Artist: Erik Koskinen
Hometown: St. Peter, Minnesota
Latest album: Burning the Deal
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
Playing with Tom Rush was great, because he was a big influence when I was young. I’ve played with a lot of others as well. Also, the first time I looked up and saw a good-size audience singing along to one of my songs.
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
Literature and poetry. When it’s good it has flow and rhythm like music does. Good writing makes you think, it doesn’t tell you what to think, and songwriting should be like that as well.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I was in a play on stage acting with no music and I got a standing ovation from 700 people at age 11 and I was hooked on the stage. Rock ‘n’ roll came a few years after that and connecting with an audience deeply is what we strive for. Otherwise we’d stay home and play to ourselves.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
That has changed over the years, but now I live on an old farm and I have a garden that is big enough to feed my family and the neighbors. I am not great at it but I do it a lot, so something is bound to grow.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
All the time, or never at all. The thing about songwriting is that you can lie, tell the truth, scam, fool, be humble, and exaggerate. And we might never tell the secrets beyond that. That is our right as songwriters. We need to leave it up to the listener to decide for themselves what is and what isn’t.
Photo Credit: Darin Kamnetz