Exclusive Interview + Secret Show from James Mercer of The Shins

Getting your career as a creator off the ground is hard. Keeping it on the rails after years or decades is even harder. Being one of the best – someone who breaks through to mainstream success? Orders of magnitude harder than all that. The amazing highs are – inevitably – coupled with difficult lows, and learning how to cope with that dynamic is crucial for the sanity + success of anyone who seeks to build a career around their creative passions.

Enter: James Mercer. James is the founder + driving force behind indie rock icons The Shins. With over 20 years in the game, he’s seen just about every facet of the music business – from tiny shows at dives bars to Billboard top 10 albums on major labels – and he’s learned a thing or two along the way. We’ll be unpacking his life into actionable insights to help YOU on your journey as a creator — and getting into the nitty gritty of the how + why he created the new app Pasted (spoiler warning: it’s amazing – creates incredibly cool, cut-n-paste style graphics from the photos on your camera roll – it’s currently on the front screen of my phone).

Oh ya…and James is also going to play an acoustic set.  Yes a secret show, live for you, on the internet.  Do not miss this.  There were people who missed other live shows (like Macklemore and The Lumineers) performed on our CreativeLive “Garage” stage before they went mega platinum.  Don’t make that same mistake here.  This performance by James will be very special 😉

WHO: You, Me, James Mercer, 100 of our friends + a worldwide internet audience

WHAT: LIVE interview + acoustic set with James Mercer of The Shins

WHEN: Thursday, May 11th, 6:00pm Seattle time (9:00pm NYC)

WHERE: Tune in here. It’s free!


  • How long did it take James to “break through” and what did it look like?
  • Those handful of things he’d wished he’d known before he started his journey to make a living with music.
  • Longevity and stamina. How do you stay motivated and inspired after success and hardship, the industry, dealing with the “what’s next” feeling and post-achievement comedown?
  • The artist-as-entrepreneur paradigm. Whether they like it or not, all artists are also entrepreneurs. What does “entrepreneur” mean to James?
  • Collaboration: How do you have co-creators? (eg. his Broken Bells collaboration with Danger Mouse). How do you develop the soft skills to the business? When do you compromise on creative differences and when do you decide to cut ties? And how do you decide what companies to work with? Small indie, big indie and a major – James has worked with them all.


We’ll be giving away a handful of VIP tickets — watch this space for details 🙂 If you’re in the northwest – or willing to travel to meet James and me and be in studio for this secret-not-so-secret show, watch for giveaways on my social channels, CreativeLive’s social channel, and James/Shins’ social channels.

LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY… special shout + thanks to CreativeLive and who make this show possible.

Chase Jarvis FOLLOW >

Chase Jarvis is the co-founder and CEO of CreativeLive, a world-renowned photographer and director, and lifelong student.