Editor, Writer and Curator Ashleigh Kane has a keen eye for discovering and sharing dynamic new creative talent from around the world. As arts and culture Editor at Dazed, she has collected a long list of dream interviewees, numerous commissioned projects and also been instrumental in the launch of community programme Dazed+Labs, encouraging young people “to use their voices by taking photographs”. Here Kane takes us on a journey through inspiration, survival and finding calm amongst the chaos.
ADHD – Kendrick
One of my old colleagues used to swear that listening to a white noise track, played on a loop from a YouTube video, helped her calm down, concentrate, and get work done. I guess because Science Said So. I couldn’t get into it, but I did enjoy listening to sounds of the Earth turning recorded from Space. I think that is because I’m really into Space as a subject generally. In less geeky, more cool, pop cultural terms, to me, Kendrick Lamar’s “ADHD” is a version of that. My office is chaos at the best of times, so to tune out everyone’s voices, I listen to this on repeat infinitely throughout the whole day. It’s the sample, it’s Kendrick’s super calm voice, it’s the opening beat of the song. It’s literally hypnotising. Please try it.
Mo Money Mo Problems
I grew up in the 90s on a soundtrack of hip hop and R&B. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Biggie when I was eight or nine, and Tupac around the same age. I took sides… me being West Side, despite having absolutely no clue what that even meant as a white middle-class girl from the Australian suburbs. But I stuck to my loyalty, and I didn’t listen to Biggie until I was in my 20s, with one exception; this track. It’s the first music video that I ever remember watching. In my opinion, it’s also one of the best music videos ever made. That fish-eye-kinda-light-tunnel that Ma$e and Puffy dance in, wearing their matching orange boiler suits, is a major happy place for me in my mind. And so, I listen to this song on my way to work every day.
TRAVIS SCOTT – SWEET, SWEET
These spheres of “Work” and “Life” are all one big tangle for me. They don’t disconnect from one another when I leave the office, and so the songs that defined my career are the ones that just allowed me to continue on with it, more than anything. To put me in a headspace where I feel like I could push on through whatever obstacle there is in front of me. One of those obstacles in my career has been bad relationships and the subsequent break up; it’s all-consuming. When I was in the middle of a break-up situation last year, Travis Scott’s “Sweet Sweet” reminded me not to text my ex. At some point in the day, I would be looking for a distraction, someone to procrastinate with, and it used to be to message this guy and talk about whatever. But when you have a song which is reminding you that, “hanging out with you is a no-no” – which this one did – it makes it a bit easier. So all my functionality and the work that I was able to make during this period of my life was done so to the soundtrack of this song.
Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Def Days) – Monica
This is the song I listen to when I am salty as hell. Naturally, I listen to it at least three times a day. I am a creature of habit. Literally, my “End of Year Spotify Playlist” has been 80 per cent of the same tracks for the past three years. I am also a creature of habit, so, when I’m working, I need to surround my ears with music that takes me to a place which exists outside of my adult life… in that, the memories these songs form are from a safe place of childhood and teenager-hood where I was free from responsibilities, aka free from the 9-5 grind. The other side of this audio coin is that it is just an amazing jam. It’s my song, and it makes me chill, happy, and that’s that.
KELIS AND ANDRE 3000 – “Millionaire”
Wow, who doesn’t love this song? It’s one of those tracks which has followed me through my whole career, in and out of various jobs and industries, because seriously, everyone loves this song. Put this track on and watch people’s faces light up because they all know the lyrics. A little context; Genius says “Millionaire is a song about how money doesn’t buy happiness”. A lot of my friends work in those 50k jobs that feel very out of reach for many of us. They all have worldwide memberships to Soho House even though they rarely leave east London. They often pay £15 for a gym class so they can listen to Skepta while doing kettlebells. They pay dinner bills without even glancing at the receipt. But they don’t always, or actually, like their jobs. And here is where I’m smug because I can’t say there’s ever been a time when I haven’t been grateful for my job – despite how financially thankless it can be. I genuinely love what I do, and so, this song feels like the most relevant one to round this list off.