Current Playlist

My current playlist

To answer the question of what’s on my current playlist, I’m listing the most prominent artists on my daily rotation. This list changes as my mood changes and I think you might be surprised at what’s on it today.

These tunes are getting ridiculous play regardless of whether they’re connected to a scene, or character, or not. Many of these songs have a direct relationship to what I’m writing, some of them have no connection whatsoever–at least none that I can see right now. Sometimes, I’ll have music on rotation for no apparent reason until one day it either hits me as to why it’s on the list, or it just starts making sense. Sometimes the characters choose the song(s) and I have little to do with it.

For the record I’m currently writing two pieces: a short story and the follow-up to Blood To Blood.

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: Green Day

Current playlist: Green Day

Artists in current rotation

Santigold
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Green Day

Adele
Andy Gibb
Muse (of course)

Cee-lo Green
Kylie Minogue
Arcade Fire

Blondie
Alabama Shakes
Class Actress

My Muses – Van Hunt

One of my favorite all-time muses is Van Hunt. I interviewed him back in the mid 2000s, but had fallen in love with his eclectic style of music way before then.

Van Hunt

Van Hunt

When it comes to categorizing his style, it’s impossible to squeeze his discography into one genre; he covers everything from soul, to rock, to funk, to pop.

While his music is unpredictable he’s always superior when it comes to creating a specific atmosphere and evoking a mood. “At the End of a Slow Dance” is one of my favorite Van Hunt songs, and continually haunts me years after first hearing it.

 

 

Van Hunt – “At the End of a Slow Dance”

 

 

Van Hunt’s recent album is more rock oriented and has one or two tunes that’s found their way onto my current playlist for the Blood To Blood sequel.

My Muses: Top 3 Muse Songs

Out of all the thousands of songs that inspire my writing, the ones that repeatedly rise to the top come from one band. As a result, several have consistently been the top 3 Muse songs that influenced my work.

Muse

Muse

Over ten years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, the local radio station WKROQ was one of the few that gave this band any love. Since hearing them, I’ve not only been a fan of Muse, I’ve also rabidly consumed every lyric their lead vocalist, and resident mad man/genius, pens.

I could rant about Matthew Bellamy’s brilliance, the band’s amazing live performances, etc. etc. but that’s another post. Right now I’d like to talk about their impact on my writing and share with you the the top 3 Muse songs that helped shape my book.

Top 3 Muse Songs
Invincible

– This song is the biggest musical thread in the fabric of Blood To Blood. It is a rally cry disguised as a love song. Absolutely brilliant. “Whatever they say, your soul’s unbreakable.”

Unintended

-This love song is one of their most haunting songs. It is the inspiration for a couple of romantic scenes in the book.

Map of The Problematique

– This song changed my writing. Seriously. In part, it was responsible for  introducing a level of darkness into the lives of my characters, particularly Justin McCarthy.

There are many more Muse songs that inspired the tone of Blood To Blood. An honorable mention goes to “Bliss” “Cave” and of course “Time Is Running Out.”

Donna Summer: All You Need Is The Voice

“The voice to me is the greatest gift… You need no other instrument, all you have to do is sing…and it’s there.” ~ Donna Summer

When I saw this quote from the late, great Ms. Donna Summer I thought it was a perfect, concise summary of how Angel Brown feels about singing.

Early in Blood To Blood, Angel says singing was her waking dream… “the only thing I could see myself doing forever.” Throughout her struggles she holds on to the only thing she has – her voice. Even when it turns against her.

Like Donna Summer, a classically trained singer who made a name for herself in the Top 40, Angel embraces the music of the soul even as she belts out bubblegum pop.

RIP Donna Summer, and mad love to all true singers who dare to live their dream.

Donna Summer – “I Feel Love”

My Muses: Cocteau Twins

One music act that has influenced my art (writing and visual) consistently is Cocteau Twins, a Scottish 80s goth band. I first got into them through a roommate and almost immediately fell in love with their sound. Although no Cocteau Twins tunes appear on

Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins

my Blood To Blood playlist, I still listened to them while writing.

For those of you that don’t know, there were no twins in the group. The lead vocalist, Elizabeth Fraser, is probably best known as the voice on Massive Attacks’ classic “Teardrop.”

They disbanded some time in the late 90s, and I always thought it was a crime that a band with a sound this ethereal never got the recognition it deserved. Many would agree, the music is timeless and atmospheric.

My go-to albums are the darker ones where Elizabeth doesn’t bother to sing real words but somehow the lyrics are packed with life-changing meaning.

Treasure is my breathless favorite and features a number of songs that are on the playlist to the follow-up to Blood To Blood

 

  1. “Ivo” – 3:53
  2. “Lorelei” – 3:43
  3. “Beatrix” – 3:11
  4. “Persephone” – 4:20
  5. “Pandora (for Cindy)” – 5:35
  6. “Amelia” – 3:31
  7. “Aloysius” – 3:26
  8. “Cicely” – 3:29
  9. “Otterley” – 4:04
  10. “Donimo” – 6:19

My Top 3 from this album…

1. “Donimo” always leaves me wanting more. This one song has inspired a number of scenes involving angels:

2. “Pandora” I cried when I first heard this. Sometimes I still do:

3. “Lorelei” – Rather happy but just as ethereal

Very Honorable Mentions:

“Pearly Dewdrops Drops” What human words can describe this song? Surely this is the sound of something Higher.

“Musette and Drums” Sheer brilliance. Best with headphones at the moment when darkness softly devours the last of the daylight:

 

Rant: Still Ticked At The Voice

Last week I realized The Voice is a fraud. The show that distanced itself from the superficiality of American Idol proved to be even shallower. And I’m still upset!

At least AI doesn’t try to pass itself off as any more than what it is; a popularity contest for under-30 wannabe professional singers. The Voice, with its more or less blind judges promised that it would serve as a platform for all talent regardless of looks and age based on only one requirement: that they could really sing.

So why was “the one to beat” Jesse Campbell taken off the show in an “Instant Elimination” that didn’t even involve the audience? Even the show’s host Carson Daly, was “thrown for a loop.”

“A Song For You”

Was it a commentary on Christina’s lack of skill as a vocal coach? Watching the re-run of the episode I saw the foreshadowing Rolling Stone pointed out. You could see it on her face. She knew she was going to give him the ax. Perhaps she couldn’t take him any further than she did and had to cut him loose.

“What A Wonderful World”

Perhaps it was the result of the industry’s innate ageism. At 43ish Campbell is hardly the typical Top 40 flavor-of-the-month. Or perhaps the winner of the Voice has already been identified by the show’s producers. Whatever the reason behind this decision, one thing’s for certain, Jesse Campbell is on to bigger and much better things. Perhaps he should’ve chosen Cee-lo or Adam?

“Halo”

Either way, Godspeed to him and his beautiful daughter. I’m not sure I’ll be watching this show again without feeling duped and jaded… but I do love, love, LOVE Juliet Simms:

“Roxanne”

 

 

My Muses: Death Cab For Cutie “I Will Possess Your Heart”

Death Cab, like Radiohead, is one of those bands that I play all the time to the point that I wonder if it’s healthy for my son.

To give you an example, one day we were driving along the countryside in Dekalb county (Georgia, Atlanta area). It was a bright and sunny day, and as always iTunes was piping through the stereo. Death Cab’s “I Will Possess Your Heart” was playing. And my 5 year-old was singing it verbatim.

I realized that this must have been the thousandth time he’d heard this tune, and for a moment I wondered if it was normal, after all it’s a pretty intense song.

But then again, what is normal? I recalled the dark and hyper-sexualized songs I’d grown up listening to and never caught the real meaning until I was in college (some even later, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood “Relax” I had absolutely no idea that was about reaching orgasm until the new millennium, but I’d never seen this banned version of the video either, eewww!). I figured he’d be fine as long as I continued to balance out the Death Cab with Backyardigans, The Wiggles, The Muppets and less dark, more family-friendly bands like Coldplay and U2.

This particular tune has a play count of over 300 in my iTunes. That was after my computer crashed and wiped out my play counts. It’s right up there with the most popular songs from my Blood To Blood playlist, but ironically it’s not on that playlist. Nonetheless, I crafted a good amount of Justin’s interior monologue while listening to it:

I imagined Justin saying these lyrics, or something like them, in his head whenever he spent any time with Angel:

How I wish you could see the potential,
the potential of you and me.
It’s like a book elegantly bound but,
in a language that you can’t read.
Just yet.

You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.

There are days when outside your window
I see my reflection as I slowly pass,
and I long for this mirrored perspective
when we’ll be lovers, lovers at last.

You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
I will possess your heart.
I will possess your heart.

You reject my… advances… and desperate pleas…
I won’t let you… let me down… so easily.
So easily.

You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you’ll find, love
I will possess your heart.
I will possess your heart.
I will possess your heart.

That’s *so* Justin. Wow. Now that I’m thinking of him again, I need to run and write some more of the Justin story I’ve been working on.

Blood To Blood YouTube Playlist

My trusty Blood To Blood YouTube Playlist includes tunes scooped directly from my iPod playlist, and served up via YouTube. These are the videos to some of the artists listed in the official Blood To Blood playlist. One of these days maybe I’ll be able to pipe everything directly from iTunes, but in the meantime, this little playlist feature on YouTube is kinda cool.

Anyway, I played these artists and their songs hundreds of times while writing Blood To Blood. Many of them are connected to specific scenes from the book. Hole’s “Violet” for example is for when Angel feels her new powers for the first time as she runs through the Maine woods with her family.

Featured here are:

Hole A photograph of the band HOLE playing a concer...
Coldplay
Cee-lo Green Cee-Lo
Metric
Muse
Nicki Minaj Nicki Minaj
Robin Thicke Thicke
Gordon Lightfoot (yep, you read that right) Gordon Lightfoot
Ramsey Lewis feat. Earth Wind and Fire Ramsey Lewis
Deathcab For Cutie Death Cab for Cutie
Carlos Santana feat. Everlast

I hope you enjoy these tunes as much as I do. These are just a few of the songs I wrote the book to, and I look forward to sharing more.

Blood To Blood YouTube Playlist

 

 

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Inspiration: Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke is the inspiration for one of my favorite, and most obsessed over, characters: Sawyer Creed.

Two of Thicke’s songs were the inspiration for an entire novel and its heroine Angel Brown:

  • “Angel” (Why, oh why wasn’t an official video made of this?)
  • “Can You Believe” (I love when he says “If somebody’s watching, you would never know.”)

Check out the beautiful lyrics to “Can You Believe”:

Nothing can make you high
Or put fire in your eyes
Or give you a chance to fly
When you need the wings
When all that youve got is doubt
And nothing can stop you from feeling down
But oh I know, I know exactly how you feel

But can you believe now
When youre on your knees now
Begging and pleading now
Can you believe
When all that youve got is doubt
And no one to pull you out
When your heart is slowin down
Can you believe

See the person I love the most
Is so far away tonight
And no other medicine or promise is
Gonna heal me up right
But I got to believe
That her and me
Will be together
Cause thats all I got
And Oh, I know
When youre down at the bottom
Can you believe

Can you believe when all hope seems gone
When your mother and father cant keep you safe from harm
Can you forgive in your heart
Can you ask for forgiveness
When nobody else believes can you believe
Can you believe in yourself

If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know
If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know
If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know

In fact, his entire album The Evolution of Robin Thicke played in nonstop rotation during the writing and editing of my book.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Robin Thicke for being my muse.

 

Hello world!

I’m a writer, a mom and an avid music lover. Not necessarily in that order, depending on what day and/or mood you catch me in. But I am always a mom. And always will be a writer. And will always love music.

And I will forever *know* that life is magic. Know that it is a spell weaved by us and those around us. I will always know that we can have and be whatever it is we believe we can be.

I know this for myself and I know it for you.

So something here on this blog will always relate to something above. One of those passions listed just now. These passions comprise who I have chosen to be. And who we have chosen to be is all any of us really are.

So here are some quick and dirty facts about me:

  • I’m obsessed with angels.
  • I’m obsessed with some of my characters. Some are angels.
  • I like almost any genre of music.
  • I’m a strict but fun-loving parent.
  • I like to save money but I like quality.
  • I believe that our thoughts create our reality.
  • I am a die-hard romantic loner.
  • I want to share my ideas with as many people as possible, and hope they will gain something from it.
  • I have to force myself to go to sleep 89% of the time.
  • I  can’t remember a time when I didn’t write Fantasy or Science Fiction.
  • I am starting work on a novel based on an idea I had when I was 6 years old. Can’t say much about it now, but when you read it you’ll see what a strange childhood I had.
  • I sometimes fall asleep with my face in my laptop.
  • I would like to meet Adam Levine and am trying to figure out a way to put him (or someone really like him) in one of my books.
  • I am 5’2 3/4″.
  • I could care less about my weight. It’s how I feel that’s important.
  • I drink at least 3 cups of green tea everyday.
  • My mom was a medium.
  • Coffee gives me the runs.
  • I really really want to read much more than I do now.
  • I am jealous of writers who effortlessly spout new, bleeding edge names when asked “Who is your favorite writer?”
  • I like bullet points.
  • My favorite book of all time is still The Hobbit.
  • I was raised on the following: Dark Shadows, Lost In Space, 80s music, Creature Double Feature (Saturday back-to-back B-movies aired in Boston and usually starring Godzilla), and endless daydreaming.
  • My current workplace will be the setting of future writings.

At any given time I might start talking about something that has absolutely nothing to do with writing. Please bear with me as I continue to work out the details of my mind. Thanks for visiting.

Ifè Oshun