Billy Joel to Train to ‘The Man I Never Met’, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter

Chances are you saw Adam Schefter this past Sunday morning on ESPN, providing some inside knowledge on the coming week four games — confirming Cardinal’s WR Larry Fitzgerald would play, detailing the opportunity Drew Brees has to break the all-time passing yards record and how the Patriots have not lost three games in a row since 2002. Schefter joined ESPN as a football analyst in 2009 but has been one of the most trusted and renowned professional football minds for over 25 years.

It’s fair to say Schefter’s tireless work ethic is an art unto itself. That instilled drive has also pushed him to write numerous books. His most recent The Man I Never Met, released on September 4th, is a heartfelt personal journey — sharing he and his wife’s Sharri’s story while paying tribute to Joe Maio, who past tragically in 9/11.

But how does a thorough, in-demand reporter keep focused while releasing a powerful new book at the same time as the NFL season kicking off? Or during the height of free agency, the spectacle that is the NFL draft and throughout the unpredictable six-month season? Well, music certainly helps. Regardless of profession, it’s a companion like no other that can both settle and ignite the fire. With that in mind, we are thrilled to have Schefter here as our next “How Music Has Influenced My Life and Career” guest.

How important is music to you?

It’s amazing how music can dictate your moods. I find myself often listening to music, sports talk radio or podcasts. I am constantly trying to get work done, but when I was in college and in my early 20’s, I’d be spending that time listening to music. As much as I love music and admire so many musicians, I always wish I have more time to invest in it. I supposed it’s a lot like the way people feel about exercising. But there is nothing like losing yourself in a song and having it take you to a place in your life that is meaningful and powerful.

How prevalent was music in your upbringing?

I grew up on Long Island. I was big into Billy Joel, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. It sounds cliché, but those artists have always been huge in the New York area, especially Billy Joel and Bruce. I’m still a huge fan of theirs.

Your routine appears quite busy — where you are often hustling, making an appearance or on the phone. Do you have moments where you need to turn to music to regain your focus, calm down or just take a minute to yourself? If so, what is that like for you?

It’s funny you say that, there are times where I am driving up to Bristol, CT to get to ESPN and I’ll be listening to sports talk radio and I’ll think to myself — I’ve had enough of this. I’m just going to put on music and relax. I’ll put on Sirius satellite radio. When I’m by myself, I’ll listen to the stations Pulse, Hits or Blend.Taking my daughter to and from school, she always wants to listen to Radio Disney. I’ve grown to love Radio Disney myself. They do a great job, and I don’t think it’s just for kids.

What about when you are about to go on air or you’re about to give a report on a particular segment, do you have a place you go to listen to music and prepare? Like an athlete in the locker room before taking the field?

I was doing Golic and Wingo recently and we were talking about how baseball players have their walk-up songs to fire them up before an at-bat. They asked me what would be my walk-up song coming on to the Golic and Wingo show? There’s this song that Brian McKnight and Diana King sang called “When We Were Kings.” When I was in Colorado covering the Denver Broncos back in the day, I was covering their back-to-back Super Bowl wins with John Elway, and the local NBC affiliate at the time made this video of them to the song “When We Were Kings”. It was so powerful and emotional watching the video to that music. The song always fascinated me because of that. So, I said it would be my walk-up song. Now most of the time when I come on Golic and Wingo, they play “When We Were Kings”. I also have a weekly radio appearance in Dallas on a station with Steve Dennis and Tim Cowlishaw. They asked me what music would get me fired up to come on? I thought about who I would love to see in concert. I told them Train. Now when I go on their show every Thursday, they have a Train song come on and it really does get me fired up.

Denver has a great music scene that flies under the radar a bit. When you lived there, were you inspired by the local arts scene?

Denver has put out a lot of amazing musical acts. I was there for 16 years and witnessed some incredible things. One Republic is from Denver. I wrote a book with Mike Shanahan and he is very close with Ryan Tedder from One Republic because he went to school with Mike’s daughter. I’m very proud of Colorado, I love that place.

My favorite music station in Colorado is KBCO, they have this tremendous DJ named Bret Saunders. They have this place called Studio C. They would get great artists to come in there and perform a song, and then they’d put out an album for charity at the end of the year. I would call in to the show. Sarah McLachlan was going to sing in Studio C and Brett invited me up. Not only did I get to attend, but it was just me and her in the room. The room was the size of a tiny recording studio and I am literally sitting next to her as she’s singing “Angel”. That was unbelievable. It’s something I will never forget.

Your new book The Man I Never Met, is a very moving story. I’m sure there were some heavy moments in writing it. With that in mind, was there ever music that accompanied your personal journey during the process?

The one song that is featured in there is “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed. It always reminded my wife Sharri of her late husband Joe, he loved that song. That’s why we wrote about it in the book. They had a 15-month-old son at the time of his passing in the 9/11. We’ve made some musical videos for him over the years and we’ve used “With Arms Wide Open” in them because of how much meaning it has.

First Concert: The Doobie Brothers in Saratoga. I went to a sleep-away camp up there and the camp took us to see the show.

Most Recent Concert: I was supposed to go see Train in June and meet Pat Monahan, but unfortunately the plan got squashed for several reasons at the last minute. But my wife and I took my daughter to go see Taylor Swift in Foxboro this past July.

Favorite Concert: Back in Denver at the Pepsi Center, I saw Billy Joel and Elton John together. I love Van Morrison and I saw him play at Red Rocks, that certainly stands out. I saw Natalie Merchant at a small venue in Denver called the Fillmore Auditorium. There were maybe 500 people there. I was five rows back and it was beyond great.

Current Top Three Favorite Artists: Train, Ed Sheeran, Adele.

Grab a copy of Adam Schefter’s new book The Man I Never Met HERE:

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