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There are stories we tell ourselves. There are stories we tell our friends. There are the stories we tell strangers. There are stories we never tell.
Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, is the Third Story. The intersection between the art and the craft, making a living and doing the living, the personal and the professional…The place where all of these meet is the Third Story.

The Third story features long-form interviews with creative people of all types, hosted by me, Leo Sidran. Their stories of discovery, loss, ambition, identity, improvisation, risk, and reward are deeply moving and compelling for all of us as we embark on our own creative journeys.

In addition to my passion for discovering and sharing the stories of others, I have built a career in New York as a musician and producer. Learn more at

Sep 9, 2015

This week, Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” begins, replacing David Letterman and starting a new tradition for late night television. Colbert chose young powerhouse pianist Jon Batiste to lead his band, and Batiste in turn selectedMichael Thurber to play bass in the band.

I've talked with both Batiste and Thurber for this podcast in the past, discussing their early musical development and general outlook on music today. In celebration of The Late Show's kickoff, I compiled some highlights from our  previous conversations, as well as a conversation I had with Will Lee, the veteran Late Show bassist from Letterman's band.

I also had a chance to catch up with both Will Lee and Michael Thurber this week to find out what they’re thinking about right now. For Will, after playing for over 30 years on the Letterman show, he feels a new sense of freedom in his schedule and career. For Thurber, there’s a sense of excitement and uncertainty about the next phase of his life and the evolution of the new show.

Individually, each conversation offers an enlightening look into the personal journeys all artists take, the difficult choices they must make, and the overall sense of wonder about life that they all share.

Taken as a whole, to me they paint an incredibly inspirational picture of how to approach life and art.


All three are extremely generous and open people, and their openness, candor and generosity point to a larger truth about success in the arts: when you work on your craft, you are really working on yourself. It’s not that art imitates life; art is life.