Andrea Swensson is the first person who ever wrote a word about me... She’s an outspoken champion of the local music scene and a longtime advocate for overlooked musicians.
Prince had an eye for talent. Local talent, for certain. So it’s no wonder he noticed music writer Andrea Swensson.
A singular voice amid the click-bait multitudes, she writes straight from the head and heart and attempts to reinvent the art of music journalism every time out.
JEREMY MESSERSMITH, ARTIST
JANA SHORTAL, KARE-11
JIM WALSH, MINNPOST
Andrea Swensson grew up in Moose Lake, Minnesota, and started writing about music as a teenager in a diary she hid under her mattress. She briefly contemplated a career as a classically trained concert pianist at Hamline University, and later studied creative writing at Metro State. In 2007, she co-founded and was managing editor at Reveille Magazine, a music magazine for “the casual fans, the music lovers, the freaks, the audiophiles, the hipsters, the scenesters, the quiet ones in the corner of the bar who sway softly to the music.”
From 2008 to 2012, Andrea was music editor at the Twin Cities' premier alt-weekly, City Pages, where she managed dozens of freelance writers, recruited new talent, shaped the tone of the music section, researched and wrote extensive cover stories, interviewed national acts, created the award-winning Gimme Noise blog, and wrote a whopping 2,472 posts.
In January 2012, she moved to Minnesota Public Radio to found the Local Current Blog. In 2015 she created The O.K. Show podcast, an intimate interview series where she talked heart-to-heart with musicians about music, mental health and their real-life struggles. And in November 2015, she was named host and producer of The Local Show and spent the next six years exploring Minnesota’s local music scene, past and present, on the airwaves.
Her first book, Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound, chronicles the Twin Cities funk and soul scene from the 1950s-1970s and traces a generation of political upheaval, racism, rebellion, and artistic passion that paved the way for Prince and his genre-blurring new sound. It was released in October 2017 by the University of Minnesota Press and was honored with a Minnesota Book Award.
Additionally, Andrea has contributed freelance writing to Paisley Park, where she has written several tour guide books about Prince's archives, in addition to NPR Music, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Artful Living, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Since departing MPR in the spring of 2021, Andrea continues to write relentlessly about both emerging local artists and the ongoing legacy of Prince. She is currently the host and co-producer of the Official Prince Podcast, an ongoing series that creates documentary storytelling around iconic Prince releases like 1999 and Sign O' The Times. The podcast is produced in collaboration with the Prince Estate, The Current, Warner Records, and Sony Legacy.