Now that Paradise is complete and published (yay!), I’m ready to get back to Anika takes the long way home. I should’ve finished it MONTHS ago, seriously!  Months.  But better late than never, right?

Anyway, while I wrote Anika, I was living in a fairly noisy place in Washington, DC.  As such, I started a new writing habit: writing with music on.  Normally, I don’t like working with music in the background.  Not if I’m writing or doing something else that requires a lot of creativity and focus. But as I worked on Anika in my noisy home, a little bit of music became a necessity.  Here’s my Anika playlist, with an explanation of each song.

1. Black Coast – TRNDSTTR (Lucian Remix)

I found this video because I was researching a sorority.

(“Oh, I see,” I hear you saying snidely.  “You were ‘researching’ a sorority.  Is that what they’re calling it these days?”)

No, seriously.  A character in Anika is a former Pi Phi, so I was searching YouTube for videos on the Pi Phi pledging process and came across a Pi Phi recruitment video that used this song.  I loved the song so much I wanted to hear it again… and again… and again…

2. Disclosure – You & Me (Flume Remix)

I got to talking about music with a millennial colleague a few months ago.  She’d mentioned she listened to a lot of EDM; I told her about my trip hop interest.  I asked her, “So, what should I be listening to these days in the EDM genre?” She shared the artists Disclosure and Zeds Dead, which is how I found this song and the next one.

3. Zeds Dead – Frontlines (ft. GG Magree)

As above…

4. Naughty Boy – Lifted (ft. Emil Sande)

I love Naughty Boy’s Hotel Cabana album.  In particular, I love this song and “La La La.”  The music is good, but the videos!  The videos are excellent.  You should really watch this video and the “La La La” video if you haven’t.  They have this dream-like, surreal quality that makes me want to watch them over and over again. I feel like I’m stepping into someone’s subconscious mind when I watch these.

5. Childish Gambino – Sober

Speaking of videos that I love even more than the song itself, this video is also like that.

Believe it or not, I found this video originally on the NPR website.  Strangely, I find a lot of the new hip hop artists I like via NPR (Mick Jenkins would be another example). This song is not my favorite Childish Gambino song, but it is my favorite video by him.

6. Rex Orange County – UNO

I’ve been listening to the five songs above on repeat while I write for a couple of months now.  This last one, however, is a recent addition.

About a month ago, I got obsessed with the show Dear White People on Netflix. (I think it’s an amazing show, but that’s another story for another time.) This song played in a scene at the end of an episode.  I liked it so much that I was immediately scouring the Internet for it, trying to figure out who wrote it and what it was called.  The artist, Rex Orange County, is a self-made musician from the UK who’s eighteen or nineteen.  The music he put online turned him into a mini-star. The Internet certainly has its down sides, but I like that it can create and help us discover artists (musicians, writers, artists, etc.) in an almost-meritocracy, sans middleman.

Okay, guys. That’s it for this Wednesday.  What about you?  What do you listen to you while you work?