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VOL. 129 | NO. 130 | Friday, July 04, 2014

Creatives Talking

New podcast celebrates city’s creative resurgence

By Andy Meek

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Memphis is experiencing a creative resurgence. And Billy Nation and Andrew Lebowitz, two friends who work at the marketing communications firm Oden, want to talk about it.

Billy Nation, who with Andrew Lebowitz started the Creative Memphis Podcast, in the home studio where  the hour-long podcast is produced. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Back in April, they started the “Creative Memphis Podcast,” a roughly hour-long chat they co-host that features a conversation with a guest who does creative work in some form or fashion. They envisioned the project as a kind of megaphone to support and celebrate creatives in Memphis, as well as the resurgence of positive energy and feeling they feel is spreading around the city.

The podcast can be found both at their website, creativememphispodcast.com, and in Apple’s iTunes marketplace. Its tagline is “A podcast about Memphis and the creatives who live there.”

“We decided to do this, because we’re both in the creative field as professionals,” Lebowitz said of the show, of which there have been a handful of episodes so far. “We felt there was a really strong movement in Memphis celebrating creativity and starting to sort of form this community around creative professionals and artists and those types of people. This is where we think a lot of potential for Memphis lies – in really celebrating the power of creativity and collaboration.”

So far, guests the hosts have talked to have included entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, sculptors – anybody, really, who they feel is doing something outside the status quo and doing things in creative and new ways. Guests have included people like Holly Whitfield of the “I Love Memphis” blog and Memphis rapper Marco Pave.

“We want the actual artists,” Lebowitz said. “People who are making work who don’t necessarily always have the opportunity to promote themselves. We want to give them the opportunity to do that.”

“We felt there was a really strong movement in Memphis celebrating creativity and starting to sort of form this community around creative professionals and artists.”

–Andrew Lebowitz

To the podcast’s Facebook followers, the pair recently explained in a post that the shows aren’t really scripted to any degree. They tend to know in advance what the guests will want to promote, the pair will research them and also try to keep things loose and natural so that not much in the way of prep is required.

“It’s like we’re trying to take a mirror and turn it on the creative scene and say, ‘Look at all of these interesting organizations and people going on right now in Memphis,’” Nation said. “So, ‘Come to Memphis, stay here, learn here, because we’re growing. There’s something exciting here.’

“We both thought Memphis is going through what some people might call the New Memphis and others the Memphis renaissance.”

By way of their respective backgrounds, Nation is a production artist, podcaster, photographer and painter who graduated from the University of Memphis graphic design program. Lebowitz is designer who started out studying engineering in college but ended up at the Memphis College of Art for graphic design.

They met and struck a friendship through work, and realized they both have a particular passion for talking about and championing creatives in Memphis.

“I always wanted to have a voice, some kind of project like this to work on with someone else, and when Andrew and I started up our friendship, this kind of podcast just came out organically and we started running with that,” Nation said. “Most of our conversation is with the guest. We’ll have an intro at the beginning, then an intro song, then we’ll go into the featured guest spot. Sometimes we’ll discover a little about this person’s past, projects they’re currently working on, projects they’re going to, and we’ll talk about whatever issues are interesting to them – about anything related to creativity in Memphis.”

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