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Flies in the Kitchen

Hey Everybody, welcome to the podcast.  I'm Dan Heidt. This is a show about creators and their stories.


May 18, 2023

“Our theme music was composed by BJ Leiderman.”

If you’ve tuned in to NPR over the last 44 years, the likelihood is pretty great that you have heard this on-air credit. It’s because when BJ sold his themes to NPR, he made it a part of his contract that he would receive spoken recognition for his work. Little did he know he’d become one of the most recognizable names on the network.

BJ’s NPR credits include Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me, Marketplace, Car Talk, and Science Friday.


BJ  has been in the music making business his entire life, and it encompasses much more than 30 second jingles (although he is damn good at them).  In 2017, BJ released his debut album of original songs, entitled
“BJ”, although that wasn’t his first choice. “Natural Public Leiderman” didn’t sit all that well with NPR’s lawyers, so he went with the more eponymous title.


So much to share with all of you good folks!  If you click on the album above (the NPR-approved version), you’ll be directed to his website where not only can you purchase this fine collection, he also has shared multiple fantastic videos of his songs, including a funky animated interpretation of “Walking Down The Street”, a boppy, upbeat song about getting dumped by his girlfriend and subsequently making his way to the top of the Empire State Building and jumping off the observation deck, plus all the adventures and observations on the way down. Yep, boppy.

We talk at length about the album, the personal investment in the songwriting, where they come from, and what they draw their life from. We also talk about the purpose of music in "moving the needle", so to speak. Good, good stuff. He really is a deeply thoughtful and intentional songwriter and you know right away where he stands when you hear it.

If you're an Ashvillian, check out the BJL in AVL group on Facebook that we chatted about.  He's hoping to get the ball rolling for an in-person meet up -- mostly so he can get out from behind a computer screen and into the real world with real people!

Oh, and if you are still unsure if you’ve heard his music on the radio, enjoy this video he put together a few years back. The most creative self promotional media I believe I’ve ever seen!