Music hums at the heart of entertainment and popular culture. In New Orleans, a city famous for its strong musical heritage, we hear from industry veterans who explore the world of music entertainment journalism and criticism from the view onstage and backstage.
Panelists: Jeff Nelson, Keith Spera
JEFF NELSON joined PEOPLE’s editorial team in 2013. He writes and reports breaking news, is live on the red carpet during awards season and covers a wide variety of film, music, TV, celebrity and human interest stories. Nelson has scored exclusive sit-downs with everyone from Barry Manilow to Madonna and, as the front-of-book editor, he manages a team of writers, reporters, designers and photo editors. A Minnesota native, Nelson graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with a degree in journalism and mass communication. He lives in New York City.
KEITH SPERA is a native of New Orleans. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science, he ditched law school plans and returned to his hometown to write. He edited the monthly entertainment magazine OffBeat before joining the staff of The Times-Picayune newspaper in 1996 as its music critic. He rode out Hurricane Katrina at the paper’s office and was part of its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage team. He moved to the New Orleans Advocate in 2015 and now works for the combined New Orleans Advocate-Times Picayune. He is the author of the 2011 book “Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal and the Music of New Orleans”; has contributed to Rolling Stone, Relix, L.A. Weekly and other publications; and appears frequently on TV and radio. He wrote the main essay for Smithsonian Folkways’ acclaimed 2019 boxed set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.