The movie Almost Famous very well may be what brought writer and video producer Blair Waters to where she is today. As they say, life imitates art.
“I was seeking out to be a writer. When I was 12 I saw Almost Famous and I decided that that was gonna be my life. I wanted to be a music writer,” Waters shared.
Today, she is a freelance writer and music video director, but before that she was a writer and executive director at Nylon Magazine for almost three years. Before that gig, she was an intern for Rolling Stone magazine exactly like Almost Famous.
Waters lives in Brooklyn where she writes and has thrived in the magazine and music world. But she has been all over the map. “I grew up on the Virgin Islands, not aware of anything outside it. When I came to the U.S I went to Borders and I just looked at all the music magazines and I wrote to all of them asking to review, not telling them I was in 8th grade.” Magazines like Punk Planet unknowingly had a middle-schooler, young Blair Waters, writing music reviews from them.
Waters wrote throughout her adolescence, but then “went to art school and fell out of it”. This art school was MassArt, one of the Colleges of the Fenway. At MassArt she received a bachelor’s degree in a program she described as a “really weird program… an experimental major there. There was a lot involved with electronics and video but there were also people dressed up like trashcans.” After graduation and the trashcan costumes were set aside, she made her way to New York as a reporter for Nylon.
At Nylon, Waters originally was involved with Nylon TV and making the videos for the magazine’s website. One day something needed to be written up about a band, and she had had lots of music writing experience, so the job was hers. From there, she wrote impressive pieces such as “Weird, Wild U.S.A” that described quirky places found across the continent, and interviewed household names such as Iggy Azalea.
Nowadays, Waters is still writing but mostly focusing on producing music videos. Currently she is trying to track down ten elderly people to twerk to a remix of a Notorious B.I.G. song.
“I’m really excited about music videos, but I also really want to do long form music writing,” She shared. “Journalism is getting scary. It’s all listicals. You don’t write your own thing anymore, you just rewrite things people have already written. So I’m looking to do that.”
In a world of Buzzfeed-type listicals that only get as deep as “top ten” lists, it can look pretty scary out there for aspiring journalists. So Waters advises that one of the most important things to do in being a writer is to keep your voice. “Don’t be afraid to write things for anyone! But also make sure you still write for yourself, and keep your own style. Or else you won’t stand out to anyone.”
And if anyone knows anything about standing out in a crowd, it must come from a girl who chased after magazines as a kid and found her life just like the movies.