Something not so coincidental happened recently because, I believe, the Universe has been witnessing my Renaissance with music: Pandora asked me to be a curator — that’s a songwriter, producer, blogger, or music enthusiast with a desire to connect with their followers through well, music.
I definitely have a desire to connect. :)
At first I was like...Cool! And then I thought…Yikes. Compiling thoughtful playlists could be time intensive and my plate is pretty full already. Then I moved on to…Wait! I’ve been Shazam-ing stuff for years. (If you missed the memo Shazam is an App that can identify songs through the microphone on your device, based on a short sample or algorithm.) All the songs that have perked up my ears are right there on “My Shazams.” I’ve already done the work! Okay then! I can do this!
Full disclosure…I used to #resist Shazam — it was just another short cut for when we could be using our brains. But now I get it. We’re all busy. Tell me what the hell I’m listening to and tell me right the f*ck now! In fact, I’m so into Shazam, I think you should be able to Shazam people so when you’re at a party and forget the name of someone you’ve already met four times you can hold your phone to their back and Shaz-him or Shaz-her. You get where I’m going, right? Their name flashes on your screen.
Anyway, back to curating.
I was honored that Pandora thought of me as a trusted tastemaker so I didn’t take the project lightly. I spent last week revisiting favorable pickings from my past and present. You won’t be surprised to hear that the list of songs one loves is endless. Once I started making it I couldn’t stop...breaking only for food, water, feeding the cats and taking my turn at Words With Friends.
I thought long and hard about the criteria for my playlists:
I didn’t want to be redundant with the gazillions of other compilations out there.
I’d try to avoid the obvious, ie: anything on SiriusXM Hits 1.
I decided not to even touch the Beatles. Cuz once you go down that long and winding road nothing else compares.
I’d stick to my roots. For now. Leaving party-fair, country and hip hop to more suitable tastemakers.
Here are my inaugural categories and a bit about each:
1) Road Trip — Forget your troubles and let someone else’s thoughts consume you instead. Music transports you to a place you didn't even know you were going.
2) Songs To Have Sex To (self-explanatory)
3) Boomers Need Good Music Too — There are so many of us that swear “there’s no good music out there.” It’s just not true. Let me help you weed through the massive amount of content and introduce some gems you’re sure to have missed if your teenage daughter has been manning the dash. And if that’s the case, fear not. Teenage daughters go to college and start sending you superb recommendations.
4) Songs To Float To after a Glass of Chardonnay (Chardonnay optional. Chill is chill.)
5) 45s — Straight from my psychedelic carrying case. Check out what I bought before I could afford albums. Admittedly, some of these are a little embarrassing. But what’s more embarrassing is that I STILL LOVE ALL of them. In fact “1-2-3- Red Light” is going through my head right now.
6) UnCover Me — Nobody does it better than the original so there has to be something fresh about a remake; A re-imagining that’s just as satisfying in a different way.
And of course, Pandora’s request…
7) Shelly Peiken Originals — a short list of songs I’ve written (or co-written) that were recorded and released by others.
That’s my starter list with starter categories. Some of my most cherished heroes didn’t have a place…Todd, Carole…but if all goes well there’ll be many more playlists in the future. Maybe your name or your band will show up somewhere.
Anyway, when the weekend came to a close I went driving, running, walking; listening and pondering my work. I considered the flow. Adjusted the order. Deleted a few selections here and there that didn’t fit in. I trust that our musical sensibilities will share some territory. That said, I know I can’t please everyone so I have to please myself.
As is with most propositions that take us by surprise, if we dive in with an open spirit, we usually emerge enriched. And...what was, at first, an overwhelming undertaking turned out to be a welcome adventure and timely diversion from the tragic shooting and fires that have devastated my Los Angeles community. So thank you, Pandora* for offering me this respite.
Without further ado, check ‘em out. Let me know if we’ve “connected.” I hope you enjoy.
*If you’re not a subscriber, you can listen after a short ad. That said if you find you enjoy the platform consider upgrading to Pandora Premium. No ads! I assure you Pandora didn’t ask me to say that! 😳