Interviewing someone is a skill. It’s easy to mess it up. That’s why I wanted to share this interview. It’s one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen and I think it’s educational for those wanting to be better interviewers. Also, this is a great commentary on the creative process and can be applied to many different areas.
It’s an interview with Kendrick Lamar by Rick Rubin. Kendrick Lamar is widely considered one of the best lyricists and rappers in the music industry. Additionally, Rick Rubin is considered one of the best music producers out there.
Ok, a small caveat. Sharing this video does not mean I condone their music. But I think what was evidenced through the video is important enough to share in spite of that.
What is the purpose of an interview?
There are interviews we see on television by people like Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. The purpose of those interviews is entertainment. They’re wanting to be funny or silly on purpose. As a result, the host might speak quite a lot.
For most of us, though, we engage with interviews on video, podcast, or in church, for the sake of inspiration or information. If we’re clear that our job as the host or interviewer is to help someone be inspired by their story, or help others have the information that they have, then that should affect how we interview.
How to interview someone well:
1. Realize it’s not about you.
There are different kinds of interviews. Some are intended to be more of a conversation, but most of the time if someone tunes into an interview, it’s cause they want to hear from the person being interviewed. They’re not looking to hear from you. In this video, Rick Rubin almost disappears. He stands still. The attention is completely on the subject being interviewed.
This is really hard to do for most people, especially if the interviewer is a person of prominence. But, yet, Rick Ruben holds back. He’s confident, yet humble.
2. You should know the person and their material really well.
It’s evident that Rick Ruben has spent a lot of time listening to Kendrick Lamar’s music. This allows him to ask really deep questions.
3. Be genuinely curious.
I think this is one of the best hallmarks of good interviewers. They’re people who are curious. Rick Ruben does not come across as stressed at all. You can tell he’s not thinking about what questions he’s going to ask next. He’s being present in the conversation and being naturally curious.
Ok, enough talk. Here’s the video below.
So what do you think? What would you add to the list? To leave a comment in the blog post write it below or click here.