Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
I grew up in the D. Detroit. The Suburbs of Detroit. This was the music of my home, of the city, of my father’s generation. Bill Stewart. Not the singer. My dad loved Motown. He loved the 80s; he was less enthusiastic about 70’s funk, but he could dig it. However, what really jazzed his beat was classic Motown. He listened to the stuff everyday and since I rode with dad, so did I.
Motown is what my childhood sounds like. I grew up on the 60s stuff that came out of Hitsville. It is the soundtrack of a clean house, a dance shared with all the members of my family and our dog, it’s what was playing during my first slow dance.
Dirty Dancing, the movie and the dance form, was popular as I prepared for junior high. It never dawned on us kids the significance of the lack of Motown on the soundtrack. We simply put those into rotation at my first big kids party. I was 11 and I tried a stiff box step with another 6th grader. He stared at his feet. My Girl was playing on the radio.
White kids can’t dance to it. Can’t find the rhythm off the downbeat.
Silent All These Years
During my teen years, Tori Amos saved my soul. She was the soundtrack to my salvation. I played her albums over and over, but this was my anthem. To me, this song was to be song out loud and clear and proud, like you were sending it to Jesus.
When I hear the lyrics, I hear a meditation on don’t make waves, don’t upset anyone. Be good, little girl, keep your pain to yourself. No one cares. no one understands.
Tori did. She wrote it, so she felt it too. I was alone with her voice, but not alone in my pain.
Sara Bareilles’ song is one of my faves.
It reminds me of the moment in Pollack right before Pollack begins to paint a canvas. What will it become? Where will the creative urge lead the artist?
This song is the soundtrack of the most difficult moment–the moment before creative impulse.
All I know is I want to go somewhere new. To me, to my audience, to my art.