Welcome to My Nerd Brain: A Dialogue on Musicians’ Health and Wellness
By Emily Fransen
A safe space for musicians to discuss their triumphs, setbacks, and motivations in their music and careers. A podcast that promotes education on physical, mental, and emotional health in the music industry.
Episode 47: Mac Phipps
After joining the mentorship program while serving 21 years in jail, hip hop artist Mac Phipps shares his thoughts on curbing violence in New Orleans and finding better ways to support the youth in our major cities. He also discusses the needs for adults to address the differences between “reality” and “entertainment,” in reference to the lyrics used in hip hop songs, as they have the potential to negatively influence young listeners if misrepresented.
March 21, 2022
Episode 46: Billy Cobham
In this episode, I had a really great chat with legendary fusion drummer, Billy Cobham, about his new Masterclass series: Stress Free Drumming with Billy Cobham on Stages Music Arts. He discussed how his desire for regular gigs ultimately led him to composition and career-building personal projects that continue sustain him today.
November 02, 2021
Episode 45: Carol Calato
President of Regal Tip Drumsticks, Carol Calato, talks about the history of Regal Tip as a business and a drumstick, and her journey to taking over her father’s business. She explains the ergonomics of different stick designs and how Regal Tip sets itself apart from the competition. Check out this episode for some great tips on building a solid business while maintaining your own separate personal identity.
October 18, 2021
Episode 44: Leighsa Montrose
In this episode, Intention Coach/Wellness Consultant/ Certified Life Coach, Leighsa Montrose, talks about managing grief, healing trauma, and breaking old patterns through life coaching and therapy.
September 27, 2021
Episode 43: Dr. Michele Cramer & Dr. Stephanie Solórzano
Episode 43 features audiologists Michele Cramer and Stephanie Solórzano of Hearing Clinic of Greater New Orleans, LLC! We really had an excellent time talking about ears, and that is no sarcasm. Check out our chat about hearing health for musicians and fans of music, hearing aids, custom ear plugs, and some very extended chatter about ear wax. Everything you could ever hope for in a podcast.
September 12, 2021
Episode 42: Anwar Nasir
Newly-appointed Executive Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Anwar Nasir, talks about his background as a professional dancer and its influence on his path to arts admin. He also speaks about the tradition of orchestral work and music, and the ways that he feels diversity and inclusion could help inform and shape the lives of young musicians and composers alike.
August 23, 2021
Episode 41: Sharon Su
Concert pianist, scholar, and chamber musician, Sharon Su, speaks about making classical music more accessible, finding the humor in "serious music," and the practice methods she uses to keep her hands limber, but healthy.
August 09, 2021
Episode 40: Harold Fethe
Harold Fethe talks about his evolution as a musician and guitar player after having been diagnosed with multifocal motor neuropathy several years ago.
July 26, 2021
Episode 39: Nathan Moody
Sound designer and mastering engineer, Nathan Moody, talks about entrepreneurship and learning how to prioritize a wide variety of professional responsibilities. He also talks about how his hobby of open-ocean kayaking gives him the confidence he needs to be present both in and out of the office.
July 12, 2021
Episode 38: Chris Guccione
Drummer and educator, Chris Guccione, talks about keeping up a steady practice routine while being a stay at home dad, as well as the changes in his career since becoming a father.
June 28, 2021
Episode 37: Alfred Banks
Rapper and National Alliance on Mental Illness Ambassador, Alfred Banks, talks about his own mental health journey following the death of his brother, breaking down the stereotypes in the hip hop world, and the steps that record labels can take to better support the mental health of their artists.
June 14, 2021
Episode 36: Tavia Osbey
Artist manager and Owner/Co-Founder of MidCitizen Entertainment, Tavia Osbey, talks about getting started in the industry as the manager for Tank and the Bangas. She discusses their long friendship and the boundaries they have set to make a friendship and business partnership work. She also shares her experiences finding balance between her career and personal life while continuing to maintain a passion for the artists she represents.
May 31, 2021
Episode 35: Cristina Perez Edmunds
Singer, instrumentalist, and entrepreneur, Cristina Perez Edmunds, is also a mom of two and a caregiver for her oldest son. She shares her thoughts on the changes that she will have to make to her career in order to best support her children and the steps she takes to care for herself, as well.
May 17, 2021
Episode 34: Anders Osborne (Rerun)
RERUN: Singer/songwriter Anders Osborne discusses mental health, his road to sobriety, and the ways in which the music industry can be more supportive of a healthy lifestyle. He also talks about his organization, Send Me A Friend, which provides support for musicians who are getting back to work in the early stages of their sobriety.
May 03, 2021
Episode 33: Mike Twillman
Mike Twillman shares his experiences in the world of event production and booking. He remarks on the ways in which the long hours and demanding jobs can lead to burnout, mental health struggles, and substance abuse; and he shares his hope that we will see more support for these industry workers post-quarantine.
April 19, 2021
Episode 32: Jeff Albert
Trombone player and educator, Jeff Albert, talks about the importance of mental health precautions for both students and teachers, and the gift of giving oneself a break when needed. We also talk about life as an improvisational performer, including, but not limited to….late night Taco Bell runs.
April 05, 2021
Episode 31: Mark Taylor
French hornist Mark Taylor talks about his diagnosis of focal dystonia, and his subsequent journey of recovery that has led to a career in music composition for television and film. He also discusses his time on the road with Max Roach, and how it shaped his approach to music.
March 22, 2021
Episode 30: Kourtni Dale-Noll Mitchiner
In this episode, Kourtni Dale-Noll Mitchiner talks about her love for opera and singing, and the ways in which she has channeled those passions into a career as an AGMA Stage Manager for operas and other staged events.
March 08, 2021
Episode 29: Jon Cleary
World-renowned blues/funk artist, Jon Cleary, discusses his passion for learning new instruments, staying creatively motivated while at home vs. being on the road, and the ways in which he has adapted both his music and his business model during the pandemic.
February 22, 2021
Episode 28: Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr.
Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. talks about his Mardi Gras Indian Tribe and Band, The Wild Magnolias, their decision not to mask for Mardi Gras this year, and the need to keep the Mardi Gras Indian tradition alive in our black communities. Tune into this episode for some great background and history on the Mardi Gras Indians and the formation of The Wild Magnolias.
February 08, 2021
Episode 27: Dr. Shane Huntington
In this episode, Dr. Shane Huntington gets candid about the mental health issues facing PhD candidates and students in our academic institutions. He stresses the need for Universities to start emphasizing communication and re-invest in faculty teaching skills, in order to better prepare students for a wider variety of jobs in the Arts and Sciences.
January 25, 2021
Episode 26: Tarriona "Tank" Ball
In this episode, I get to chat with Tank and the Bangas’ Tarriona “Tank” Ball about new projects during the pandemic, the fleeting attention of social media, and the importance of physical health while touring.
January 11, 2021
Episode 25: Reid Wick
Reid Wick, the Membership and Industry Relations Rep for the Recording Academy, talks about the Recording Academy’s community outreach and advocacy programs. Tune in to find out how you can apply for financial aid during COVID and learn how to help further the cause.
November 16, 2020
Episode 24: Emily Cox Rebert
Sales and marketing admin/freelance festival contractor, Emily Cox Rebert, discusses the effects of COVID on the live music and festival scene and the ramifications of our current health crisis as we move forward. Also….BATS!!!!
November 02, 2020
Episode 23: Dr. Rachel White Galvin
Dr. Rachel White Galvin is a movement specialist, educator, and professional violinist/violist who works in musicians’ health and wellness. She is passionate about helping musicians play pain-free, and she is also a beefalo enthusiast!
October 19, 2020
Episode 22: Mark-Anthony Thomas
Vocalist Mark-Anthony Thomas talks about vocal health and his recovery from a major surgery on his vocal cords that interrupted his early singing years and greatly influenced his current teaching approach….And the greatest “bear fact” you’ve ever heard.
October 05, 2020
Episode 21: Jason Crane
Jason Crane talks about his choice to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, his belief in Buddhism and its positive effects on his mental health, and the ways in which his experiences as a musician inform his long-standing podcast, The Jazz Session. FYI: Jason is Foxy-approved….from afar.
September 21, 2020
Episode 20: Kam Franklin
Kam Franklin of The Suffers gets into some hot button music industry topics, where she discusses the changes that need to happen in order to provide a better future for our upcoming generation, while also supporting growth and diversity in our current environment. And don’t forget to support your public library!
September 07, 2020
Episode 19: Zak Knight
I visited with Zak Knight for this episode, who is Director, Producer, and Songwriter at Earthtide Studios in Melbourne. Zak filled me in on some of his latest projects, and we talked productivity and mental health during this pandemic. And last but not least, Icelandic sea monsters. You heard me.
August 24, 2020
Episode 18: Victor Atkins
Jazz pianist, arranger, and teacher, Victor Atkins, weighs in on building a successful career despite living with chronic pain. He also gives us a specific practice plan for working within the constraints that hand problems present. We laughed. We cried. We talked about coffee.
August 10, 2020
Episode 17: Dr. Laura Bird
Dr. Laura Bird is a psychologist and neuroscientist who studies the potential therapeutic and health benefits of music training and/or music listening. She chats with me about the future of studies that focus on music’s interaction with the brain and the possible positive outcomes that these studies could provide.
July 27, 2020
Episode 16: DJ Soul Sister
A nice, long chat with New Orleans DJ artist and WWOZ DJ, DJ Soul Sister. We get into the early days of live DJing, as well as a great discussion on maintaining creativity and supporting our musicians during quarantine. And last but not least, The Gap Band…because yes.
July 13, 2020
Episode 15: Mollie Pate
As principal horn player for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Mollie talks about maintaining a busy practice and performance schedule while also running her three CrossFit NOLA locations. She weighs in on the benefits of CrossFit and what drives her to compete year after year. We also reminisce about the wonders of a good college cereal bar. Memories….
June 29, 2020
Episode 14: Tim Hall
Audio engineer, live sound specialist, and teacher, Tim Hall, talks raising two young children during some of the most challenging times in his life. He opens up about his mental health journey that has led him to a place of appreciation and acceptance. Bonus: He also does a great Yosemite Sam.
June 15, 2020
Episode 13: Kaitlyn Tholen
Neuroscientist and Clinical Research Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Kaitlyn Tholen, describes her research into the links between musicianship and the use of memory. She also chats with me about her relationship with anxiety and the steps she has taken to minimize its effects on herself and others. Also, Tiger King and Jell-O. You heard me.
June 01, 2020
Episode 12: Mike Esneault
Jazz pianist, educator, arranger, and Emmy Award-winning composer, Mike Esneault, shares his thoughts about teaching well-rounded students, by emphasizing life balance and an open mind. He also weighs in on techniques for reducing the potential for injury at the piano, as well as his thoughts on managing anxiety.
May 18, 2020
Episode 11: Sidonie Smith
International actress, singer, and violinist/violist, Sidonie Smith, shares her insight into preparing for demanding musical theatre roles, maintaining a practice routine as a multi-instrumentalist, and keeping the right mindset to be successful in every role, stage and otherwise.
May 04, 2020
Episode 10.5: Thad Beaty
Thad Beaty of Sugarland fills us in on his fitness journey to becoming an Ironman athlete and coach while making a living as a touring musician. He discusses the importance of prioritizing your health as a musician and athlete, and the ways in which his foundation, Music That Moves, is helping athletes find causes that speak to them personally. --------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Thad Beaty Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
April 20, 2020
Episode 10: Annie Clements
Annie Clements of Maren Morris and Sidepiece Band discusses her pregnancy while on the road and throughout this quarantine. She fills us in on how she makes her relationship work with her husband and fellow musician, Thad Beaty (Episode 10.5). ---------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Annie Clements Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
April 20, 2020
Episode 9: John Worthington
John Worthington discusses working in the music technology sector, leading projects like QuickTime, the Macintosh MIDI Manager, and his newest project, Jambe. John also shares his personal struggles with his eyesight and hands during his development of some of his more recent projects. ------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: John Worthington Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
April 03, 2020
Tiny Brains: Mini Episode 3
A quick update on the current status of the podcast and plans to move forward during the Coronavirus quarantine in New Orleans. -------------------------- Host/Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
March 27, 2020
Episode 8: Clebert LeBlanc
Clebert LeBlanc is a tai chi, qi gong, and aikido instructor in New Orleans. He works these practices in with his profession as a physical therapist and discusses the ways in which these practices can help with mind/body alignment. ------------------------------ Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Clebert LeBlanc Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
March 13, 2020
Episode 7: Anders Osborne
Singer/songwriter Anders Osborne discusses mental health, his road to sobriety, and the ways in which the music industry can be more supportive of a healthy lifestyle. He also talks about his organization, Send Me A Friend, which provides support for musicians who are getting back to work in the early stages of their sobriety. --------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Anders Osborne Producer/Editor: Emily Fransen
March 03, 2020
Tiny Brains: Mini Episode 2
Announcing a brief hiatus during Mardi Gras season here in New Orleans….because catching beads is important. Next show airs Wednesday, March 4! --------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
February 19, 2020
Episode 6: Sad Mardi Gras: Emily McWilliams
Personal trainer, nutrition coach, and musician, Emily McWilliams, talks developing healthy routines through fitness, balanced nutrition, and a forgiving mentality. She discusses the need for more specific training plans that work around a woman’s hormonal cycles, as well as her choice to make music her creative release rather than her profession. --------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Emily McWilliams Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
February 15, 2020
Episode 5: Emily Fredrickson
Trombone player, Emily Fredrickson, fills us in on the intricacies of arranging bounce music for orchestra(!) and recovering from a surgery that rendered her unable to play her instrument. She also weighs in on her tips for navigating the music and arts advocacy fields as a woman, while maintaining your integrity and honoring the work that got you there in the first place. --------------------------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Emily Fredrickson Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
January 31, 2020
Tiny Brains: Mini Episode 1
A tiny update on some not so tiny things going on at Welcome to My Nerd Brain headquarters. ----------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
January 28, 2020
Episode 4: Michael Girardot
Michael Girardot of The Revivalists discusses maintaining one’s independence and relationships while touring on a demanding schedule. --------------------------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Michael Girardot Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
January 19, 2020
Episode 3: Paul Sanchez
An in-depth talk about maintaining physical health while practicing mental health, meditation, and a healthy/work life balance; how to navigate a rapidly changing career due to a breakdown of all three. --------------------------------------------------- Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Paul Sanchez Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
January 06, 2020
Episode 2 (The Christmas Episode): Charlie Dennard
A discussion about being a touring musician while maintaining your mental and physical health, relationships, and a your own sense of creativity. ------------------------------------ Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Charlie Dennard Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
December 16, 2019
Episode 1: Matt Lemmler
A discussion about music careers and how to maintain multiple projects and income streams. ------------------------------------ Host: Emily Fransen Guest: Matt Lemmler Producer: Emily Fransen Editor: Emily Fransen
December 02, 2019