Music has always been closely tied to my writing, influencing much of my poetry and long-form fiction. Some of my poems are named after the titles of songs, or of lines in them that inspired me (cheesy, I know, but whatever). For my novels, I keep in the same mood and mindset by listening to a curated soundtrack. Hell, I’ll often listen to the same song over and over while developing a personality and background for my characters.
Last year, I made a post about my writing soundtrack, listing several of my favorite artists and YouTube channels. I still go back to these same tracks frequently, as they always inspire me. But the music in that post is specifically for inspiration as I write – it’s not what makes me write. I write for several reasons, including experiencing the works of artists who are so good that they make me want to create. These artists include painters, comic book creators, and other writers, but this list focuses on fairly recent songs from female-identifying musicians who, when I listen to their work, all I can think is “Damn, I need to sit down and start writing.”
girl in red – i wanna be your girlfriend
girl in red is a 19-year old musician from Norway, and holy crap I was awestruck when I first listened to this song. It is honest, raw, and desperate – features that I seek to convey in my own writing.
Kero Kero Bonito – Cinema
I’ve been a fan of Kero Kero Bonito for a couple years now, and have always found Sarah Bonito to be a huge music and style inspiration. The band’s new album has a very different sound from their previous, fun and bubbly pop songs. But there’s still something soft about their current creepier vibe. It puts me in the mood to experiment and write really weird shit.
Anna Burch – Tea-Soaked Letter
I’m a sucker for 90s women rockers – they’re my prototype for being a creative, confident women. When I listen to Anna Burch (especially this song), I get the same vibes. It’s an instant creative motivator. Plus, she’s so damn cool.
ggpeach – Lacy
Like girl in red, I really love ggpeach’s blunt lyrics. She delivers them in a totally different way, though: rather than raw and desperate, her singing gives off a combo of dreamy, smooth, and melancholy. It’s a very specific feel, and this song puts me in a very specific mood. It is also a song I listen to as I write, but I value it most as a piece that inspires me to try setting a mood that well.
Clairo, Pretty Girl
Such a simple song, but I love it to death. I’m currently teaching myself how to play “Pretty Girl” on the ukulele, so I’ve listened to this song constantly for the past two months and am still not sick of it. I find Clairo super inspiring because everything about her seems effortless. I understand that this is quite likely not the case at all, because creating music (especially music that connects to people the way “Pretty Girl” has) takes effort. How can I get to the point that my writing seems effortless? I know I will always be critical of my own work, but artists like Clairo make me think that eventually I’ll just be able to look at something I wrote and say, “Hey, this is my thing that I made. Cool.” One day, I hope to explain that much more eloquently.