"Indispensable [reading] about the feminine journey through a man's world"
An intimate look at the lives of our most celebrated female musicians—and their challenges with fame—from a legendary music journalist
Over four decades, Lisa Robinson has made a name for herself as a celebrated journalist in a business long known for its boys’ club mentality. But to Robinson, the female performers who sat down with her, most often at the peak of their careers, were the true revelations.
Based on conversations with more than forty female artists, Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls is a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the effects of success on some of music’s most famous women. From Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Alanis Morissette and Linda Ronstadt to Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Adele, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and numerous others, Robinson reveals the private obsessions and public distractions that musicians contend with in their pursuit of stardom. From these interviews emerge candid portraits of how these women—regardless of genre or decade—deal with image, abuse, love, motherhood, family, sex, drugs, business, and age.
Complete with reflections from Robinson’s own career as a pioneering female music writer, Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls offers an overdue consideration of how hopes, dreams, and the drive for recognition have propelled our most beloved female musicians to take the stage and leave an undeniable, lasting musical mark on the world.
Music journalist and Vanity Fair contributing editor Robinson (There Goes Gravity) highlights the challenges of being a woman in the music business in these passionate, insightful essays. Here she shares excerpts from 5,000 hours of taped conversations she conducted from the 1970s to the present with female musicians including Beyonc , Katy Perry, and Patti Smith. Revealing interviews include Adele talking about juggling music-making and motherhood; Sheryl Crow expounding on fame and aging; and Mary J. Blige and Bonnie Raitt discussing substance abuse. Throughout, Robinson inserts observations about the artists she admires, such as Lady Gaga (an "exception in candor" who spoke openly with Robinson about the drugs she took in the years before she was famous) and Joni Mitchell ("a true artist"); she also mentions artists she doesn't care for, like Taylor Swift, an "overtly ambitious musician" who, when she learned that Robinson worked for Vanity Fair, "lasered in on me like something out of The Exorcist." The blocks of interview quotes sometimes overwhelm the narrative, but Robinson keeps things moving with her sharp takes and witty asides. ("With social media and all that butt-baring and body shaming going on, it's a miracle that any female has the guts to make a record," she says.) This entertaining highlight reel of music interviews crackles with energy.