The world of jazz (and music) journalism is a competitive struggle at times, particularly for women looking to break the mould and find a name for themselves in a historically male-dominated industry. Despite this, plenty of women have successfully navigated their writing and journalistic careers, embarking on different paths and timelines to get where they want to be.
Women in Jazz Media have been exploring the stories and experiences of several female music writers, who have been transforming perceptions in the music industry one word at a time. These interviews aim to uncover the wonders and challenges of being a writer, hopefully inspiring many women to follow their own writing ambitions!
Lara Eidi has built a career primarily being a singer-songwriter, however, she is also the Jazz Editor and Senior Contributor for the music publication Backseat Mafia (UK). She is also a frequent contributor to the Women in Jazz Media column here on Jazz in Europe, covering a range of genres from folk to jazz. Her music has gained significant critical acclaim and has been described as ‘a singer with a true gift of voice, a kind soul, and a captivating presence’. (JazzUK)
How did you begin your writing journey?
Oh boy. I started to write as soon as I learned to play the piano. Those two came out of a need to express whatever was in my heart and mind; they came naturally to me, and I realised (thankfully) from early on that the way I approached music was similar to my writing: it had to be my voice, and it had to always address shared experiences of human beings. So, the why was really because it made sense: this was the way I could communicate with myself and the world, or at least one of the ways. I started out as a creative writer, and when I was 12 years old, I had my first poem published by Scholastic Books for Children, called ‘ Greenery’. Fast forward a few years (well little more than a few), an English Literature Degree and a music career later I found myself feeling very distant and isolated like most musicians during the Lockdown Years. I had written loads of short stories and poems (most of them turned into songs), but there was a part of me that needed to connect with my writer’s voice as it were. So, I reached out to a Bristol-based publication called ‘Backseat Mafia ‘ and asked if they needed writers for reviews, interviews etc. They sent me a resounding yes and since then I’ve been freelancing for them as Jazz and Folk Senior Editor, and of course later on as a freelance writer for Women in Jazz Media, and now London Jazz News. the ‘why’ I write now is still the same reason: I have loads of things I want to talk about, but as a music journalist, I want to talk and shine a light on others. It’s our job as artists to share the spotlight. after all.
Did you face any challenges?
I did, but the challenges were pretty much the same challenges I had encountered as an artist writing to journalists myself. There were a few instances where I received upset emails from artists who didn’t ‘like’ what they themselves had said during an interview and asked me to change their wording. After hours spent transcribing their Zoom chats, of course, I was baffled until I remembered my younger twenty-something self occasionally writing to journalists and asking them to change my wording.
Truth: we seldom like what we say, and always want to change it. My sincere intention as a writer when interviewing artists is to remind them of the fact that spontaneity actually makes for a more interesting read, and ultimately, gives a more authentic representation of the artist themselves. Obviously, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s my firm belief that this is a challenge we ALL have to overcome.
Did you have any support along the way and if so, is there anyone you would like to thank or highlight?
Oh yes! Georgia Mancio encouraged me to pursue writing after I interviewed her and Alan Broadbent’s wonderful collaboration. She introduced me to Fiona Ross (I believe you know her?) who in turn welcomed me into the Women in Jazz Media team. both incredible women. Fiona, whom I have such gratitude towards, encouraged me to really give life to my voice and actually, opinion on the current art world, whether in my native Athens or abroad. At a particular moment when I hesitated to write about the gender division in Athens, Fiona was very wise to push me to write about it. I realised how much needed to be said. The result was that I received ‘upset ‘ emails from male musicians I had written about, and words of gratitude from female musicians. No surprise there. I’m extremely lucky to know these two women. One more writer I’d like to thank is Sebastian Scotney of London Jazz News. He reached out several times to ask me once to write a few words about my native Beirut, as well as birthday wishes for Composer Tony Haynes. The real honour came when he asked me to write a piece for the ‘ Ten Tracks I can’t do without ‘ segment of the London Jazz News. He was so resourceful and helpful in how to go about it, really making me bust my writer’s chops as it were. I have nothing but gratitude for him as well, and I felt very respected and humbled that he had asked me to write for that segment.
Any words of wisdom or guidance for anyone considering writing?
Yes. The same advice I have for music: write from the heart. Write what you know, and if you don’t know, go, and find out. Write in the moment, leave it alone, and then edit. Trust your voice and seek out the help of those who support you. Read things written by writers you like, or artists you admire, they too have a lot of wonderfully crafted interviews and stories to inspire you.
Don’t forget, ultimately, that writing is synonymous with storytelling. And everyone LOVES stories.
To follow and support Lara please visit her website here
Last modified: February 27, 2023