I found my musical heartbeat in the 80’s. While Michael Jackson was influencing a generation’s fashion and Whitney Houston was teaching them how to love, I discovered new wave and punk. My most profound teen moments involved The Ramones, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen, Modern English, Howard Jones, Violent Femmes, etc. One of my first big crushes used the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” as a springboard for our inaugural makeout session. *Ahhh* that song still gives me the tinglies!
Even though my tastes have continued to develop and diversify, I still love 80’s alternative music (and makeout sessions). I’m especially fond of punk covers by bands like Goldfinger and Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, but I also like contemporary alternative. Right now I’m really into fun., The Academy Is, Hot Chelle Rae, OneRepublic, The Fray (always), One Direction, Needtobreathe, Maroon 5, Goyte, Gym Class Heroes, and 30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto’s pink mohawk—need I say more?!
Like any writer who connects deeply with music, my characters share the same kind of profound connections. Unfortunately, we don’t always agree on what type of music speaks to us. Often my main characters gripe (in my head, of course—because anything else would be crazy!) about my choice in music and sometimes they flat out refuse to cooperate until I concede to their musical preference. Here are a few of my favorite (and most stubborn) main characters.
Mackenna (Finished Project yet to be announced) - Kenna loves Broadway musicals. Like me, she has a particular affinity to Sondheim, and the truth he illuminates through song. She, however, is not as angsty as her creator. As a result, she enjoys mainstream musicals of the Rogers & Hammerstein and Jerry Herman variety much more than I do. I’m more of a RENT, Spring Awakening girl. And Kenna likes Wicked a bit too much, in my humble opinion—she’s kinda obsessed with playing Glinda—but overall we manage to compromise. She’s even helped me see the beauty in the more pedestrian, mainstream musicals.
Sofia (Work in Progress) - Sofie surprised me. She comes to the modern world from an isolated place and connects to...Country Music. Seriously? WTF—Country?! Not Social Distortion’s version of “Ring of Fire” that I have on my “Happy Place” iTunes playlist, but honest-to-goodness Country Music. She likes Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and especially identifies with Taylor Swift’s songs about disillusioned fairytales. She also cares a great deal for The Band Perry’s "If I Die Young". My typical music is too distracting for Sofie and she refuses to cooperate unless I play what she wants. (Did I mention my main characters are often as stubborn as I am?)
But when it comes to my main characters and music, I follow one simple rule: Their story, their music. But when the laptop closes, it's all about me.
Other songs on my “Happy Place” iTunes playlist:
Goldfinger’s cover of “Just Like Heaven (the Cure)
A Dayto Remember’s cover of “Over My Head (the Fray)
Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s cover of “What I Did For Love” (A Chorus Line)
311’s cover of “Lovesong (the Cure)
The Eels cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Elvis Presley)
30 Seconds to Mars cover of “Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)