Leor Galil has been a Music Staff Writer for The Reader since 2012 but has seen the music writing industry at work for more than a decade. From starting his own emo blog, to becoming a consistently paid music writer for a medium-sized local weekly, Galil has wisdom that can sometimes feel inaccessible. I talked to him to find out from a larger music publication standpoint, how he views changes in media, setting yourself apart, and the unique compliments of music and writing.
When he graduated during the recession, he explains, the market was tough and there was a lot of competition in the writing field. To combat this, he zoomed in on a particular scene: Emo. Although it didn’t get as big as he thought it would, he found the holes in how other people were talking about emo music. By talking about how other publications might’ve been getting it wrong, he built a resource that would then be able to show potential employers his passions, and ability to clarify those passions on paper.
Although he admits it would take a big fall of major publications to create the media space for music pubs to step up and get paid the way they should, the stories are out there. “Music seems to be a fringe interest which is depressing. Outlets that don’t put more investment into music is horrible for society.” Moreover, Leor believes that writing about music and the passion for doing so is a fluctuating dynamic: “There are so many people looking for stuff to write about. I wake up and I’m both excited, and overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I want to write about. I can’t expect the number of us that are gainfully employed to do it all.” This leaves it up to all writers to dig deeper and find what no one is writing about. In school, Leor was told to look for stories everywhere, and though it seemed daunting at first, he realized he was already assessing the world that way, chasing and researching any song or musical topic that caught his eye.
His advice to people just starting off is that it’s going to be a lot of work; build a resource, do your research, and pitch, pitch, pitch. Though the media system is flawed with capitalism, and hierarchy, getting hired as a writer is, “the same as it ever was”. Familiarize yourself with the publication you’re looking to work for. Write a pitch, and then work with the editor on your piece: “The editor pays attention to everything.” Show the editor you’re the person that can write a certain story better than the next person. “Everyone’s time is hard to come by,” Galil explains, ‘if you can’t do it in a coherent, short paragraph, how do we trust you? Show you under our voice, that you will write something for us”. Submitting to become a contributor is just like applying for a job; an employer generally thinks you need them more than they need you. Prove them otherwise. Prove to them that they can’t get work like yours anywhere else; and without you, their organization won’t be the same. Have confidence in your pitch, stay true to your voice and the way you see a story in comparison to how the person next to you might see it.
“If you’re obsessed, fascinated, in love with something, you don’t stop at 5. You fight for the stories you believe in.”
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