On the importance of storytelling

Humans love stories. We love to be entranced by a wonderful tale and sucked in to another moment, another life, even if for a brief moment. We like stories that play with our emotions and make us feel something on a profoundly deep level. We like to learn, to understand, to relate, to be able to change, to look back, to push forward. We thirst for something to inspire us. We hunger for unexpected connections with others.

This is why we love storytelling.

I have always loved stories and storytelling and I have always thought it a very important part of my life. This past year in Interactive Media gave it a new importance for me as I studied communication theories, branding strategies, and marketing and advertising. I have come to appreciate the use of storytelling as a content marketing strategy and through my digital storytelling class, I have discovered the beauty of storytelling through digital, interactive mediums. But where I have truly appreciated storytelling this year, is in the realm of my master’s thesis. Storytelling helped me to unexpectedly connect with artists and attract their interest in my project. Because of storytelling, I was able to get an interview with BIG Something, with Bassnectar (see the story here) and with Noah Gersh of Portugal. The Man….so here’s my story on that one:

When I first started coming up with a list of potential artists to interview for my website, I started locally. I thought of all the bands that have performed at the local bar here and contacted them, thinking they’d be the easiest to reach because of the local connection. Then I thought of bands from my hometown and coming from such a small, tight knit community…I knew they would want to help out. But then I wanted to reach out to bands who have really personal meaning to me. I wanted to be able to feature bands and artists who inspire me, who have touched me on some level, and who I would be so ecstatic to be able to include on my website. This desire led me to Portugal. The Man. I managed to find the e-mails of their managers and press contacts and sent this this story:

I first saw Portugal. The Man live in 2008 when they were the opener for RX Bandits in Philadelphia. It has been so amazing to watch PTM grow from that moment and become the headliner of concerts and take the stage at awesome festivals all over the world. The most recent PTM performance I’ve experienced was at Virgin Mobile Free Fest in Maryland this past fall and I can’t wait to see them again. It would be an honor to be able to include their interview on my site and I really hope y’all will consider participating in my project.

And then I attached the picture of my first Portugal. The Man ticket, along with the guitar pick I got from John Gourley (lead vocals, guitar, etc.).


Of course this is a super short story, but I knew I was dealing with people in the music industry and they’re undoubtedly on very hectic schedules, so I had to be short, sweet, and to-the-point (I included other details on my project, by the way). I figured they wouldn’t want to read a multiple page essay on how Portugal. The Man’s music was the founding principle of my 4-year relationship with my ex-boyfriend and whenever I listen to their songs, I immediately think of him. And I also didn’t want to talk about my weird crush on John Gourley either. I had to go the safer route.

John Gourley and I in 2010 after a show in Pittsburgh

John Gourley and I in 2010 after a show in Pittsburgh

I honestly didn’t expect a response. I mean…Portugal. The Man now plays at festivals like SXSW, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella. I figured they wouldn’t even read my e-mail. But then I got a response from one of their managers. Who just casually said “we can help you do that. want to just e-mail questions?”

Uhhhhhhh. WHAT?! YES I WANT TO E-MAIL YOU QUESTIONS. I WILL DO ANYTHING YOU WANT IN THIS WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. Want me to eat a whole anchovy pizza even though I would never dare do such a disgusting thing? I’ll do that. Want me to touch an open flame? I’ll do that, too. Is this getting weird? I just love you.

So, I immediately called my ex-boyfriend (PTM still bringing us together). And I called my parents. Nothing was set in stone, but their managers got back to me!! And I was maybe getting an interview with PTM!?! And I think it’s all because of my little story. It helped their managers and I connect. They could relate to me and they could see my passion for the band and they truly wanted to help out. Just another reason Portugal. The Man and their whole crew are just so amazingly wonderful. They love their fans and they are so humble.

So after some more e-mailing back and forth, I got an interview. A real interview. All 5 of my questions answered by Noah Gersh of Portugal. The man. It warmed my soul to read. I’m not going to divulge the interview here, but on May 19…you can see it on my website, Simply Vibes. You won’t want to miss it. And I hope you enjoyed my story.


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