Emma Barnett: Music is the shield we wrap ourselves in, so make sure you find the right tunes


Imagine the scene. The doors open, the lights come on, and all eyes are on you. And then you walk. To the theatre, to the square, to the train, wherever he is. I only have one question: What music is being played?

Everyone needs a soundtrack for their life, and different tunes will work for different times and moods. But I’m particularly interested in music that excites you. Songs that seek to build you up and put you in the zone. everyone. single. Today is the boxing match of your life.

It might be that meeting you dread every week; gym session you need to crush; Or even just developing the spirit necessary to visit a complex person.

I started to think about the unique and powerful force of music after it attracted me to see Ali and AvaA stunning new movie from Cleo Barnard starring Claire Rushbrook and Adeel Akhtar, the quietly brilliant (the last one I had the pleasure of interviewing a few years ago. What a gem).

The trailer immediately attracted me because it was very rare to see two people over the age of 40 who adore their music, wear headphones and go out with their favorite songs. The characters use the songs as a balm and a pure escape from the life they were living, full of challenges.

Such was the attraction that I did something I hadn’t done in years: go to the movies alone in the afternoon. It was said and since then I have not stopped listening to one of the main themes of the film: “Radio” by Sylvain Esau. (Believe me, it’s gone. I swear it wasn’t until days later that I realized my workplace was the address. I was drunk from the rhythm.)

I’m also drawn to hearing music that motivates us for a personal reason. Over the past 10 years, I’ve written all of my screenplays, articles, and my book for one band: Faithless. There is something else magical, uplifting, and universal about the sound of Maxi Jazz encapsulated in those lyrics created and affirmed by Sister Bliss and Rollo Armstrong.

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As I prepare to go on the radio or TV, what I crave is the soundtrack, especially the No Roots album. Locks everything while lifting everything. And of course, there are plenty of days when I reach for the “God is DJ” or “Insomnia” toggle button to really lose myself. They are a must have in my musical instrument box. It seems I’m not alone. far from there

Last week on Women’s Hour, Sister Bliss joined me to talk about the power of music in our moods and minds. It was an acoustic dream for the principal here. You listen privately as she describes what it’s like to compose electronic music jingles in the studio: “You get hair on the back of your neck, that’s how you know you’re in the moment of creativity…the moment of connection.” Amen sister.

Professor Lauren Stewart, from Goldsmiths, University of London, joined our conversation. She studies the psychology and neuroscience of music and explains that there is not a single area in the brain for music. It seems to be a “symphony of activity”.

And why do we love her so much? Here’s how to put it: “The brain is a prediction machine, and listening to music is very stimulating. It’s a playground for us to look for patterns and predict where the music will move next. And that’s built into us to make predictions about what’s going to happen in the world.”

“Listening to music is a very safe mode to experience. We find that we are rewarded in this safe place even when the music does not go as we expected.”

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But actually it was my first guest on the show that day who took the music you can prepare for it to another level. Lucy Eastope is one of the nation’s leading disaster planners. She says she knows every major incident the UK and its citizens have suffered abroad and at home since 1960 and has worked in some form in every one since 2001, and that includes 9/11, July 7, the Grenfell Tower tragedy and of course, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now been detailed His amazing stories in his powerful book. When the dust settles.

Above all, music is his coping strategy. It helps you release from the place of loss and unimaginable pain and return to a normal life with your children. She says the loud ’80s and ’90s disco tunes playing in her kitchen are the way she knows it’s at home.

I was intrigued to see how different his vocal path would be as he prepared to walk the disaster scene. No disco music anywhere. It will only do Eminem and Kanye West to help her truly prepare for the “next world” she’s entering, as she sets herself up.

In fact, East Hope and her colleagues in Emergency Management have a hashtag for this ritual she coined: They play “#planthems.” She said she got the word out because so many were struggling in their field last year during the pandemic and needed to talk about how they could get in the mood for what they were about to do, see, hear or smell.

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As Sister Bliss explains, mood has a lot to do with rhythm, and the sensation of music is reflected in your body. Do you need an elevator? Do you need courage? Do you need energy? find music. And suddenly you feel charged, intrigued: the lead actor in your own movie, no matter how casual or glamorous the task may be.

Which is why I recommend finding this kind of soundtrack if you haven’t already. Of course, some found the only evidence that they walk on stage or in the boxing ring, because they imagined such things. For example, it wouldn’t be surprising if Eddie Hearn, the mega boxing promoter who stands behind the likes of Anthony Joshua, smiled and didn’t hesitate when I asked him on his Bloomberg talk show. Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” in case you were wondering. Everyone dreams of walking but not necessarily the next hit, huh?

That’s why it’s equally important to find music for everyday drama (not just potential climax, weddings, and birthday parties). or even a fight. Songs are the auditory shield you can wrap yourself in and happily feed that predictive machine known as our brain.

So what is Sister Bliss’ choice to turn it on? Leftfield’s “Open Up”, a track she described as chaotic. But I smiled at how quickly the electronica queen moved to share with our listeners that, having been surrounded by scandalous rhythms for most of her life, she would prefer a softer atmosphere with Joni Mitchell.

Whatever motivates you, find it and use it. and again.

Emma Barnett hosts ‘Woman’s Hour’ on BBC Radio 4 and a new talk show, ‘Emma Barnett Meets’, on Bloomberg


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