really helps. But I never understand why the fact that I’m a Musician is such a leap of logic for some people. Am I so serious in my professional life that I don’t give off a “Musician vibe”?

Journalism is nothing more than storytelling,
and that’s what song writing is too.

I think we tend to compartmentalize or see people as one-dimensional, so when we see a Journalist making music, it can be shocking. What’s funny is that the WSJ newsroom and other newsrooms I’ve been in are full of Musicians. My Editor from the Detroit bureau is a guitar player in a band, and one of our Copy Editors just showed me his music video on YouTube. The fact that I won the John Lennon contest and have opened up for people like Common and Robert Cray and work with George Nash Jr. just brings more attention to my work than people might expect. But I certainly am not the only Journalist in America who makes music during the off-hours. They are all over the place. And it makes sense, because journalism is nothing more than storytelling, and that’s what songwriting is, too.

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About the author

Kitty Y. Williams
Since moving to Houston, CEO Kitty Y. Williams (MissKittyTV Networks, LLC) has brought positive media exposure to Entertainers, Business Owners, Authors, Filmmakers, Community Leaders and other unique individuals Worldwide. Beginning with MissKittyTV in 2006, she filmed exclusive interviews, showcases, web cam episodes and events around the city, sharing with the world via YouTube. In 2007 she started her Kitty Williams LIVE radio broadcast on BlogTalkRadio, interviewing guests and showcasing music from several independent entertainers. (Read More on LinkedIn)

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