Japanese Breakfast is the musical project of Michelle Zauner, who’s been making music under that name since 2013. In July 2017, she released her second album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, to critical acclaim.
In this episode, Michelle breaks down a song from that album called “Boyish,” along with her co-producer and bandmate Craig Hendrix. We’ll hear the original demo, plus a version Michelle recorded with her old band. And she’ll talk about how her perspective on the song has changed over the years.
In September 2018, Hozier released the song “Nina Cried Power,” which features the legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples. In this episode, Hozier breaks down how he made the song, and Mavis Staples tells the story of how she got involved.
Yo-Yo Ma is perhaps the most famous and well-loved cellist in the world. He was born in Paris in 1955; his family moved to the US when he was 7. He played for President Kennedy that year. He played at Carnegie Hall for the first time when he was 16. He’s won 18 Grammys and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And for this special episode of Song Exploder, the last episode of this year, Yo-Yo Ma’s is going to break down this piece—which he didn’t create, but he’s performed so many times. It’s the Prelude from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite Number 1 in G Major. It’s one of the most famous pieces of music written for the cello. Yo-Yo Ma first recorded the Bach Cello Suites in 1983, at age 27. He recorded them again in 1998. Now, at age 62, he’s recorded them for what he says may be the last time. It’s for an album called Six Evolutions: Bach Cello Suites. Yo-Yo Ma talked to me about what’s changed about the way he approaches this piece of music.