If you know me, you know I live and breathe music. I’m addicted to hearing sounds and of course a smooth beat. I can talk for hours about how I’m married to it. Being a musician now, I have a different love and appreciation for the art. Whenever I put on my headphones, it’s like I’m studying. I just love the sound of a beautiful voice and a note that’s hit just in the right place– kind of like when you hit a softball right on the sweet spot of your bat and it just jumps.
Anyways, I’ve compiled a list of 10 songs that have a significant meaning in my life.
- “Woman of the Sun“ – Hugh Masekela
When I was around 9 or 10 years old, I would ride around in the car with my Dad and he would always play this song. I remember loving the way it sounded; the choir in the back chanting “woman of the sun” was one of the most beautiful things that I had ever heard being a young girl. This is a song full of agency and love for being a black woman. This became a song that would echo in my head, I wanted to be the woman of the sun when I was younger. That’s not exactly the point of the song though– the point is that it acknowledges all black women as women of the sun. I’ll always love my Dad for teaching me so many lessons through music and I especially thank both of my parents for blessing me with a voice that can sing because, damn did I sing this song. This was my foundation for what I loved about music.
2. “If I ain’t got you“ by Alicia Keys
This is by far my most played out song as a human haha. This is that “go to” song for me to sing as a singer and it’s so funny because I know my family is terribly tired of hearing this damn song. If you know me though, you know I adore Alicia Keys. She’s my idol and I’m a stan. My mom bought me tickets to see her and Miguel live when I was 14 and that’s when I realized that I’m probably queer. I used to sit in my room and blast her “Unplugged” live CD to this track. She makes me mad emotional and it’s not like my little ass had felt much pain in terms of heartbreak but I don’t know, her songs just be hittin. I actually sang this song for my first solo performance in 8th grade, for a talent show my sophomore year of high school AND in college at an open mic my freshman year. I’ll never forget that talent show sophomore year though because I messed up so bad on the chorus. My voice cracked hard for NO reason in front of 100 something people. But, at least I finished singing the song. Nonetheless, that moment opened up a lot of opportunities for me in high school so I’m glad I did it for sure.
3. “To Zion“ by Lauren Hill
This is another song that my Dad used to play in the car a lot. I remember feeling so connected to the guitar in the intro and the instruments that strung along with her voice so beautifully. I love the bridge in this song. It’s definitely my favorite part and it makes me feel happy. This is a song that makes me want to smile and to be grateful for life. I love singing it and I especially loved to sing it with my Dad when I was little. I still love the song til this day. I picked it out to sing for my senior piece in choir; I’ll link the video of me singing the bridge down below.
4. “Promise Ring” by Tiffany Evans
This is the song that made me realize that I’m no good at dancing. I was obsessed with this song when I was 8-years-old doing my tap and ballet classes. This the song that my parents videotaped me dancing AND singing to and it’s probably one of the most embarrassing videos from my childhood. Thank god it’s lost in the void. Full disclaimer: no one in my family is particularly good at dancing, but we all of some sort of talent. I got the singing gene somehow, my oldest brother got the drawing gene, and my middle brother basically got both. But yeah, not sure what happened to my girl Tiffany after this song but I hope she’s living well!
5. “Your Love is My Drug” by Ke$ha
If you know me EXTREMELY well, you know I’m a Kesha stan hahah. I’ve loved her since I was in elementary school. This just happens to be my favorite song by her. But let me go off: when this lady came out with “Blah Blah Blah” in 2010, she broke down a lot of barriers for women in the music industry. She fully told men to stfu and just show her where the d*ck is at. That’s INSANE and she doesn’t get enough recognition for how she broke down some societal norms. I love her for that, she’s one of my queens forever.
6. “She” by Tyler, the Creator
Like most people I know, they had a Tyler phase. I ultimately have not grown out of him and I’ve been through it with that man. This is my favorite song by him forsure though and also the entire “Wolf” album. But aside from being angsty and curious about 666 when I was in middle school (despite being a devout Christian), I learned how creative you can be with music. Something I adore about him, is his trilogy of albums (Bastard, Goblin and Wolf). He wove them together to create a story within a story. I was literally playing his songs back, listening to the ends of them and painting a picture. This is such a hard thing to do with music and it’s tight af. Kendrick Lamar also did this sort of thing with his album “Good Kid maad City” and it has left a long lasting impression on me. Lyrics hard af. Story line hard af. That’s crazy. Also one more thing: I wanna give a brief shout out to my Jazz Queen for shouting me out on her radio show then playing this song immediately after. Love you girl.
7. “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast
This song reminds me of my childhood best friend. We used to make a lot of videos and I have a distinct memory of this one video we made of us dancing to this song and it was just wholesome af. It reminds me of simpler times and also how fast time goes by. In general, I love Outkast. I used to get so mad when my parents would change the radio station when “Hey Ya!” came on because I thought it slapped. But yeah, BIG fan of Andre 3000 and I love how he featured on Divine Council’s song “Decemba” he snapped for no reason on that song. Also he dated Erykah Badu? That’s flex.
8. “Nelly” by Isaiah Rashad
I wanted to mention this song because I feel like it’s not talked about enough. This probably my favorite song by Isaiah Rashad next to “Heavenly Father” I discovered him in middle school and he’s just a wordsmith in my opinion. Sometime last year I was showing my art at these people’s house; it was my first time participating in an art show. Of course, I started que’ing up a bunch of songs and this song happened to be one of them. The picture below was taken when this song was playing and then everyone just got so hyped. It was damn near magic and I felt good because I played it not even knowing anyone else enjoyed it as much as me bro. It was a beautiful moment and I’m happy it was captured on film.
9. “No Small Talk” by Kari Faux
This song is forever ENGRAVED in my memory because I was throwing ass to this song WITH her on stage in Oakland. I don’t think I’ve ever been that faded before in my life. I was off tequilla so that probably sums up exactly why I was on the stage. When I met this woman Kari, she had some of the best energy that I have witnessed with my own eyes. She just seemed so real and authentic, it was like a slumber party on stage with her. Felt like meeting my sister for the first time or something. But forreal, this experience is high up on my list of things I thought would never happen. This was probably the most fun that I have ever had at a concert and that’s usually how I feel about any concert I go to at the “New Parish”
10. “Next Lifetime” by Erykah Badu
I put this song on the list because I enjoy Erykah Badu as an artist. Her music has been pivotal in my life for a very long time and I grew up listening to her. I picked this song specifically because it coincides with one of my life experiences when I first came to college in San Francisco. I was in a real-life love triangle and honestly it was hella fun. I had the best of both worlds in every sense of the term. I had someone back home and in SF but that’s tea so I won’t get into it. The song describes it though.
And that’s that on that.
-all love, mixtape is on the way