Music is immensely important in my creative process. Possibly even the most important thing other than actual ideas and reference photos. I need it to think, to breathe, to create. The moods and styles change, but I need it in some form every day.
I’ve been in a very operatic musical mood lately. I go through random musical moods, usually creating a playlist of songs that give a particular feeling and listening on repeat for weeks. This playlist started when I inadvertently discovered Josh Groban’s version of “Pure Imagination” on Spotify. It was just beautiful, perfectly moody and magical. I immediately saved it as a new playlist, with no idea what other songs I would add to it. I just knew I wanted to capture that mood, that feeling.

I wish it was possible for services like Spotify or Pandora to give me a song radio that would all give me the same feeling as the first song I chose, but alas, only I know how I actually feel about a song and so it is up to me to weed through the suggestions. It can take quite a while to fully build a playlist (generally 10-20 songs) and it feels like a painstakingly slow process sometimes.

There are moments of magic, however. I’ll stumble upon a song in another playlist or while listening to a song’s radio list and it will fit just right (though I’m generally not too keen on Spotify’s picks for me). I remembered “Once Upon A December” from Anastasia, which fit snugly in the second spot on my list. The song radio for those two led me to several other Josh Groban songs, and then “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera.

I feel like a total dork for saying this, but I had no idea the Phantom of the Opera’s music was so great! I feel like I saw the movie at some point, but can barely remember watching it and couldn’t really recount any plot points other than “creepy dude lives in sewer below an opera house, people sing about it,” but it touched exactly the mood I wanted to capture.

That feeling of magical wistfulness, a melancholia that is not so much sad as it is contemplative. A tranquil melody building to epic crescendo. The kind of song you like to imagine yourself singing, in an enchanted moment when dreams come true.

That’s been my playlist for the past week or so, off and on all day (I mix it up with a couple other playlists, but play this one on repeat probably 10x daily). Eventually, I’ll get sick of it and move on to a new theme, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride!

If you’d like to see this and my other playlists, you can find me on Spotify @authorjmariejohnson. Or click here to go straight to it!

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you work, play, create?