Benjamin Booker has had a big year. On the strength of a homemade demo that caught on strong, the 25-year-old musician has signed with a big label, toured with Jack White, booked sets at Lollapalooza and the Newport Folk Festival and been a musical guest for David Letterman and Conan O'Brien.
A few years ago, Booker had his eyes on a different prize: working at NPR. He applied for an internship ... and was rejected. But in a conversation with weekends on All Things Considered host Arun Rath, he says missing out on the gig opened the door to many more, setting him on the path to making music professionally.
Booker's self-titled studio debut, an album of what he calls "punk blues" inspired by his experiences with religion, relationships and friends in low places, is out Aug. 19. Hear the interview at the audio link.