When a musician plays, it can be difficult to discern the artist from the art. And it should. This may be stating the obvious, but (nearly) every stage performer is human. The artistic process behind the performance, however, is so often exotified. It's veiled behind the charisma and talent they put out during a show.
5 Songs/Albums for Something Else begins to delve into how musicians listen to music and pick up inspiration when they’re doing, well, other stuff. What happens behind the scenes and how does hearing music play a role? What kind of music do these musicians listen to? How are their day-to-day lives impacted by the music of others?
We’re thrilled with the opportunity to speak with Rosanna Paterra - singer/songwriter alongside her fiance as Scott and Rosanna - about the music she listens to casually and while she works. She is as pleasant a conversationalist as she is a performer. The warmth of her singing exemplifies the warmth and loveliness of her being.
When I’m lounging around...
I just think [Matthew Mayfield] is a beautiful writer. It’s kind of like listening to an audiobook in a way; it’s a complete story all the way through. I do listen to it as music. But when I have some time or I’m doing some other mundane task, I like to listen to it as a story.
“Soliloquy” by Peter Ciluzzi
When I’m writing...
I do a lot of writing. I have a blog - I haven’t written for it in a few months - called Secrets in the Wall. I started it when we were living in Brooklyn. To write, I would just put on the Acoustic Concentration playlist on Spotify. [“Soliloquy”] was the one song I would listen to a lot. The playlist is all just guitar arrangements and a lot of solo pieces - there’s no lyrics. I can’t listen to any vocal anything when I’m trying to write; it gets too distracting.
I really love listening to straight acoustic music while I’m writing, whether it’s a piece for my blog or writing lyrics to our music. Sometimes I’ll listen to the instrumentation that Scott makes to come up with specific lyrics and specific melodies that will go with his guitar riffs. But I feel like it helps more if I listen to other music, whether it’s a happy instrumental piece or a sad one. I write lyrics that go along with the sad music; I let it tap into what I’m feeling at the time. I put those lyrics into my blog or into a song that we’re writing.
“Mr. Magic” (live) by Amy Winehouse
While I’m Driving by Myself…
I’ve been listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse lately, specifically her earlier stuff. I like to listen to the whole Frank album. I really like the song “Mr. Magic” - the live version, not the demo one. It’s just a jam, and I respect her so much as a vocalist and a writer. A lot of people do. I do a lot of my vocal playing in the car, and I try to pick up tips and things from her.
It’s interesting, since I listen to music a lot in the car. I use it as a constructive time to play with my own voice. I’m a voice teacher as well [as a musician], so I listen to a lot of music that I wouldn’t normally listen to for my students. I do some of that in the car. I also try to get some vocal lessons done while I’m in the car. But for myself - when I’m trying to work on my own voice - I like to listen to vocalists that I really admire, like Amy Winehouse.
"Dreamin’” by G-Love and Special Sauce
While I’m Driving with Scott…
When I’m driving by myself, I’ve got my own things I’m doing with music to kind of keep myself occupied. I put more of an emphasis on critical listening and super strong vocalists. When I’m driving with Scott, he likes to listen to more rap and silly stuff. We don’t have an agenda; we just play around and put on our own little show in the car. These are songs we don’t get to play out, but we just like to sing together. Songs that let our personalities come out a little bit. We just pick silly songs.
We listen to a whole ‘nother genre [from what we play]. I mostly like to listen to Scott on [“Dreamin’”]. We like to sing the chorus together and kind of just jam. Another one that we really like - a new song for us - is called “Kickin’ da Leaves” by Judah and the Lion (Music Video). It’s just a really silly, folky, upbeat song.
When I’m cooking…
This album is just really funky and upbeat! I like to listen to this album when I’m dancing around the house. I will listen to that whole thing; it’s really fun.
Scott and I love to cook, so we’re always in the kitchen. We’ll both put on fun albums like this in the background.