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 songs and just started playing music, and I didn't have the confidence, and now it's like, I'm making better work. I have more confidence." - Angela James

I loved talking with Angela.  As a musician who is also a mom, I'm always excited to speak with other musician moms to see how they balance their lives and art.  

Angela speaks in a calm, thoughtful way about a range of pretty wild topics, including using psychedelics, postpartum depression and psychosis, death, grief, and working in hospice.  We also talk about her creative process, her new album, and how her relationship to her music career has changed over time.  Finally, we share our love for the Chicago music scene, and how unbelievably talented, accessible, and supportive it is.  

We cover:

  • How do you make music when you become a parent?

  • How does your relationship to art change when you hit middle age?

  • What does music success look like?

  • Can psychedelics help spiritual growth?

  • Should you wait to have kids if you're trying to be a musician?

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Songs featured: "Portrait of the Artist by a Middle-Aged Mother" and "The Caregiver" by Angela James

Music Therapy Podcast Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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 Oldfield album, his newest album Live at Tone Deaf Records out this Friday on 1473 Records,  and so much more!

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Song Credits: "Incantations Excerpt" by Mike Oldfield, performed by Kristin Johnston, Scott Simon, and Joshua Wentz

"Rave Dove" by Joshua Wentz

Music Therapy Podcast Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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 is a “toxic person”?

How do you know if you’re dealing with a toxic person?

How does a toxic person make you feel?

How does a toxic person behave?

Why are some people “toxic”?

How do you deal with a toxic person you can’t escape (family member, etc)?

Can you change a toxic person?

How to deal with guilt when setting boundaries?

How to approach a disagreement/conflict with a toxic person?

How do I know someone is toxic?  How do I know I’m not the problem? 

My bandmate is toxic, but they also are very creative and add a lot to the band.  What do I do?

Song featured: "Empty Life" by Jessica Risker

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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 episodes, and upcoming events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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 There”, the breakdown she experienced after its release, making a living off music, and what it's like going back to college as an adult.  

Tracks featured:  "In My Dreams I'm Here" and "Kissing In The Park" by Devin Shaffer.

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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 attempts changed him.  

We also talk about Courtesy's new album "Check the Milk" out now on Seasick Records, and listen to a couple tracks from the band.

Tracks featured:  "King Clave" and "Buy Me A Soda" by Courtesy.

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

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?

  • What does your identity have to do with performance anxiety?

  • How do our thoughts affect anxiety?

  • Why some anxiety is actually good for performing!

  • How to set SMART goals

  • How to manage performance expectations

  • How to develop a pre-performance routine​

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and upcoming events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

 

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 events!

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

This episode was taped live at Cafe Mustache in front of a studio audience on December 8, 2021.  

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 was really interesting to hear how they come up with ideas, give each other feedback, who's the boss, and work through disagreements while working on music together. 

We also talked about their new EP "Sunk" out now on Double Double Whammy, their work ethic, using music to deal with past family trauma and loss, setting boundaries and fresh starts, communication skills, their adorable dog Woody, and lots more.  

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and events!

Featured songs: "Fugazi"  and "Like Artists Making Offerings" by Babehoven

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

This episode was taped on January 26, 2022.

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, new music she’s working on, and plenty more!

Quinn was so easy to talk to and although we still haven't grabbed that drink I'm totally down whenever, Quinn!  I loved hearing her journey to becoming a composer for film and there's some great takeaways from her story that could inspire any aspiring film composer.  It was also cool to hear how she's bounced around, from working in a corporation to pursuing the arts to starting a non-profit to working on her own LP, and all the excitement and uncertainty and insecurity pursuing an art career entails.  We also dig into her discomfort with the ego that accompanies promoting your own work.  All in all this was a great conversation from a talented and driven Chicago artist.  

Visit musictherapypodcast.com for show notes, past episodes, and events!

Featured song: "Once I Had a Picture of Us" by Quinn Tsan

Credits: 

Music Therapy is hosted by Jessica Risker, produced by Sullivan Davis of Local Universe, and engineered by Joshua Wentz in Chicago. 

Opening and closing music composed by Joshua Wentz.

This episode was taped live on Instagram on October 20, 2021.  

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