Justin Lewis has Something for Nothing

Justin P. Lewis is the host of his very own podcast named “Something from Nothing” on WKMS. He’s a Paducah native who grew up immersed in sports but, as an adult, he developed an interest in the arts. He explores the creative process in others but doesn’t consider himself an artist. iMeet this man who is definitely something!

Hi, Justin! Welcome to iMeet. Tell us about yourself...

​I was born in Paducah and graduated from Heath High School. Then I went to Murray State University before finishing my education with a Masters from Harding School of Theology.  

As a child I grew up on sports. Taking an interest in the arts developed later in college and as an adult.

We hear you’re married to an avid knitter…

I've been married to my wife Erin for 12 years. ​She is a distinguished knitter and her sewing skills are not far behind. She works at McCracken County Library and has her own hashtag…#whereerinknits - a nod to the wide variety of public sites she has been spotted knitting. We enjoy traveling and cycling together. 

Tell us about your podcast "Something from Nothing"...

​The "tagline" for Something from Nothing is, "a podcast about the creative process and the individuals involved." The show focuses on artists, musicians, and people who start new things. The vast majority of the guests who have been featured on the show live in Paducah - or did at the time of the interview.

One exception is Jerry Phillips who was in town for an art exhibit at Yeiser Art Center. featuring his work. He was a part of the show because of  his interesting story and because he is a Murray State Alum. 

In the first season the style of the show was primarily me interviewing the artists or musicians on their respective skills. In the second season, the show has taken on a narrative, storytelling style. There is more of a scripted portion of me talking directly to the audience. 

How did this podcast come about?

​I had considered starting a podcast for some time. WKMS had a "call to the community" for people who had podcast ideas. They were willing to give some editorial guidance and a platform for the podcast to have high visibility. After emailing my idea, I met with the station director, Chad Lampe and he gave me some basic equipment with a short tutorial. I did a practice interview on my wife who is an accomplished fiber artist before recording the pilot episode with singer/songwriter Daniel Neihoff.​

​They are released weekly on Wednesdays and portions of the show can occasionally be heard on Sounds Good on WKMS.​ The shows are always available online. You can subscribe via a podcast app. iTunes and Google Play are options too. Information about the “Something from Nothing” podcast is at wkms.org and you can access each episode. Season three will be available in April.

What are some of your favorite highlights from the show?…

Most of the interviews are conducted on the artists "home turf." I make an effort to go to where they do their craft to add a sense of place. One of the most memorable interview spots was with musician Nathan Blake Lynn in his van...down by the river. 

It's very exciting when I am recording someone shares an interesting part of the creative process or tell a story that I know will translate well to the audience. A couple examples include Chris Black's episode when he told me about playing live at bars. He gave insight as to what it's like as a musician with people sometimes not giving attention but he also shared how he understood the perspective of the restaurant patron as well. It is one of my favorite pieces of the show so far.​ 

Stacey Reason from the Yeiser was able to give a unique perspective of how a museum curator arranges a show with a "theatrical" goal in mind. There was also Randall Griggs' story where he shared that he was kind of forced to make art his livelihood - that was an interesting story.

Amelia Martens has a fascinating story about the way she first used poetry- as a way to handle emotional life events when she was just a child.

Ultimately, what is best for me is being able to develop so many unique relationships with creatives in town. I've made a number of friendships over the past year simply because of the show. I also have become a collector of art from each artist I've had on the show. 

Do you consider yourself an artist?

​I'm not sure anyone would call me an artist in the traditional sense of the word. Although I briefly tried to pick up the mandolin, I'm not very musical nor do I have any specific drawing, sculpting, or painting skills. But, in my opinion, creating podcast episodes is an art. It definitely exercises my creative side. ​

Where have you worked before now and do you work anywhere else?

​I've been a counselor for my entire career. After eight years as a Marriage and Family Therapist I recently made a change and now work for the state of Kentucky as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.​

What do you like to do in your free time?

That is when I work on my podcast. Seems like I am almost always in some phase of the podcasting process; whether that is planning, interviewing, transcribing, writing, editing, or mixing. 

Additionally, my wife and I both are avid cyclists and in the summer months spend time on the road riding our bicycles.​ ​We also enjoy helping organize the Moonlight Bike Ride which is held in Paducah each year. ​

What's something that you've never done before but would love to do?

​I've traveled to four continents and I would like to visit the rest - excluding Antartica. Learning other cultures is intriguing to me.​

Living or dead, who has had the biggest influence on your life?

​As a podcaster, I'm influenced most by Ira Glass who hosts the radio show/podcast This American Life. I really like the way he comes across on air and I use it as something to emulate. ​

Thanks for being our iMeet this week, Justin. We hope your show is a big hit. And you’re welcome to use iMeet for ideas on people to interview.  #ilovepaducah