I find music to be an important part of my process in the studio. Most mornings I start with a disco or top hits channel on Pandora to get me going. Later, I tend to listen to Coldplay, Five for Fighting, Ludovico Einaudi, or a Meditation, Baroque or New-age station on Pandora.
In the afternoons, I like the quieter stuff to wind down from the day before I pick up my youngest daughter from school. I thought it would be fun to ask other artists what they listen to. Here are the responses.
Feel free to add your own music selections in the comment section below!
I listen to all different things … NPR, podcasts, meditations, music and sometimes silence.
NPR: Almost all its programming, Radiolab, This American Life, Fresh Air, Leonard Lopate, Brian Lehrer
Podcasts: Tara Brach, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Stuff You Should Know, Bill Maher, Freakonomics, The Moth
Music: Ani DiFranco, Paul Simon, Cat Power, Natalie Merchant, and stuff I don’t even remember right now, but usually pretty passionate and emotional music works for me.
My taste varies depending on my mood. I have a pretty extensive vinyl collection of about 3,000 albums and only listen to records while I’m working. I listen to anything from jazz/blues — La Verne Baker and Bessie Smith — to ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll — Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, The Ronettes and The Supremes.
• ’60s garage — The Sonics, The Wailers, Rolling Stones, The Who
• Reggae/ska/rocksteady — The Maytals, Gregory Isaacs, The Selecter, The Specials
• Lots of ’70s and ’80s punk — Iggy and the Stooges, The Ramones, The Heartbreakers, The New York Dolls, Blondie
• UK punk — The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks
After about the early ’90s when grunge and hip-hop started to take over, I lost all hope in music. With the exception of a few bands; that is, a very, very, very, very, very short list of music that fuels my studio practice.
When I’m working in the studio I listen to playlists of my favorite composers, our NPR station and podcasts. Each has its special time.
To get me started I listen to the news, often world news from the BBC.
When I finally get to sit and work, I listen over and over again to my favorite pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and the other greats.
If I feel the need to hear something new I will go to WQXR and enjoy their selections. Listening to the radio is a way for me to hear music and performers I am unfamiliar with.
While painting in the mornings, I typically listen to quieter music: classical, smooth jazz or piano on Spotify.
Also, in the mornings I sometimes want some company in the studio, so I look to Terry Gross for Fresh Air interviews, The Diane Rehm Show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, A Prairie Home Companion, Artists Helping Artists on BlogTalkRadio, particularly the interviews with other artists. I have the silver level of Alyson B. Stanfield’s Art Biz Coach, which I enjoy.
In the afternoon, it is loud and thumping in the studio, as loud as my equipment will go. I like the reggae and soul radio stations on Spotify. Sometimes I select its Top 100 here and or in the UK. The mood created in the afternoon is actually pretty aggressive, a driving beat that energizes me and excites me to keep the brush moving!
Johnnie Winona Ross
I am blessed to live in a country setting, thus my studio is mostly quiet. But in late afternoons when I need a pick-up, I would listen to the Late Night Alumni’s album, When a Beat Becomes a Sound.
What do you listen to in your studio? Tell us in the comment section below!