There was one year, my mom was in love with the song "Changes" by Tupac. I remember one day it came on the radio as we were leaving her friend's house and she kept saying to her friend "listen to what he's saying: "let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live, and let's change the way we treat each other." I don't know why that memory of her always sticks with me, maybe because it was one of the first moments that I realized that sounds can influence people.
I consider myself a storyteller and my primary mode of communicating stories is through words. However, sometimes words are not enough to convey meaning, so sound has always been another way that I enjoy stories. I started reading music and playing the piano at six years old, played clarinet from fourth grade through senior year of college, and briefly learned how to DJ. In high school, I learned that while I had a talent for playing instruments, I did not have the gift of music harmony and writing. However, I did discover that I had a knack for putting together songs that told a story. Sometimes that story was based on lyrics and other times it was based on rhythm, but nonetheless these sounds told a story.
Writing is my outlet, while sounds are what keep me grounded and focused; whether it's the soundtrack of nature or soundtracks from around the world. Something about putting together a playlist, listening to songs in a particular order, and sharing them with friends brings me joy.
Recently, I decided that in addition to sharing my writing, I would like to share playlists that I have made over the years.
Almost everyday for the last four years, I've listened to the same playlist. My Power playlist is what got me through my PhD program, pumped me up for my dissertation defense, and kept me calm while going on job interviews. This playlist, like many of my playlists is in a specific order that has meaning to me. That playlist sets the mood for my day, describes my life, and reminds me to stay resilient.
After successfully defending my dissertation, my classmates congratulated me for being a graduand, which is a person who is eligible to graduate, but has not yet had their degree conferred. Though I defended my dissertation and participated in the graduation ceremony, I was not officially a PhD. But I still celebrated by gathering with my family and I created a Graduand playlist that took us through appetizers, dinner, and finally dancing.
When I was younger, I would listen to the radio impatiently waiting for my favorite songs to come on so I could record them on to my cassette tape. These are my earliest memories of creating playlists. While those cassette tapes are lost somewhere in my house; I recently found a CD that I made with my sister for her seventeenth birthday. Together we came up with a bunch of songs that she loved, burned CDs, created labels, and gave them out as party favors. When we recently found the CD, she asked me to add her Sassy Seventeen playlist to Spotify so she could share it with her friends.
When I exercise I like to listen to music, so I created three playlists to take me through my fitness journey. The first playlist Workout Fast has a longer warm up and cool down period, Workout Faster has a shorter warm up and cool down time and the tempo of the songs increase, and in Workout Fastest, the warm up and cool down is quick and the tempo of the songs are very fast. The purpose for creating these three playlists was to anticipate my improvement over time, with the hopes that Workout Fastest will motivate me through tempo and push me through the inevitable plateau period of a fitness journey.
Music is soothing to the soul and a great way to bring people together. I hope you enjoy some of the sounds that ground me. These playlists are the first groups of songs that I am sharing. I have another group of playlists that I will share over the next months (Follow my Spotify profile for new playlists).