Since the name of this blog is Books, Music, and All Things Written, I figured it was high time to discuss music. For any readers who do not know, I am a singer/songwriter as well as a bibliophile. You can find my music on iTunes and all other digital music stores. There’s a bunch of songs on my old school MySpace page, and you can listen to the full album plus a few covers there.
Anyway, today I’m going to talk about the 10 songs I can’t stop listening to at the moment. Some of them may be new, some may be classics, because my musical tastes are very eclectic. I grew up with music loving parents, especially my father, who was a disc jockey back in the day and began his career in Lawton, Oklahoma as an on-air DJ at the young age of 12. One of his favorite stories to tell about his time as a disc jockey is the day Carly Simon came into the studio he was working at, and he was so in love with her that he could barely utter a word in her presence. One of the other guys working at the station told Carly Simon this, and she was so flattered, she grabbed my dad’s face and planted a kiss right on his lips. Needless to say, my dad has remained a dedicated Carly Simon fan ever since.
My dad introduced my siblings and I to great music at a young age. He encouraged and supported me whole-heartedly when I wanted to try my hand at being a professional singer/songwriter after I began writing songs and teaching myself how to play guitar. Music runs in my blood. My paternal grandfather was an amazing musician, was a member of the band The Mascots and a handful of other bands, toured with several famous acts, but despite his talent, he never quite made a name for himself, but remained well-respected in the music world until he eventually retired. My dad and I made several trips to Nashville to meet with people with fancy titles at huge record labels, and when nothing came of those meetings, he and I spent six months living in Los Angeles while I recorded an EP and tried to get meetings with people in the music business who could possibly offer me a recording or publishing contract. I got to play at some of the most famous venues in Hollywood, such as: The Viper Room, The Whiskey, The Mint, and The Troubadour. I was also lucky enough to have had the opportunity to play with some amazing musicians. I recorded my EP at Drumroll Studios, owned by Steve Ferrone, one of the founding members of The Average White Band, is currently touring with Tom Petty, has also toured with Eric Clapton, and is one of the coolest guys you could ever meet. My EP was co-produced by John Jones and Steve Postell. John Jones has previously worked with such acts as Duran Duran, and won three Grammys for his work with Celine Dion. Steve Postell is a brilliant musician, having toured with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, John Oates, and worked closely with Jennifer Warnes. John Jones, Steve Postell, and Steve Ferrone were the first people in the music business who really believed in me as a singer and also as a songwriter, and were pivotal in helping me discover my sound. Even though I was only 16 at the time, they treated me like a real musician, listening to my opinions, allowing me to be a part of every step of the recording process, and never let my age get in the way of that.
Alright, enough about me and all the name dropping. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
10 songs I’m in love with at the moment:
- Million Reasons by Lady Gaga: This song is beautifully written, and I love the stripped down production, allowing for Gaga’s voice to shine without being overshadowed by being over produced.
Lady Gaga – Million Reasons live on SNL
- Unsteady by X Ambassadors: I was a little late to the party when I discovered this song, but it’s raw, emotional message is evident in the way the song is sang and is just an amazing track.
X Ambassadors – Unsteady (Live)
- When We Were Young by Adele: I feel like this one needs no explanation. Adele can do no wrong and this song is perfect. Fun fact: My daughter and I sing this song every night as I give her a bath, and she gets SO into it that I have to refrain from laughing, because when I’ve laughed before I got in trouble because she thought I was making fun of her.
Adele- When We Were Young (Live at Church Studios)
- Simplethings by Miguel: I was in love with this song the minute I first heard it. Miguel is so incredibly talented, and I feel like this song really showcases that. Below is the remix featuring Chris Brown and Future that I also love. I have had a hard time finding videos of Miguel doing Simplethings live, which I don’t get because it’s SO good.
Miguel – Simplethings remix feat. Chris Brown & Future
- Lights Down Low by MAX feat. gnash: Great song and artists. MAX is a former YouTuber who gained a name for himself by posting covers, and this is one of his first original songs he has released.
MAX – Lights Down Low feat. gnash
- Stay (Rihanna cover) by Thirty Seconds To Mars: It’s rare when a cover is better than the original, but Jared Leto’s vocals on this are amazing and really capture the song’s emotional message. Jared Leto shouldn’t allowed to be THAT beautiful and that talented. It’s unfair to the rest of us mere mortals.
Thirty Seconds To Mars – Stay (Rihanna Cover) Live
- Lady Magic by Ben Taylor: Being the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, it was impossible for Ben Taylor to be born devoid of musical talent. He has a lot of songs that I love, but this is by far my favorite. It’s unique, cleverly written, and just a really fun song to listen to.
Ben Taylor – Lady Magic (audio)
- Death of Me by Tony Lucca: This is another one of those songs I loved immediately upon hearing. Lucca’s soulful voice and lyrics are amazing. I recommend the acoustic version because I prefer the acoustic version of any song over the produced studio version.
Tony Lucca – Death Of Me (acoustic live)
- 15 by Rilo Kiley: This song is fun to listen to, Jenny Lewis’ amazing voice shines on this track, and pretty much the whole album Under The Blacklight. Pretty much every song on there could be on this list. This isn’t the best live version, but another fun fact: I was actually at this show and it was an amazing and super fun concert. I think you can actually see me in a few of the shots.
Rico Kiley – 15 (Live at The Republic NOLA)
- Last Love Song by ZZ Ward: ZZ ward is an incredible artist, her sound is like a gumbo made up of several genres. This song in particular is beautiful, her voice, the raw emotion she sings wth, and the lyrics make it one of my favorite songs by her.
ZZ Ward – Last Love Song (live acoustic)
Bonus song: No Diggity by Blackstreet has remained one of my favorite songs ever since I first heard it in third grade after watching them perform it on the Nickelodeon show, “All That.” Below is a cover I found that I just really enjoy.
Anthony Hall – No Diggity (Live Blackstreet Cover)
Ok, actually 2 more bonus songs:
This is another one of those songs I’ve been obsessed since first hearing it as a kid:
Rupert Holmes – Escape (Live) The song starts at 3:28.
And, of course, one of my favorite songs my dad ever introduced me to and frankly one of the best songs ever written:
Don McLean – American Pie This is a really cool live version from 1972, and he sings the whole song and not the radio edit.
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Hope you enjoyed this new weekly installment! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject!